Gerardiebla wrote:My university offers Arabic, Aramaic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew (Classical and Modern), Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Modern Greek, Pali, Sanskrit, Spanish and Syriac, as well as Ancient Greek and Latin.
At the moment I don't envisage myself using it in any context other than personal interest. There are lots of places in the world that I would like to visit and possibly live but unfortunately I can't learn all the languages.
As far as literature goes, I'm quite unfamiliar with the scope and style of it in any language other than English but I agree if I could find out more about the literature that may persuade me. Any suggestions as to go about that? I'm studying a Bachelor of Music/Bachelor of Arts so western classical music is very much rooted in Germany, France and Italy. So those languages are an option.
I have a few friends who speak second languages at varying levels, French, Arabic, Korean, Turkish, German. Do you think this should factor into my decision making?
Gerardiebla wrote:Thanks Monika, I think I'm going to go the unfamiliar route. I'm leaning towards either Chinese or Arabic.
Gerardiebla wrote:Of course I'm still greatly intrigued by it.
As for the tones that was part of the language I was actually looking forward to but as you say it adds another layer of difficulty.
EDIT: After all that difficult with Chinese did you find it enjoyable and interesting still, or just frustrating?
Monika wrote:1. There is no hope to ever master reading and writing Chinese. ... Yeah you only need somewhere between 2000 and 4000 characters (learnable in few years) to be able to read 90% of the characters in a newspaper - too bad the essential information is in the other 10%
Monika wrote:2. Even ignoring writing characters: Chinese is superhard to learn.
Monika wrote:3. Chinese does not have an interesting grammar.
I would say Chinese has almost no grammar. Linguists would disagree. What I mean is: There is no conjugation of verbs (they do not change by tense, person or number). There is no declination of nouns, pronouns and adjectives (they do not change by case, gender or number).
Chinese has mostly the same word order as English: Subject-Verb-Object. I think Japanese has Subject-Object-Verb. So Chinese does not help you to open your mind in that respect.
And: "more" grammar helps you understand. In a Japanese (or Arabic or German) sentence with unknown words you can figure out if something is a verb, adjective, noun etc. in many cases and that can help you figure out what a sentence means. In Chinese this is pretty hopeless, the words are simply strung together.
Monika wrote:4. Chinese pronunciation is superhard.
5. For Australians, Japanese seems to be more relevant.
Monika wrote:- The lack of short vowels in writing (except in the Koran, teaching books and poetry) makes it rather hard to read normal texts in the beginning until you know a lot of words. But Japanese is not exactly easier with its characters.
Monika wrote:I found it interesting to learn the radicals, e.g. to identify the radical for metal/iron (not sure which it was) in all kinds of characters that are somewhat related to it. Not sure to which degree this works in Japanese, I think you would still have this, maybe with fewer words for each radical.
Kenrou wrote:On the downside, kanji is a foreign invention that was forcefully attached to Japanese 1500 or so years ago, so there are a few kinks. While most characters have a phonetic component that, as far as I understand, corresponds quite well with pronunciation in Chinese, only bits and pieces of that system remains in Japanese words of Chinese origin. Words of Japanese origin follow no system at all and thus have to be memorized one by one.
gaurwraith wrote:What I wanted to say is that I'm really tired of discouragement.
Is it really needed?
What is so bad about starting to learn Chinese?
Kizyr wrote:Ok, Monika, I disagree with you, but I want to emphasize that I'm really enjoying the points you lay out and hope you don't take any umbrage at me responding to or countering them. I'm liking the way this thread is going since I really like discussing this subject, and I think the conversation is probably more informative anyway.
Gerardiebla wrote:I'm actually living in Australia so the proximate languages are probably slightly different to the US.
Gerardiebla wrote:As I side note I was wondering if anyone knew about fees at German universities (looking at you Monika ), I've heard they're very reasonable, even free.
Pfhorrest wrote:As someone who is not easily offended, I don't really mind anything in this conversation.
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