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Has Chinese Affected Your English?


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Hasn't really affected, except for one strange exception: every time I want to say 'book' in English, I almost every time say 'shu' 书。"Have you read this shu?" "I need to go to the shu store today." "That's a shu I really want to read!". I used to think its a cute mistake, but now its becoming very annoying. I use English fairly often in my every day life (not my native language) and I often need to apologize this mistake. Its confusing for the listener because they naturally think I'm talking about 'shoes'! 

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One thing I've noticed is that I tend to adopt random words from new languages I've been learning. I've already picked up using 哎呀 as my go to word when I'm mildly inconvenienced and I've started answering my phone with 喂. I also picked up using "eeh" as my default reaction to signify surprise when learning Japanese regardless of what language I'm using at the time.


When talking casually I also tend to be more "flexible" in my word order when using either English or my native Finnish, though I think that's more because of my Japanese experience than Chinese.

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On 10/28/2020 at 8:40 PM, 889 said:

And "actually" is a great word plugged into just about any sentence, actually

Some of the Chinese I know use "actually"  often in English.  What word would they say in Chinese?  Is it 其实?  I'm asking because I don't notice 其实 that often in Chinese (but maybe I just don't notice???)


It doesn't seem like Chinese has influenced my English, other than having to suppress saying "你好“ or other Chinese expressions with non-Chinese.  I'm sure I'll be in meeting with Americans and accidentally blurt out some in Chinese.  I WISH I could say 很麻烦 because it's such a useful phrase and I like it better than the English equivalents.


I speak a little German and when I tried to speak German, I found myself mentally putting Chinese words in all of the "holes"  (i.e., when I didn't know a German word).  As a result, when talking with Germans I just speak English because I know the Chinese words would be non-sensical.  


Years ago, Wired had an article on the influence of Mandarin on English, particularly in Singapore:  https://www.wired.com/2008/06/st-essay-23/

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yes, but it was more living in China than studying mandarin specifically.  I got lazy with my sentences and used improper grammar, knowing my Chinese colleagues and friends would understand, and in some cases picking up their bad English habits.  My English vocabulary also shrunk each year I was in China.

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  • 4 months later...

When I'm around other people: In terms of accent, yes, sometimes, but I don't really care. In terms of grammar, though, among other things, no, not really. I try my best to separate the languages that I know (when we're not talking about translation)....


When I'm by myself, however, either thinking, thinking out loud, or just saying random silly things to my dog, I speak in a tangled mess of Chinese Spanish and English.

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On 10/30/2020 at 2:44 AM, xinoxanu said:

Using 嗯 has become a natural part of my speech pattern


Same here (when speaking English), although I picked this up in Singapore, along with "can!", "also can!", "both can!".


Also I've noticed that I'm using "already" as a past aspect marker these days.

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  • 2 months later...
Giuseppe Romanazzi

Q: Has Chinese affected your English?

A: 哦?English? 喔, you mean the language I speak with my family? 咦!No, why Chinese should 影响我的English啊?

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It has affected my Japanese. Now I see Japanese and instinctively read the characters the Chinese way. It's really annoying and sometimes a little difficult to switch. On the other hand, It's also convenient as they do also reinforce each other to some extent.


@JF, interesting to find another Japanese speaking Finn studying Chinese here! Cheers! 🙃

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  • 3 months later...

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