Hey folks it’s been awhile. Nicole and I have been pretty busy starting new jobs and moving house.
So unfortunately have not been able to post as frequently as we would like. But what can one do right? As much as we’d love to blog and work on Monkey Mandarin full-time, we’ve still got to make a living!
Anyway I had a moment today so thought I’d get back into the posting rhythm!
Ah, it feels good to be back! 😉
Chinese is a Silent Language…
So what does this mean?
I didn’t get this at first.
But what I’ve learnt is in linguistics there is a difference between phonetic and non-phonetic languages (silent).
In phonetic languages, there is a direct relationship between the spelling and the sound. Think about English. If you look at a word that you’ve never seen before in your life, chances are you still would be able to pronounce it at least.
This is because in English there are only 26 alphabets and from the time we were kids we learnt the sounds that each alphabet makes.
On the other hand, with silent languages like Chinese, if you come across a character or word you’ve never seen before in your life, you will most likely have no idea how to pronounce it.
That’s what a silent language is. Or rather that’s what a silent writing system is if you want to be technical – since languages cannot be non-phonetic because you are saying it out and there’s a sound to it. But writing systems can be silent.
What does this mean for your Chinese learning endeavors?
The silent nature of Chinese significantly increases the difficulty level of learning it especially for native English speakers.
In fact Chinese is widely considered to be the most difficult language for native English speakers to pick up.
So don’t get too disheartened in your journey towards learning Chinese.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Learning Chinese really is that hard.
And like learning anything that’s difficult, it will take time and dedication.
But also like with anything difficult, when you finally achieve it, now that’s a feeling of achievement nobody can take away from you!
It will also increase your self-belief knowing that if you put your mind towards something even as difficult as learning Mandarin Chinese, you can still achieve it.
The analogy I like is you know how when you play a video game, you can choose the difficulty levels?
For example these are the difficulty settings for Call of Duty:
Well learning Chinese is like playing on Veteran mode.
Sure someone may play the game and finish it on Recruit mode. Pfft. Easy peasy.
Regular difficulty? No big deal right?
Hardened difficulty? Now we’re starting to get impressed…
Veteran difficulty? Completing the game on this mode is something special and you can pat yourself on the back once you do.
- Unlike English, Mandarin Chinese is a silent language.
- This is why it is so very hard for native English speakers to learn.
- In fact Mandarin Chinese is widely regarded as the most difficult languages for native English speakers to learn.
- To use a video game difficulty settings analogy (Call of Duty), learning Mandarin Chinese is like playing Call of Duty on Veteran mode 😉
- Don’t be disheartened we’re here to help each other.
What do you think?
Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed in your Chinese learning journey?
Do you sometimes feel frustrated and low on motivation?
If you have, you’re not alone. We’re in this Chinese learning journey together remember?
We would love to hear your thoughts on this so please leave a message in the comments below.
David & Nicole
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