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Jan Finster

Contractions in Chinese

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Jan Finster

How do you guys ever learn to understand contractions?

 

I know there are several common contractions, which I guess you get used to. But in some TV shows, some actors contract even 3-5 word segments. Even if I replay those parts at 50% speed again and again, it is nothing but a gargle... 😦

Edited by Jan Finster
grammar

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柯林

Yeah sometimes its unavoidable. Definitely keep listening to see if you can pick out bits, but there are genuinely some things that are just put together. When people learn English as a second language, on top of learning standard things like "I don't know", or "did you know", they also need to learn to learn "I dunno" and "didzhooknow" as another entity meaning the same thing. Chinese people will put "不知道" together as a single thing as well "bùzhīdào" vs "bùrrdào". Its just basically another word or structure you gotta commit to memory as far as I'm concerned.

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889

One way is to find a teacher who talks to you normal like.

 

A big problem is often studying hard in class, then heading to China and finding nobody really talks like your teacher in real life. Except on CCTV news.

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Shelley
11 hours ago, 889 said:

A big problem is often studying hard in class, then heading to China and finding nobody really talks like your teacher in real life. Except on CCTV news

 

Ain't dat da truth!

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Jan Finster
On 3/23/2020 at 2:28 PM, 柯林 said:

Definitely keep listening to see if you can pick out bits, but there are genuinely some things that are just put together.

 

On 3/23/2020 at 2:38 PM, 889 said:

One way is to find a teacher who talks to you normal like

 

OK, but are you guys trying to imitate this? For example if you do shadowing exercises, how do you handle the contractions. Even if I would want to shadow them, I do not even really hear them properly. I guess I could just insert a generic mumble as a space filler. 😅

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Flickserve

Simple ones yes can imitate.

 

More difficult ones, why bother? Just use standard Mandarin.

 

 

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889

If you like the idea of goals, your goals should be to recognise that there are different levels of formality/informality in Chinese, just as in English, and to learn how to adapt your level of speech to the circumstances.

 

Myself, I think it's important to be able to hear and understand contractions, but I don't like to use them in my own speech. Just as I avoid slang because I think it's a minefield to use slang correctly. Think how often non-native speakers of English don't get it quite right when they try to use slang.

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anonymoose
1 hour ago, 889 said:

Just as I avoid slang because I think it's a minefield to use slang correctly. Think how often non-native speakers of English don't get it quite right when they try to use slang.

 

Yes, but that's because few people bother to learn slang properly as opposed to just picking it up. And few people teach it either.

 

But if you wanted to use slang (although I tend to agree that there's not much point), there's no reason why you couldn't learn it specifically.

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889

My point is that using slang appropriately is really difficult. it's much more than just language per se. Have you never heard a native Chinese speaker with otherwise good English use English slang that doesn't fit her age or her sex or the circumstances? Or with intonation that's somehow off? Or that's not current, but decades passée?

 

Indeed, that last point is a major one: by the time, if ever, that you master use of a slang expression, it'll probably have become old hat.

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