Jump to content
Learn Chinese in China

Has Chinese Affected Your English?


Recommended Posts

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.

It's definitely affected my sanity this year.

Seriously, I enrolled on a translation paper here through Massey University with the examination on Tuesday morning next week. I hadn't done any Chinese for years and the paper has really got me back into the swing. Loving the way the verbs just flow into each other and the complete lack of conjunctions and the fact that there are far fewer prepositions. As for the characters - beautiful! Why can't all languages be like this?

There's a real resurgence of our indigenous language, Te Reo, here in New Zealand and I've always fancied giving it a try. Not sure how well it will affect my Mandarin study now as I've enjoyed getting back in to Chinese so much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, markhavemann said:

I actually thought I was the only one who had this problem, so I'm actually quite glad to hear I'm not.

I actually thought i was actually the only one who actually had this problem, so I'm actually quite glad to actually hear I'm actually not.


but yeah, my Chinese is not even all that great, but the amount of time I spend interacting with Chinese vs English (reading, writing, listening and speaking) really shows when I talk to family and have to keep thinking, "what was that word?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find that I use "Chinese-style" punctuation in written messages and informal e-mail with friends now in English. Exclamation points are an example. Almost never used them "pre-China." Now I sprinkle them around liberally. Sometimes comes across as silly or like an over-enthusiastic teenager. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Using 嗯 has become a natural part of my speech pattern - in any language I might be using, so it's definitely subconscious and ingrained at this point. Still, people give me the stink eye because it's rude to interject in such a way over here.


And of course, I have to moderate my use of the proper Chinese terminology for places/food/people because others will assume I am trying to show off. Well, I am not denying that... but when I am not it's definitely a pain 😶

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, suMMit said:

when talking to a foreign friend I pause before saying 北京,上海,广州,深圳,重庆,厦门 etc thinking..."do i want to sound pretentious, or do i want to  confuse myself by saying this chinese word wrongly". Oh and of course TSING DAO!


Yeah I always do this as well. Anxiety about looking uber pretentious. Often i end up going somewhere in the middle, which is the worst choice.  You both look like a dick, and also cringe and the word youve said

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Sentence finals have unintentionally found their way onto the end of my English statements. "Lets go 吧.“
  • Commas are really hard to place in both languages now. I have to consciously decide if it is a Chinese spot or an English spot for a comma.
  • The lack of listing commas (、) is annoying.
  • I find technical vocabulary easier to remember in Chinese, especially linguistic vocabulary. Like, WTF is syntax and teaching pedagogy and whatnot. Get me that 句法 and 教学法.
  • I ask people if they have already eaten far more regularly and now very rarely ask about the weather.
  • What does the word "foreigner" refer to, anyways?
  • While I don't make the 嗯 sound in English, my "yeah"s are way more frequent now.

In short, yeah, learning Chinese has most certainly affected my English.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's also what I call the kindergarten teacher effect.


If you spend a lot of time speaking slow and simple English to Chinese or other non-native speakers, you develop slow and simple speech patterns that carry over into daily life with everyone.


I always wondered how Mister Rogers sounded off-screen.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
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.

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...