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pikachu

Time evaluation to learn chinese

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pikachu

Hello,

I will have finished my business bachelor at the end of the scholar year and I am planning to go in China to learn chinese.

I heard that speaking an average-skilled chinese takes 1 year;speaking it well,writting and reading take 2 years.

Of course if you learn it seriously and relentlessly in a university, for example BLCU.

Is it true ?

How long do you think it take if you want to live or work in china ?

Thank you.

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Tsunku

I knew a guy who became fluent in 8 months. He talked to anyone and everyone he met, and I think probably had a knack for languages that was undiscovered until he tried Chinese. His reading and writing were also high level, but seriously, this guy devoted a lot of time to learning it.

Are you a native English speaker? Or another Western language? Unless you speak a language that draws on Chinese characters like Japanese, reading and writing are two skills that take a really long time to develop. You can learn to speak and listen fairly quickly, the grammar is not overly complex, and the tones are a pain, but manageable with practice.

To give you an idea (a really rough one, because everyone has a different experience really), I've been studying Chinese for roughly two and a half years, however not continuously. I spent some of that time living and studying in China (5ish months). I'm going back in December to work, and am currently enrolled in an advanced reading class at my university in the US.

The result of all of that is that I can understand about 70% of what is said in a normal conversation, mostly as a result of living in China with a native speaker. However, I still can't write a letter for crap. My writing skills, especially since I started writing Chinese on the computer, are crap. I can read alright, short articles and stories are ok, I usually have to look up some words, but it's ok. I can e-mail my friends but the e-mails are usually short and to the point. I've managed to have decent discussions about politics and the like, but I can't really debate. The language has a lot of nuances that still elude me, so while I can usually get my point across, I don't always say it in the most natural way.

I think I could be farther along if I wanted to with writing and reading. I didn't pay much attention to either while I was living in China, as my classes focused on listening and speaking. When I first started learning Chinese I was a fiend about the characters, but I gradually got lazier about them. I guess if you threw yourself into studying Chinese relentlessly you could get pretty far in two years, it all really depends how hard you're willing to work.

Sorry to write such a book here, I only just realized how long this post had gotten. Good luck. :)

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pikachu

Of course thank you very much, the longer is the mail the longer I thank you !

I really want to learn. I am not a native english speaker, I am French.

One of my friends told me he was learning writting, reading and speaking at the same time,at university of Taipei.

It seems working well, he knows already 130 characters.

The university told him two years to be manage Chinese, but I think you are right when you say it depends how you go deep in you studies and how you implement it in your life.

I think if I go in China I will go in a small town the first year, not to speak English. :)

Thank you very much.

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pikachu

Just one thing, what were your motivations to learn chinese ?

Why did you want ?

Thanks

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Tsunku

I started off taking it for fun. I'd taken Japanese in high school, and I wanted to try Chinese as well. I ended up giving up Japanese because the grammar drove me crazy. I've always liked foreign languages and they were always my best subjects in school. When I was younger I'd try to teach myself languages as a hobby.

When I went to college, I was a film major, but I added Asian studies as a double major after I realized how many Asian studies courses I'd already taken. For the major, we were required to have 4th semester proficiency in an Asian language. I chose to achieve that by going to China and studying. Once I went to China, I knew I wanted to return there to work and live. That, along with my relationship with a Chinese guy, prompted me to keep going with the language. After I graduate this semester I doubt I'll take any more formal instruction in Chinese, but I do plan to continue learning it.

Good luck, Taiwan and Beijing seem to be popular choices. I've also heard good things about a program in Nanjing. If you're looking to go to a somewhat smaller place, Kunming was a really nice place to study. It's still a large city, but it's not a huge metropolis. There are other foreigners there, but mostly students, teachers, or backpackers passing through. The weather is also gorgeous. :)

Hope that answered your questions somewhat, let me know if there's anything else.

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