Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
abcdefg

A really bad sign

Recommended Posts

murrayjames
On 7/7/2019 at 7:38 AM, abcdefg said:

The problem is that they cannot switch into Putonghua 普通话 when the need arises

 

On 7/7/2019 at 7:38 AM, abcdefg said:

it might put the kids at a disadvantage to be starting school soon with that dense dialect as their only means of communication.

 

In many public schools in southwestern China, the teachers themselves do not speak Putonghua.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

abcdefg

One summer, I hired a young lady to help me with my Chinese. She was a middle-school 语言 teacher. Her job, during the school year, was to teach the kids how to speak Putonghua and to encourage them to use it. She said it was a tough job emotionally, always felt like it was an uphill battle since the children had little interest in learning that particular skill. 

 

She did point out that the school where she taught was one where academic standards were not high and many of the pupils were not college bound. She had tried to find a job at a "better" school: one where her teaching would be more in demand. 

 

In any case, she did a great job for me, and I was very eager to master what she had to say. We spent the whole summer out and about with practical language projects. Almost none of our time was spent in the classroom. I loved it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AaronUK

I think there is a skill you practice a lot in language learning which is mapping sounds you hear to possible words you know. We practice this everyday when we practice listening.

 

All the lady in question had to do is consider the menu and figure out what words you said were related to the menu, but maybe didn’t have practice of this skill.

 

A security guard talked to me in ningbohua the other day, he said he forgot putonghua as he speaks ningbohua everyday. I could at least pick out that he said something about meiguo which is probably asking me if I’m American and laoshi so I know he asks me what I’m doing. But pretty unintelligible.

 

I have conversations with taxi drivers whos

mandarin sounds nothing like mandarin I have heard but I know what they ask me anyway from context and can answer and somehow still get understood.

 

Another similar experience is when I was getting a haircut with a chinese friend, we were having our hair washed and one guy was talking to me in chinese and the other guy working said to him he should be careful asking me questions in case he can’t understand my reply. 

 

Actually I do a lot of listening practice by livestream platforms, when people hear my chinese they often say it is very cute, probably related to my speed of speech. But when I talk with a friend from HK, he really criticises  my accent, actually I have had people trying to correct me to say things wrong such as 大 as ‘dai’ and others based on their Cantonese influence, often the one person tells me my third tones are still bad-but perhaps legitimate feedback, these experiences do remind me to be more conscious about my speaking.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
murrayjames
2 hours ago, AaronUK said:

I have had people trying to correct me to say things wrong such as 大 as ‘dai’

 

(For those who don’t know)

大 is pronounced as ‘dai in some cases, most commonly in the word 大夫.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Publius

'Dai' is the Middle Chinese pronunciation, retained in Japanese and Cantonese, as well as in two Mandarin words: 大夫 meaning medical doctor and 大王 meaning bandit chief.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AaronUK

haha yes it was not for those words I thought someone might mention大夫

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
StChris
8 hours ago, abcdefg said:

In any case, she did a great job for me, and I was very eager to master what she had to say. We spent the whole summer out and about with practical language projects. Almost none of our time was spent in the classroom. I loved it

 

That sounds like a very innovative way to learn. What kind of projects did you do (a trip to the fresh food market, to a restaurant, to the park?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
abcdefg
On 7/8/2019 at 5:58 PM, StChris said:

What kind of projects did you do (a trip to the fresh food market, to a restaurant, to the park?)

 

Pretty much. I'm out of town and on mobile now, will respond more fully in a couple days. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DavyJonesLocker
On 7/8/2019 at 9:22 AM, abcdefg said:

 

In any case, she did a great job for me, and I was very eager to master what she had to say. We spent the whole summer out and about with practical language projects. Almost none of our time was spent in the classroom. I loved it. 

 

 bang for buck that way of learning reaps massive rewards . It can be highly frustrating when you have been studying for years on end and still struggle with everyday bits and bobs. As mentioned in another thread I struggled to get the dude in the supermarket to "clean my fish"  I was supposed to say "收拾一下” He would hear this 100 times a day so when a foreigner comes along and says something different it kind of throws him off a bit and leaves you  somewhat dejected about your level of Chinese. 

 

Getting the local way to phrasing is a good confident booster and makes one look "Fluent" when in reality being able to read a novel is far arduous task 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
carlo

I was just thinking the other day that I often find myself in situations where multiple languages are spoken and I'm tired (eg long meetings). If I've been thinking aloud in one language for some time, and then someone says something to me in another language I wasn't expecting, occasionally my brain just refuses to process the sounds. Even if I'm perfectly fluent/ native in that language. It's as if I need to internally "code switch" before I'm able to effectively hear what is being said as speech. Plus I would occasionally address people in the wrong language without noticing it. Hey, maybe I'm just getting old....😅

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
murrayjames
14 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

I struggled to get the dude in the supermarket to "clean my fish"  I was supposed to say "收拾一下” 

 

14 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

Getting the local way to phrasing is a good confident booster and makes one look "Fluent" when in reality being able to read a novel is far arduous task 

 

Part of the enjoyment of reading novels in Chinese comes from encountering contextual phrases like the one you mentioned.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
abcdefg
20 hours ago, carlo said:

Even if I'm perfectly fluent/ native in that language. It's as if I need to internally "code switch" before I'm able to effectively hear what is being said as speech. Plus I would occasionally address people in the wrong language without noticing it. Hey, maybe I'm just getting old...

 

I'm in Thailand on holiday. One odd thing that has happened several times, especially when I've been in a hurry, is that a Thai person will ask me something in English and I immediately answer in Chinese without giving it any thought. When they give me an odd look, I switch to English. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
道艺黄帝

I also get reminders that I need to avoid complacency and be persistent with carefully pronouncing tones, but in the case of the woman, I wouldn't chalk that up to your language skills. I remember being in Starbucks one time, and I was looking to see what I wanted to order. Some tall Chinese dude came up behind me, and in perfect English (with an American accent) said 'are you in line? '

 

I stared at him for a good 4 seconds, mind completely blank. I had to process that this guy was a 华人. I did the exact thing Chinese will occasionally do to me. From that day on, I've been much more patient when having to repeat myself. 

 

Also, to the point about the children starting school without 普通话, they may be a bit behind the first year or so, but will only benefit them in the future. This cannot be an uncommon situation faced in China, as number of my Shanghainese friends said they only spoke上海话 until starting school. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dawei3
On 7/9/2019 at 11:27 PM, carlo said:

if I need to internally "code switch" before I'm able to effectively hear

In terms of helping Chinese "code switch" into listening my Chinese, I always need to remind myself to use 请问  when appropriate when talking with strangers.  Whereas in English, I'd rarely say "may I ask a question,"  when I'm asking a question in Chinese, 请问 instantly helps Chinese code switch into hearing/understanding my Chinese.  I add a long pause after saying 请问。

 

My sense is that it grabs people's attention and helps them to expect that I'll ask a question in Chinese.  

 

Obviously, this only fits when you're asking a question.  I wonder if there are other ways to help Chinese "code switch" when talking with a foreigner?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DavyJonesLocker
On 7/4/2019 at 12:56 PM, abcdefg said:

 

It's about the worst thing that can happen to a language learner. It means you are light years away from your goal. I had become complacent. It was a wake up call. 

 

Back to your original post . I had a similar experience last night. It was late and no restaurant  open so I popped to the KFC , the lady behind the counter could barely understand what I said . It was that simple too. 六块儿鸡,原味儿, 一个薯条,大的, 一个玉米。

all 3 she didn't understand especially the 玉米,i should have said 粟米 as per the menu.

 

On the way home I figured out I probably said 薯条 with a 2+4 tones when it should have been 3+2 but I was thinking "god it's KFC, what else could I be ordering, they only have about 5 things for sale. 

However I can't blame them, it's just passing the buck, the fault is with my Chinese . 

Still, pretty depressing after near 5 years of living in China and can't order a simple KFC smoothly. I have become far too lazy with time tones. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
889

"I wonder if there are other ways to help Chinese 'code switch' when talking with a foreigner?"

 

I agree that Warning: Stuttering Chinese Ahead is useful. I usually go with 麻烦你!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...