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Vivi MENG

Anything you think you'd like to ask a native speaker

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Vivi MENG

Hi, everyone. 

 

Using the popular Chinese net language , the name of this thread should be 我从小说普通话,大家有什么想问的? :P

 

I'm an international student in the UK. I was born in Northern China and got my bachelor degree in Shanghai. It's a pity that I can not speak any dialect. But the good news is that my pronunciation and way of using Mandarin is thus not influenced by dialects.

 

I'm not an expert in Chinese or Chinese teaching or Chinese language or anything. But I've used this language for more than 20 years. And I'd love to help you with Chinese learning as a language user. My answer may not be as accurate as books, but I will try my best. 

 

ANYTHING about Chinese language or Chinese culture or China you think you'd like to ask or double check, just leave a message here. I'll see what I and my friends can do.

 

Have a good day!

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shuoshuo

Hi Vivi Meng,

 

That's a very kind offer, thank you! I do have a question, haha.  It's about the Chinese culture, or jokes rather.  Many 'intro to China' guides state that foreigners will not understand Chinese humour.  But every time I hangout with my Chinese friends, we all laugh at the same things. Can you please share a joke that you and other native Chinese speakers think is absolutely hilarious, but one that foreigners do not get at all?

 

Thanks! :D

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Hofmann

Can you recommend any books whose language most closely resembles 21st century spoken language?

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Vivi MENG

 

 

Can you please share a joke that you and other native Chinese speakers think is absolutely hilarious, but one that foreigners do not get at all?

Wow, this's a tricky one. Do you expected a joke in Chinese or in English? It will be much easier to find one in Chinese than in English. :P

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roddy

Tell us what you think about the UK and London! Be honest...

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Vivi MENG

 

 

Hotmann: Can you recommend any books whose language most closely resembles 21st century spoken language?

Well, normally books are written in written language. If you are expecting books with a lot of dialogues or spoken languages, novels may be your choice. You can start with some net literature, especially romance novels if you don't mind (For example,《何以笙箫默》by顾漫). They are books with less nutrition but are written in spoken language use by today's Chinese young people indeed. 

 

In spite of books, some forums like Tianya are good place to know one or two about spoken Chinese http://www.tianya.cn/ Tons of Chinese share their daily life on it, happiness and sorrow. But you may need some time to find your way in there. it is such a mess! :shock:  :D 

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shuoshuo

I'd love to hear a joke (in either Mandarin or English) that the Chinese would generally consider funny.  I suppose it doesn't matter which language you share it in because I'm guessing I won't get the humour. I just sincerely want to understand why many people consider Chinese humour to be different or unique, I just want to see if I will be able to see the humour.  I apologize for this odd request, I know it sounds quite silly.

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Vivi MENG

 

 

Tell us what you think about the UK and London! Be honest...

Wow, I can talk about it the whole day.

 

Haha. generally I like the UK, especially Wales (people are much friendly there, and things are not expensive.)

 

Don't enjoy the food...and the weather.

 

When I first came to London, I was pretty disappointed because according to Chinese media, cities of developed country are very clean, there's no trash or litter on the street. So I was surprised London is not so clean as I imagined. But after I went to the european continent, I realize the UK is actually pretty clean and safe! You guys make a wise decision not to merge into Euro Zone and Schengen Zone. (Just kidding, no offense. I went to European continent three times and love the architecture and culture there). Since your streets are still cleaner than those of my hometown, I guess I'm not in a position to complain. :mrgreen:

 

I was surprised how you guys like pub/club/beer. I am allergic to alcohol.  :shock: That means I'm almost out of London's social life.  :(

 

English accent is sexier than I thought. Most people are friendly and domesticated. 

 

Sorry, thanks are everywhere. I like it. In China, If you say 对不起 to a guy only because you blocked his way, you will be regard as 脑子有问题(something wrong with your brain) :P  :D

 

You guys do a good job reserving the historic buildings. And Queen's pigeons don't enjoy flying (that's odd to me).

 

I think I will stop here.

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realmayo

When I hear a German speaking English, often I can hear straight away that he or she is German, there is a German accent there -- but (often) the person's English is great, 100% easy to understand, no communication problems or mistakes, just: a German accent. Or, I can hear a Scottish accent but still understand the speaker 100%.

 

So I wonder: when you hear an English-speaker speaking good Chinese, how would you describe the accent? Is there an accent that makes you think "aha, this is a Westerner!"?

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realmayo

Oh and another question please! I sometimes have friends from China visiting London. Is there anything unexpected that I should/shouldn't take them to see or do?

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Vivi MENG

I'd love to hear a joke (in either Mandarin or English) that the Chinese would generally consider funny.

Ok, I'll try, haha.

今天晚上打电话给老爷子说,今天要带漂亮女朋友回家给两个老人过过目。结果今早女友要出差,跑省外去了。 不得已一个人回家。路上遇到表弟,和他一起回我家吃饭。刚进门,老爷子一个杯子飞过来,大喊:你这畜生!

If you laughed, please tell me. I can try another one. :P

when you hear an English-speaker speaking good Chinese, how would you describe the accent? Is there an accent that makes you think "aha, this is a Westerner!"?

Of course! Even ABC (America Born Chinese) or BBC (British Born Chinese) have accent when speaking in Chinese. I think one is that Westerners can not separate each word clearly. Also there are some pronunciations most of you are not good at, such as 水(shui), zi(子),ci(词),qian(钱). I think it is because your languages don't have pronunciation like these, similar to Chinese are poor at pronouncing /th/.

"Is there anything unexpected that I should/shouldn't take them to see or do?" I think generally no. But it may depend on individuals.

when you hear an English-speaker speaking good Chinese, how would you describe the accent? Is there an accent that makes you think "aha, this is a Westerner!"?

Oh! I forgot on thing. Westerners are very bad at making all tones right when they speaking. Normally, the pronunciation is right, and the tone is wrong. :D I've heard tons of ni(first tone)hao(second tone)ma(second tone). But it should be ni(second tone)hao(third tone)ma(first tone).

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Melanie1989

Vivi, thank you for making this thread!

 

Similar to another question, is there anything in particular that gives away a foreigner through writing? Like emails and things? Is there something in the way that we type that waves a British (etc) flag?

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Kenny同志
今天晚上打电话给老爷子说,今天要带漂亮女朋友回家给两个老人过过目。结果今早女友要出差,跑省外去了。 不得已一个人回家。路上遇到表弟,和他一起回我家吃饭。刚进门,老爷子一个杯子飞过来,大喊:你这畜生!

 

I don't get it. I think that in most cases, it can be safely assumed that "my father" knows "my cousin" and therefore won't take him to be "my girlfriend".

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imron

Normally, the pronunciation is right, and the tone is wrong

So in other words the pronunciation is wrong.

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Hofmann

...Because diacritics are so easy for English speakers to ignore.

Anyway, I didn't get the joke. Surely his father recognizes his cousin.

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ZoxGuo

I don't get the point of this joke either, even though I'm a native Chinese speaker too …

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roddy

What's the strangest thing about Britain?

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Vivi MENG

Oops-forgot to say thanks Vivi for kindly offering to advise us language learners!

You're welcome!Cause I also learn some English here! :D

Similar to another question, is there anything in particular that gives away a foreigner through writing? Like emails and things? Is there something in the way that we type that waves a British (etc) flag?

Waves a British flag, I like this saying. Honestly, I don't have many friends learning Chinese and writing email to me in Chinese. But I can deduce the pattern from my experience writing English. I think British may unconsciously make mistakes in word order when making sentences. A simple example: 我今天晚上吃了炸鱼和薯条。A British may put it this way: 我有了炸鱼和薯条今天晚上(which is totally "I had fish and chips tonight). The more complex the sentence is, the more mistakes a foreigner will make.

I don't get it. I think that in most cases, it can be safely assumed that "my father" knows "my cousin" and therefore won't take him to be "my girlfriend".

The joke part is that "my father" think "my cousin" is "my girlfriend". Maybe that's the cultural difference? I don't know...

I got it from Weibo 冷笑话, the post is"笑死我了“。。。。。。 :shock:

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