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DavyJonesLocker

Anybody actively studying another language as well as Chinese?

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DavyJonesLocker

Key word being "actively"

I don't do it myself but curious if anyone is. I don't mean simply keep your previously learnt to language ticking over, but rather spending time reading text books ,grammar patterns , listening, reading, attending classes etc. 

 

Do you find any synergy doing this or does it negatively affect both language learning ability?

 

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PerpetualChange

I've tried, but I can't bring myself to stick with anything since starting the endless well that is Chinese. 

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DavyJonesLocker
5 minutes ago, PerpetualChange said:

I've tried, but I can't bring myself to stick with anything since starting the endless well that is Chinese. 

 

It seems like an impossible task to me but I know some folks learn Chinese and Japanese in university. Often wonder how they get on.

My good friend here in beijing lived in Japan for decades. He has been in China now for 12 years I think. He tells me that he tried to keep both up at the start but eventually dropped Japanese. He says it's almost non existent now. Seems a real shame. 

 

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NinjaTurtle

Davy,

 

I also study Japanese

 

12 hours ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

Do you find any synergy doing this or does it negatively affect both language learning ability?

 

I think the term you are looking for is "language interference". My Japanese is much better than my Chinese. When I first started studying Chinese, yes, my Japanese ability interfered with my Chinese. But my foundation in Japanese was strong enough so I could put Japanese completely aside and study Chinese. I think the only way to study a second language is to already have a solid foundation in the first language. Otherwise language interference will occur.

 

I studied French in high school, then took Japanese in college. When my college Japanese teacher would ask me a question in Japanese, I would answer in French! I had to completely block out French in order to study Japanese.

 

 

 

 

 

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Larry Language Lover

I'm studying Italian, German, and French every day besides Chinese.   I guess French and German are more maintaining because I already have a high level now and my study consists of a lot of listening and following courses based on "laddering" (not using your mother tongue, for example Italian for French speakers, German for French speakers and vice-versa)

and several long skype conversations on the weekend.  Italian is more active studying, but also involving a lot of listening.  I spend more time on it because my level is lower.

I use or work on 6 languages every day actually.   English because I'm an English teacher in Spain and speaking to my daughter,  Spanish because I live in Spain and my wife is from Spain so our home language is Spanish, and the others by listening and study.   I do get some strange "cross overs" in my brain, especially after long conversations of 1-2 hours or more.

A few French conversation partners have told me that I am speaking French with a German rhythym sometimes.   My English spelling ability has greatly deteriorated and sometimes I can't remember precise words or terms in English, my own language!   I wouldn't say I mix them up when speaking, but what happens is that as I'm speaking French for example, the same words in German flash through my head and vice-versa.    I also speak Catalan because I lived there for 8 years but I never ever use it and that was 17 years ago, and yet at odd moments when speaking a Romance language,  Catalan words pop into my head and I'm like "where did THAT come from!".   The strangest cross over is when Chinese words or character images cross my mind when speaking another language, like looking for the word "delicious" in German in conversation  (lecker) and having 好吃 come into my head.

 

I really feel for anyone who has also studied Japanese and has lost it to some extent.   So much work went into that language,  and I think speaking that language would be an amazing accomplishment.  A new teacher my academy hired this year has had just that experience.  She put a lot into it and ended up abandoning it because of family, work, and time constraints.

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889

I'd say Chinese completely spoils you. The grammar is absurdly simple. Like writing a telegram.

 

After studying Chinese, how can you go back to a structured language and worry about conjugations, tense, gender, plurals, possessives, adverbs/adjectives etc etc.

 

Just looking at a table like this will give you a headache:

 

http://www.hungarianreference.com/Verbs/Conjugation/

 

If studying Chinese does anything, it should make you wonder why most other languages have to be so complicated.

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Zbigniew
1 hour ago, 889 said:

After studying Chinese, how can you go back to a structured language and worry about conjugations, tense, gender, plurals, possessives, adverbs/adjectives etc etc.

If I could choose, I'd trade Chinese's inhumanly laborious writing system for heavy inflection any day.

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889

"Chinese's inhumanly laborious writing system."

 

I'm surprised you'd make that remark. That's how those who haven't studied the language usually view Chinese. If Chinese writing were indeed so inhuman or inhumane, you wouldn't find near-total literacy in Taiwan and Singapore, not to mention Japan.

 

Anyway, for non-native learners the advent of the computer has meant that writing characters -- remembering all those strokes -- isn't much important any more in real life, though the classroom may be different.

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suMMit

@889 made up for, and then some by tones, tone sandhi, characters

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DavyJonesLocker
3 hours ago, Zbigniew said:

If I could choose, I'd trade Chinese's inhumanly laborious writing system for heavy inflection any day.

 

Without a doubt the biggest hurdle for me, I simply can't remember the characters despite the huge attempts and various methods. I have a bad memory though, can't remember my phone number, passport number etc 

 

 

5 hours ago, 889 said:

I'd say Chinese completely spoils you. The grammar is absurdly simple. Like writing a telegram.

 

 

I wonder was the lack of rules /flexibility that hinders me in learning chinese. I really struggled with what i would call sloppy grammer at the start as i could see no pattern. My colleague had the same issue, yet many of the younger ladies in the class absorbed like a sponge Perhaps its was coming from a life time of highly technical work and educational background. I was clearly the worst in the class yet put the most amount of work in.

 

Oddly when I took the "don't care anymore" or  "I'll cover that in the future" attitude to study I found some moderate improvements 

 

 

@Larry Language Lover awesome achievement! I don't like people like you! haha

 

 

One of the reasons for my post is that I wonder what the future holds for me in China. I am not convinced I can or would stay here for many years to come. Japan appeals me greatly but it would a great shame to lose the chinese given the thousands of hours i have put in and not to mention the financial cost (i.e. lack of a income )

 

 

 

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Tomsima

Before I started Chinese I could speak and read tibetan to about a b2 level. I had probably put in close to a thousand study hours in, when I decided to begin learning 'a little chinese' in preparation for a trip to Tibet... 

 

I now speak zero tibetan, and cannot imagine having to maintain both languages at the same time. Tibetan sometimes works quite similar to Chinese, but I could never be bothered to go back to speaking in an ergative style once I realised how easy putting together a Chinese sentence was. 

 

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mungouk
17 hours ago, NinjaTurtle said:

I also study Japanese

 

I'm curious about this... I've studied beginner's level Japanese a couple of times, getting up to about 150 kanji.  (Hiragana, katakana and furigana make bootstrapping this process a lot easier than pinyin straight into Hanzi.)

 

@NinjaTurtle doesn't reading Hanzi and Kanji cause masses of confusion?  Given that Kanji have 2 or even more readings, and if it's not a since-simplified character it could also be Hanzi, how do you negotiate your way around that?

 

I'd really love to pick Japanese back up again, but I'm somewhat afraid my brain would explode, or at the very least I would start to unravel my last 2.5 years of learning Chinese.

 

 

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DavyJonesLocker
55 minutes ago, mungouk said:

I'd really love to pick Japanese back up again, but I'm somewhat afraid my brain would explode, or at the very least I would start to unravel my last 2.5 years of learning Chinese.

 

 

 

I am also curious at what Chinese level this 'language interfence' (as NinjaTurtle mentions) dissipates when deciding to pick up Japanese. HSK5/6? :shrug:

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mungouk
13 minutes ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

at what Chinese level this 'language interfence' dissipates

 

For me, L2-L3 interference seems to happen most often when I can't quite recall a word (or didn't learn it yet)... usually a preposition or conjunction or something, rather than nouns and verbs.

 

I still occasionally get German and Hindi words popping up unbidden.  

 

I've also had Chinese leaking into my French, so I'm not sure if it ever stops based on level, but wonder if instead you learn how to manage it?

 

 

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haveheart

I'm in the same boat as @NinjaTurtle. My Japanese is much better than my Chinese so its Chinese that I have to work to keep up with. The way I balance them isn't perfect but I pretty much just try to get some hours of Japanese podcasts/ tv in through the day while I drive or work. Chinese takes more energy for me since I'm worse at it so I usually start the day with Japanese then watch some Chinese TV in the evening. I still add cards to both languages anki decks but some weeks I only review while adding 10 cards a day for one language. But the main goal for both is a decent amount of input a day.

The biggest thing for me to stop with "language interference" is not switching between the languages throughout the day too much. Once my heads in a Japanese headspace then hearing Chinese starts to throw me off (and vice versa). Also similar to NinjaTurtle and mungouk, I went to french immersion so I can understand a bunch of french, but when I go to speak Japanese comes out lol.

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NinjaTurtle
3 hours ago, haveheart said:

I went to french immersion so I can understand a bunch of french, but when I go to speak Japanese comes out lol.

 

I had the same thing happen in college, but it was just the opposite, me answering Japanese questions in French.

 

I realized I had a problem. I had to completely block out French in my brain in order to study Japanese. Otherwise my study of Japanese would not have been successful.

 

I am now studying Chinese and I do not have any language interference between Chinese and Japanese. But I think this is only because I already have a solid foundation in Japanese.

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DavyJonesLocker

How do you guys compare the 3 ( French, Chinese, Japanese) in terms of difficulty ?  I suppose in some ways it's hard to assess as you already have language learning experience so next one would be a bit easier I'd imagine.

 

I put motivation down as the primary factor though. 

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NinjaTurtle
5 minutes ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

How do you guys compare the 3 ( French, Chinese, Japanese) in terms of difficulty ?

 

For English speakers, learning French is a LOT easier than learning Chinese or Japanese.

 

There is some debate as to which is harder, Chinese or Japanese. I have heard that, for people who are fluent in Japanese and Chinese, and are native English speakers, it is common for them to say that Japanese is more difficult to learn than Chinese.

 

But for me, Japanese is easier. I think a lot of it just depends on the person.

 

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DavyJonesLocker
15 minutes ago, NinjaTurtle said:

 

For English speakers, learning French is a LOT easier than learning Chinese or Japanese.

 

I did French and German in school / university but I had zero interest in languages back then but I wonder if I put anything like the effort in as I do Chinese what improvement could I have made

 

As for Chinese / Japanese comment I seems from anyone I spoke too your observations are they same. I.e.  depends on the  person. 

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NinjaTurtle
15 minutes ago, DavyJonesLocker said:

I did French and German in school / university but I had zero interest in languages back then but I wonder if I put anything like the effort in as I do Chinese what improvement could I have made

 

It comes down to two things (1) interest/motivation and (2) hard work. Well, let me add (3) how easy the target language is, how similar it is to English. Down through the years I have met a number of Americans who are enthusiastic and excited about learning Japanese, only to become thoroughly frustrated at the writing system and then give up. Very common. (This is probably true for students learning Chinese too.)

 

For my students in China, most of them just do not have any motivation to learn English. (Some of my students are actually being forced into learning English, and they are learning it against their will. But that is just how things are in China. Very true in Japan too. I wonder how things are in Korea.)

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