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Wang2014

At my school we had to take a langauge to graduate (American High School). We could just choose between spanish, french, and chinese. I lived in Southern California, so we had tons of spanish speakers. French didn't seem like much use, so Chinese it was. Taking into account that of those three I liked chinese food, culture, history, sound of the language, and the fact that it was by far harder than the others, it was a no brainer.

 

I took Chinese for three years in school, albeit it was mainly focused on the culture, reading, and writing. then I went to England and am currently doing a lot of work with the chinese uni students, in the last 6 weeks by chinese has gotten better than the three years of study I did in High school.

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edelweis

My boss asked us to go to China, I was too inexperienced to refuse, and that was that.

I knew myself just well enough to know I would want to learn the language.

But I had obviously underestimated the impact of jet lag, culture shock, the frustration engendered by the myriads of different characters, and whatever. It all combined into being unable to let go once it was clear I would not be going back to China.

 

(Intellectually I know that people don't all have the same interests, but I was still astounded at being the only one of our team to have had any interest in learning Chinese. How people can be satisfied with showing typed addresses to taxi drivers, and not being able to read signs, take the bus, read menus etc. Unbelievable... )

Fortunately they don't send me to other countries all that often, and the European languages just don't have a writing system interesting enough to keep me hooked for long. (Arabic lasted 2 years, but there's - there was ? - not much to read in Arabic that interested me.)

 

So I'm still studying Chinese 5 years later, I don't know how long it will last...

 

I am in the middle of a time travel short story in traditional characters - an unexpected find in the Taiwanese literature anthology I checked out from the library some time last year and renewed since then because I read verrry slowwwly.

So I don't see myself giving up on Chinese any time soon, not when I have the tantalizing perspective of being able to read Chinese Sci-Fi novels in the "near future"... that is maybe in 1 or 2 years. Learning Chinese is definitely on a different timescale...

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Demonic_Duck
(Intellectually I know that people don't all have the same interests, but I was still astounded at being the only one of our team to have had any interest in learning Chinese. How people can be satisfied with showing typed addresses to taxi drivers, and not being able to read signs, take the bus, read menus etc. Unbelievable... )

This always messes with my head too. There are plenty of people who I like and respect who live in China and yet have zero, or very little, interest in learning Chinese. And as you say, it's not just a matter of taste, it's also a very practical matter. I mean, on an aesthetic level, I equally can't understand people who say thay they don't like any Beatles songs, but at least it doesn't significantly impede them in their day-to-day life.

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li3wei1
the only one of our team to have had any interest in learning Chinese.

 

There are many things that I am interested in, but that I haven't done anything about learning, and probably never will. Knowing that something takes a huge commitment and lots of time, and you've already got something big on your plate, . .  I lived in HK for about ten years, without ever getting beyond rudimentary Cantonese, and don't really regret it. I had other things to do,

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GotJack

Demonic Duck that is a brilliant last post! Such a jokes comment re: beatles

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Pokarface

Hmm, originaly I had planned to study Portuguese for a year. After 3.5 months of studying I was doing extremely well. I can always get better but I didn't see any marginal returns. I speak English, Spanish, and Esperanto as well. I decided to study Chinese because I have been teaching English to coworkers that work for the same company but work in the China divisions (Note: I am not a language instructor).

 

At that moment, I didn't know any Mandarin Chinese, but their Engilsh was anywhere between beginner to advances, so I was able to instruct them. Everyone I have meet from China is very respectful and generous. I decided one day to give them a surprise by greeting them and mentioning very simple comments in Chinese. The expression in their faces was priceless. If you have seen Laoshu50500 videos on youtube or talk a foreign languages nobody expects you to know, you know what I'm talking about =-)

 

I want to visit China since I have been learning a little bit about their culture, but it is still a mystery to me. Obviously, some Chinese will be able to speak some English, but many things will still be kept a secret if I can't speak Chinese. I also feel learning Chinese is a very pleasent experience because making mistakes is so easy, and learning from your mistakes speeds up the process. I live in the U.S. but I enjoy talking Mandarin at work, at the restaurants, and at China Town (Although my China Town has a lot of Vietnamese in the mix. This adds great variety!)

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roddy

Thanks, Pokarface, and welcome to the site!

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haoyu

 I also feel learning Chinese is a very pleasant experience because making mistakes is so easy, and learning from your mistakes speeds up the process

Pokarface, I like your perspective on that!  The fear of making mistakes holds me back from learning way more than it should.

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Melanie1989

My God, that's really long. Sorry.

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roddy

Not long at all, and interesting. Imagine how dull life would have been if it'd just been a boring old French child who turned up...

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Lu

I remember wondering if each character was somehow made up similarly as if one was to write an English word but squishing it all up into a little box, like with graph paper?

You were actually right, you know!

 

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realmayo

For me, my situation was basically the same as #1 except one year later, Wuhan not Wuxi, and after a couple of years I decided to go home, a decision I've long since regretted.

 

Lu/Melanie: that's Korean you're talking about :)

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Melanie1989

Lu - haha, that's so cool, it's exactly what i'd thought! 

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MeiMay

Chinese characters are made of simpler characters (radicals and sound characters) squished into a square box, but Korean is actually literally letters squished into a square box: each Korean constitute character corresponds to one sound and one sound only (except one which doubles as a placeholder character): every Korean character has 2-4 (and very rarely only one, in loan words) letters squished into a box, for example: 한 = ㅎ h + ㅏ a + ㄴ n = han. (my computer is showing Korean fonts as boxes right now so I had to type that blind, hopefully I didn't make a mistake.) So Korean is exactly like squishing the english letters han into a square box like

ha

That's why Korean is the easiest Asian script to learn, even easier than the Western alphabet. :)

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HarujioN

I don't have any reason from the past. All my reasons to learn Chinese are in the future from when I will have learned it. :P

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Adam_CLO

I wanted to teach English in Asia, but also wanted to earn a salary that was worth something in North America. That narrowed my choices down to Taiwan, Korea and Japan. I figured that living in one of these countries would also give me a chance to learn the local language. Mandarin seemed like it would be more useful for me to learn over Korean and Japanese. 

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querido

When I was a child the Klingons were Soviets and the Romulans were Chinese; that is, they were real, and my mother taught me to care for them, as a Good Samaritan. It turned out that the Federation wasn't real, and that I should have cared more for my own house, but that would be another topic. I started Russian late in life and two years was enough as by then we thought that the Klingons had been liberated. And so, I turned to the Romulans. I learned that their house was, in this context, divided - as mine had been - and I couldn't help empathizing with the weaker part. And as this communion will not end in my lifetime, the five year mission goes on...

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