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How to overcome language learning frustration

Chat in foreign languages or discuss language-learning.

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Contrarian Expatriate
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Post by Contrarian Expatriate » December 24th, 2011, 2:41 am

cadams84 wrote: That being said... I have narrowed my choices down to Cantonese and Thai. I have no real desire to visit mainland China, but Hong Kong and Thailand are a different story. Have any of you been to Hong Kong? Do people there speak Mandarin at all?
You would be far better off learning Madarin. Cantonese is dying as the years go on. It still is the language of Hong Kong, but most people speak English in Hong Kong already.

Mandarin would open up the greater portion of China to you. Hong Kong's diaspora abroad still use Cantonese often, but unless you want to work in a US big city Chinatown district, you will want to learn Mandarin.

Mandarin has 2 less tones to learn than Cantonese to boot!

Seeker
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Post by Seeker » December 24th, 2011, 2:44 am

Is it true that Mandarin is a difficult language for an English speaker?

Repatriate
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Post by Repatriate » December 24th, 2011, 6:22 am

Seeker wrote:When I lived in Thailand I really wanted to learn Thai but I never put the effort in. I think it would have been very worthwhile if I was going to stay there permanently but I only stayed less than a year. I may be going to Taiwan in the long term so I might look into learning Chinese. I have no patience for learning languages though. Memorising vocabulary is so boring.

And Ladislav, you know English is superior, why resist!
I felt the same way about Thai language. I wasn't planning on staying as long as I did but just sort of extended every year. I think it's beneficial from a social point of view but only if you plan on acculturating yourself with Thai people and society. I already said this before but I don't feel Thai culture or society has anything to offer me that can't be found elsewhere.

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Post by Jackal » December 24th, 2011, 2:34 pm

ladislav wrote:The British example of dealing with such frustration is simple: nasally bark at people in English and never learn even a word of a foreign language. Create around one an English speaking environment. They do quite well actually, with the natives tiptoeing behind them and them behaving like colonial masters ( even when they are on a tourist visa) . They do not seem to suffer in the least from not knowing another language no matter where they live. British guys get jobs, wives, oodles of friends with not a care in the world.
And most Americans whom I have known are the same- and they get everything they need including lots of respect from the natives. Pretty girls, nice jobs, cars, good houses. Sometimes I think I have been wasting my time learning all these convoluted tongues. They got me neither respect, nor money, nor a girl. Should have stuck with just English. And concentrated on making money instead.
Perhaps, but we each need to develop the abilities we have. For example, I'm pretty comfortable with learning languages, but I suck at business.

Clearly, a guy needs to have SOMETHING going for him. Yeah, being rich and powerful never goes out of style and if a guy is able to go that route, well, more power to him. But what is not good is guys who just DREAM about being rich and powerful and who ignore improving themselves in other ways in the present. Life is short...

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Post by tmr » January 6th, 2012, 11:26 am

ladislav wrote: The British example of dealing with such frustration is simple: nasally bark at people in English and never learn even a word of a foreign language. Create around one an English speaking environment. They do quite well actually, with the natives tiptoeing behind them and them behaving like colonial masters ( even when they are on a tourist visa) . They do not seem to suffer in the least from not knowing another language no matter where they live. British guys get jobs, wives, oodles of friends with not a care in the world.
And most Americans whom I have known are the same- and they get everything they need including lots of respect from the natives. Pretty girls, nice jobs, cars, good houses. Sometimes I think I have been wasting my time learning all these convoluted tongues. They got me neither respect, nor money, nor a girl. Should have stuck with just English. And concentrated on making money instead.
Look guys, learn something good here. Do not learn a new language to impress women. In fact do not ever do anything to impress women. Even if you learn dance do not learn it to impress women. Learn it because doing so will let you get up close and personal with the ladies. There is a subtle difference. Whether the woman is impressed is not your consideration. The moment a woman sees you are trying to impress her she will automatically disdain you. This is her psychology. You are going to have to stop being nice romantics if you want to have a life.

This is especially true here. If you speak her language fluently why would the girl care? If she was a traditional girl who wanted her traditional framework why would she be talking to you????

Learn a new language if you are interested in learning languages, because it is a nice challenge like climbing a mountain, you can get by easily in new places, you can make new friends etc, you can break the ice with the girl who doesn't speak your language. But you are not learning it to impress her and don't expect her to be impressed.

ph_visitor
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Post by ph_visitor » January 20th, 2012, 8:26 am

Some of us, no matter what, cannot learn a new language in a reasonable, within one's lifetime, time frame.

I find Chinese brutally difficult. Friends can say words to me, I can repeat them, they clap like little children over my 'good Chinese' and 5 seconds later I cannot remember what I said or how. I have tried everything and I think it is simply age and health-related learning disabilities that are making me stupid as I get older.

People like Ladislav, who are gifted at languages and learned many before the age of 35, are not good examples for the rest of us over 50.

Rock
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Post by Rock » January 20th, 2012, 1:01 pm

ph_visitor wrote:Some of us, no matter what, cannot learn a new language in a reasonable, within one's lifetime, time frame.

I find Chinese brutally difficult. Friends can say words to me, I can repeat them, they clap like little children over my 'good Chinese' and 5 seconds later I cannot remember what I said or how. I have tried everything and I think it is simply age and health-related learning disabilities that are making me stupid as I get older.

People like Ladislav, who are gifted at languages and learned many before the age of 35, are not good examples for the rest of us over 50.
Rome was not built in a day.

1. Learn the standard version of a language - listening and speaking

2. Once you have 2,000 - 3,000 most common vocab under your belt plus most common grammar patterns and structures, practice more with people who speak to you quickly and in a very colloquial style.

3. Once you have the base in your chosen area, you can adjust to new regions and accents easily. Even a native English speaking American needs time adjust to English as its used in SP, India, or Scotland. Traveling around China is challenging cus the less educated people (common people) in each region and sub-region speak Mandarin with an accent heavily influenced by the respective local dialect. Even the south of Taiwan has the problem to some extent. But, if you have learned the standard form sufficiently, you will pick-up on the regional variation very quickly (in days to weeks).

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Post by xiongmao » January 20th, 2012, 4:34 pm

I suck at learning languages. My solution was to only date Chinese women who speak English. Why make things hard for yourself?

Even if I did learn Mandarin, there are so many accents that the locals would never understand me anyway. My Wuhan Mandarin was useless in Guangzhou.
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Post by Repatriate » January 20th, 2012, 7:04 pm

xiongmao wrote:I suck at learning languages. My solution was to only date Chinese women who speak English. Why make things hard for yourself?

Even if I did learn Mandarin, there are so many accents that the locals would never understand me anyway. My Wuhan Mandarin was useless in Guangzhou.
How many of those Chinese women that spoke English turned out alright for you? I'm genuinely curious about this.

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Post by E_Irizarry » January 20th, 2012, 7:30 pm

Once you learn one Romance language (e.g. Bulgarian, Romanian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian..), you can learn the rest of them easily.
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luoldeng9
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Post by luoldeng9 » April 12th, 2012, 1:48 am

I've been trying to learn some basic Mandarin and Thai since I plan to go to China and Thailand for vacation soon. However, learning them has been very boring and its hard to stay motivated. However, learning Japanese has been alot more fun, since listening to jpop and anime gives extra motivation to study it.

E_Irizarry
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Post by E_Irizarry » April 12th, 2012, 2:06 am

luoldeng9 wrote:I've been trying to learn some basic Mandarin and Thai since I plan to go to China and Thailand for vacation soon. However, learning them has been very boring and its hard to stay motivated. However, learning Japanese has been alot more fun, since listening to jpop and anime gives extra motivation to study it.
Thai was fun speaking it when it was written in Roman alphanumeric notation on cue cards for me to bellow out to the cabbie so that I would save baht on cab fares.
But I believe somebody told me that the Thai alphabet was 67 muthafuckin characters. LMAO! That's bananas.
"I appreciate the opportunities I have in America. Opportunities that allow me to live abroad." **Smiles** - Have2Fly@H.A. (2013)

"The only way to overcome that is to go abroad to get a broad."
- E. Irizarry (2009)

"MGTOW resilience is the key to foreign residence. You better muthafuckin' ask somebody!!"
- E. Irizarry (2012)

"I rather be ostracized by 157.0 million (27.3% of the US of Gay pop), then to appease 1 feminist." - E. Irizarry (2013)

TanBoy by DNA | Despedido, Hugo Chavez...Descansa en paz!

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Post by mehendicant » April 12th, 2012, 2:43 am

^^^Bulgarian is Slavic, and Romanian is an outlier heavily influenced by Slavic and Dacian (an extinct and little attested language possibly in the same branch as Albanian). It is true about all the Italo-Western Romance languages (all except Sardinian and the Romanians). I went to Portugal and within five days could understand a sermon in Portuguese; a few more and I could converse.

Similarly for Slavic languages. If you know Russian, you can already understand half of Polish. Bulgarians and Russians have a bit of trouble learning each other's languages, since Russian simplified the verbs and Bulgarian the nouns, but they still have a lot in common.

As to Thai, the hard part about the writing is not the number of characters, but the fact that some letters represent the same consonant as others except that the tone of the vowel is different. The writing system was adapted from some Indic language, which has more consonants (the 5×5 matrix of consonants is only half the alphabet) but isn't tonal. (I don't know Thai; I've just read this.)

I think we should bring up our children with both our and our wives' languages, and then some. I know two men who grew up in America and married foreigners, and they both have polyglot daughters. My parents came from two different countries, so I learned French and some Spanish.

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Post by E_Irizarry » April 12th, 2012, 4:31 pm

mehendicant wrote:^^^Bulgarian is Slavic, and Romanian is an outlier heavily influenced by Slavic and Dacian (an extinct and little attested language possibly in the same branch as Albanian). It is true about all the Italo-Western Romance languages (all except Sardinian and the Romanians). I went to Portugal and within five days could understand a sermon in Portuguese; a few more and I could converse.

Similarly for Slavic languages. If you know Russian, you can already understand half of Polish. Bulgarians and Russians have a bit of trouble learning each other's languages, since Russian simplified the verbs and Bulgarian the nouns, but they still have a lot in common.

As to Thai, the hard part about the writing is not the number of characters, but the fact that some letters represent the same consonant as others except that the tone of the vowel is different. The writing system was adapted from some Indic language, which has more consonants (the 5×5 matrix of consonants is only half the alphabet) but isn't tonal. (I don't know Thai; I've just read this.)

I think we should bring up our children with both our and our wives' languages, and then some. I know two men who grew up in America and married foreigners, and they both have polyglot daughters. My parents came from two different countries, so I learned French and some Spanish.
Thanks for the correction. And furthermore, you're right about what you said about Thai.
"I appreciate the opportunities I have in America. Opportunities that allow me to live abroad." **Smiles** - Have2Fly@H.A. (2013)

"The only way to overcome that is to go abroad to get a broad."
- E. Irizarry (2009)

"MGTOW resilience is the key to foreign residence. You better muthafuckin' ask somebody!!"
- E. Irizarry (2012)

"I rather be ostracized by 157.0 million (27.3% of the US of Gay pop), then to appease 1 feminist." - E. Irizarry (2013)

TanBoy by DNA | Despedido, Hugo Chavez...Descansa en paz!

OzGuy
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Post by OzGuy » April 12th, 2012, 9:11 pm

Winston wrote:There is an easy solution.

I'm learning Chinese quite well with the Rosetta Stone software. You guys should try it out. Learning languages with it is not only easy, but effortless too. You don't have to try to memorize anything. It all comes natural with the pictures. Try it and you'll see what I mean. It's easier than you can imagine. You learn it the way a child does, by connecting simple words and images and building up on that. It's that easy and natural. There's no raw memorization involved (which I can't do). That's the beauty of it.

I promise you, if you try this program out, there will be no more language learning frustration.

You can get it on Amazon.com. But if you can't afford it, then just download it off PirateBay.org. You will need to install the basic program, and then mount the ISO as a virtual drive using a free program such as "Power ISO" which you can download for free on their website.
+1

I have been learning German by Rosetta Stone and find it to be excellent. Although it can be repetitive at times, you need this to learn.

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