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Do you think Chinese is a ‘super-hard language’?   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2017-11-7 16:52:15 |Display all floors
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What are the hardest languages for native English speakers to learn? According to the US State Department, Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), Japanese, and Korean are “super-hard languages,” which means Chinese is exceptionally difficult for native English speakers to learn.

The US State Department categorizes foreign languages according to the time required for a native English speaker to learn them. For example, Chinese is classified as a Category IV language, or a “super-hard language,” because it takes about 88 weeks (or about 1.7 years) to achieve general proficiency. Chinese is also a “priority language,” which means it is of critical importance to US foreign policy and difficult to find people who can speak it.

What makes these languages so hard to learn? Both Japanese and Chinese have thousands of characters to memorize, Arabic has less vowels than English and almost no words similar to European languages, and the Korean alphabet, known as Hangul or Hangeul, is hailed as one of the most logical writing systems in the world and its sentence structure and grammar are challenging.


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Post time 2017-11-7 23:03:06 |Display all floors
I agree.

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Post time 2017-11-8 07:16:14 |Display all floors
Less than 2 years? Not bad compared to Chinese students learning English. In fact, that's quite fast to attain general proficiency.
If you want FREE English lessons every day, add me on WeChat.
My WeChat ID: BigTEXZZ

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Post time 2017-11-8 09:49:07 |Display all floors
For native Chinese there are only two categories of difficulty in learning a foreign language: Very, very, very hard (such as English), or Impossible (all others).

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Post time 2017-11-8 10:45:15 |Display all floors
It IS extremely hard to learn. At least for me. But I never was good at learning Spanish
which for a native English speaker is supposed to be one of the easiest to learn.
I can say a few phrases to my wife and she understands because she knows what I
am trying to say. I say the some thing to a Chinese stranger (in the US or in China) and
all I get is a blank stare. That is why I don't go anywhere in China without my wife.
Her English is not fluent by any stretch but at least she understands me. I can make
myself clear to her in difficult situations after a few tries.
In English a word is a word. It can be taken out of context, I suppose, to someone
not familiar with the English language. But in Chinese a word can mean several things
depending on the intonation. I can't sing so intonations mean nothing to me.

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Post time 2017-11-8 13:40:25 |Display all floors
I wish Chinese will be more and more international.

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Post time 2017-11-8 20:29:01 |Display all floors
This post was edited by koraeus at 2017-11-8 20:29

I am from Sweden and has tried to learn both Japanese and Chinese.
My experience is that it primary depends on how the textbook are made. The Japanese schoolbooks are much better. I have tried to fide similar in china but they have a totally different approach to learning.
When it comes to speaking it is very much dependent on the pronunciation. I.E.  my ears are not tuned for the Chinese tones but my Swedish is perfect for the Japanese language.
The Japanese have also been smarter as they did create their own "alphabet" while China has experienced with a lot of different based on the Latin syllables. Impossible to read correct.
hen to biggest obstacle is the underlying references and usage of words. My opinion is that most China-English dictionaries are very poor in their static translation. One need the context.
Chines is about learning and Japanese is about understanding.

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