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Learning Chinese: a path to prosperity

Discussion in 'The NF Café' started by Mouten, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. DonutKid Well-Known Member

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    Simplified characters ftw.
     
  2. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    That doesn't help, since the problem is the number of characters, not the complexity of each character.

    A lot of foreigners would wish that Chinese did like Vietnamese and switched to the Latin alphabet. Basically that you'd write entirely in Pinyin.

    Danshi na yang de hua, shouxian hao duo tongyin zi dou fen bu qingchu. Erqie nianqing ren hui shiqu yuedu hanzi de nengli; gen ziji lishi wenhua gekai guanxi.

    Spoiler:

    But in that case, first of all a lot of homophones would become indistinguishable. And young people would lose the ability to read Chinese characters and thereby become separated from their own history and culture
     
  3. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    The loss of cultural memory is what I'm the most afraid of.

    China publishes about 500,000 books per year.

    Even with digital auto-romanization tools I don't think there's any way anybody is going to fund the conversion of all those to the Latin script. Only for the most popular "classics" will it be worth the effort.

    And it's obviously much harder still to romanize text written on non-paper materials, like metal signs or rock carvings.

    So a Chinese youth visiting the Shaolin Temple in 200 years might have no more clue what the rock inscriptions say than a modern Egyptian visiting Abu Simbel has about hieroglyphs.

    I think that'd be a tragedy.
     
  4. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    AFAIK Vietnamese people still receive some rudimentary instruction in Chinese characters at school, but their skill is only at the level of being able to write their own names and maybe the name of the city they're from.

    Unless they're a history major they wouldn't be able to read whole paragraphs like the Buddhist sutras displayed at temples.
     
  5. San Juan Wolf They're even better when you're dead

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    And how do you know I'm not writing from Tuvalu ? :awesome
     
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  6. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    Btw. there's a study going around saying French will become the largest language in the world thanks to population growth in Africa; 700 million speakers by 2050.

    ( )

    But that methodology assumes that everybody who lives in a country where French is an official language actually knows French, which is dubious in places like Niger or the Central African Republic.

    Whereas it reasonably can't be counting all citizens of China as Chinese-speaking if French is supposed to overtake them by 2050. Maybe they're using the stupid Ethnologue scheme of counting only Mandarin as a "language" and thereby excluding everyone who speaks a different dialect.

    Still, something for @Le Male Absolu to wave in the face of the pesky English.
     
  7. Le Male Absolu Well-Known Member

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    We will see but the more you learn languages, the better is it for you.
     
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  8. wibisana still newbie

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    I dont think he will like it. He doesnt seems like african immigrant much
     
  9. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    The stereotype in Europe is that the French are kind of "mad about Waterloo" even 200 years later.

    So if they can get back to being the #1 language (or at least larger than English) they kind of finally get the last laught in the cross-canal rivalry.
     
  10. DonutKid Well-Known Member

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    It definitely does. Simplified texts look much less intimidating.

    Simplified characters has around 10.3 strokes while Traditional characters have an average of 16 strokes. You can argue that Traditional characters are 50% more difficult and it takes 50% more time to learn and memorize. Instead of 10 characters per week, maybe you can learn 15 characters per week. It also helps that Simplified characters have more 'standardized' strokes instead of 'awkward' strokes.





    一只忧郁台湾乌龟寻衅几群肮脏变态啮齿鳄鳖,几群肮脏变态啮齿鳄鳖围殴一只忧郁台湾乌龟。
    vs
    壹隻憂鬱臺灣烏龜尋釁幾羣骯髒變態囓齒鱷龞,幾羣骯髒變態囓齒鱷龞圍毆壹隻憂鬱臺灣烏龜。
     
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  11. Son of Goku Doesn't need a Custom Title

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    Yeah, no. There is no simple way of determining jewishness and that's putting it midly.
     
  12. Son of Goku Doesn't need a Custom Title

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    That and their annoying 4 tones.

    They should do as the Korean's did and replace their ineffecient character system with an alphabet system that can be learned in a day. That would seriously boost the Chinese language globally.
     
  13. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    The tones are not about to go away in our lifetime, though.

    Over time there is a trend towards multisyllabization, where words that were previously distinguished only by tone (if that) are now also distinguished by adding a suffix. E.g. bâo 飽 (full) vs bäozi 包子 (steamed bun). The -zi means nothing except indicate that the preceding word is a noun.

    You can see that more conservative dialects have more tones than the 4 of Mandarin, like Cantonese (6 to 9) or Hokkien (5 to 7). So the trend in the "prestige" dialect is towards ever-fewer tones.

    But we're talking at least another 100 years before tones are gone completely.

    ---

    I've heard from several sources that sub-Saharan Africans, of which there are now many in China, are supposed to have much better Chinese pronunciation than Westerners because a lot of Niger-Congo languages (e.g. Yoruba) are tonal whereas Indo-European languages (e.g. English) are not.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  14. Ye Xiu Admanistrator

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    not having to read to subtitles > prosperity
     
  15. Drake WORK MAKES YOU FREE

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    Pakistan is planning on becoming China's vassal state, so that isn't surprising.
     
  16. Schneider Wise Guy

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    do please educate me. all i know so far is the jewish matrilineal identity which is kind of absolute in nature; a child born to a jewish woman is automatically born a jew. said child can freely decide to embrace his/her jewish identity (or not?)
     
  17. Mider T Busting in and out of guts

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    I think I learned more on page 2 of this thread than I did all day yesterday.

    Also @mr_shadow you misspelled "boundaries"
     
  18. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    An article by Xinhua from last year says there are about 100 million learners of Chinese worldwide.

    Of which 60 million are Overseas Chinese like @makeoutparadise who have "lost" the language and are now trying to "re-learn" it, and 40 million people like @Alwaysmind and myself who have no Chinese heritage at all.



    But that's a suspicious figure because in other places they've claimed that there are only 50 million Overseas Chinese in total, so how can the number of Overseas Chinese learners be larger than that??
     
  19. Son of Goku Doesn't need a Custom Title

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    You're not wrong, but it goes beyond that.

    Instead of me trying to explain it, I defer you to:




    I didn't expect them to, as I have no idea how practical that would be (lots of words ending up sounding the same but with a very different meaning). But introducing an alphabet system, like the Koreans did, would be a very smart thing to do.
     
  20. Alwaysmind 总是心神

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    Just like ancient chronicles. An army of 200,000 men is totally realistic, specially when the defending army is 5000.
     
  21. Kitsune

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    I took a semester of Chinese in college and it was really difficult. Tonal languages require such a different approach that I was kind of lost when it came to proper pronunciation. I'm still glad I took it though, since now I can (poorly) pronounce Chinese words instead of guessing.
     
  22. Alwaysmind 总是心神

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    Not one in particular, but Agincourt for instance one chronicler speaks of the French having an army 160,000 strong against an English army that was roughly 4500 men strong. In fact while the French army was larger, it would have been around 25000.

    I heard many times that Herodotus also inflated numbers of soldiers.
     
  23. Son of Goku Doesn't need a Custom Title

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  24. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    The Sinological know-it-all Endymion Wilkinson says that in a suspiciously large number of Chinese sources, battles are said to involve "400,000 men". Not 300,000 or 500,000, but always exactly 400,000.

    While in the earliest sources that could possibly be explained by it being a standard unit of troops, in post-Han times it seems to have become just a hyperbolic way of saying "very many troops".

    A great analogy I just thought of (not mentioned by Wilkinson) is that in Roman times a "legion" was an actual military unit consisting of 4000-5000 men, but in post-Roman European languages the word "legion" has come to mean just "an uncountably large number".
     
  25. Alwaysmind 总是心神

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    400,000 men by the way is done Napoleonic Wars army size level.

    Hard to believe that China had constantly 400000 men available at any given time in its history.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  26. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    If we press the Roman analogy literally, 400,000 men would be like saying "this battle involved 10 legions!"

    We know that a legion is already a crapload of people, so 10x a crapload of people would be just an unimaginably large confrontation where you'd be literally seeing rivers of blood.
     
  27. Fruits Basket Fan Well-Known Member

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    Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews do not speak Yiddish. That is the language used by Ashkenazi Jews.

    Sephardi speak Ladino, while Mizrahi speak Judeo-Arabic (or Hebrew mix with the local languages in the country they live).

    Neveretheless, I notice that more Ashkenazi Jews in the US are marrying Chinese though......Some of my French friends (Sephardi Jews) often get annoyed how Ashkenazi Jews from US assume they practice Ashkenazi form of Judaism and eat the same foods.
     
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  28. mr_shadow Minister of State Security Moderator

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    And southern Chinese don't all speak Cantonese either. ;) People from Fujian and Taiwan speak Hokkien, and people from the provinces around Shanghai speak Wu.

    But point taken.
     
  29. wibisana still newbie

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    Cao Ren defended only with 5000 men VS way larger army
     
  30. Fruits Basket Fan Well-Known Member

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    "Shrugs"

    I brought up Chinese as in ethnicity/racial group not language (I know that there is Cantonese, Shanghainese, and local dialects as well).

    Of course, I do not like China very much so....
     
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