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  #21  
Old 24.01.2011, 19:12
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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Find the place and the people that enspire you first, then learn their language.
Best advice so far.
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  #22  
Old 24.01.2011, 19:18
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

My 2 rappen:

Mandarin and Cantonese
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  #23  
Old 24.01.2011, 19:21
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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My 2 rappen:
..you didn't read my post did ya?!
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  #24  
Old 24.01.2011, 19:36
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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Forget about Chinese. First of all, too many people are learning it for the very same reasons. 1) population 2) economics
You will not go around China and speak to 1.something billion people..and the few you will talk to will speak excellent English. Economics, is a shaky business..once the west stop buying products China won't be as attractive anymore.
good point. i think learning german was pretty big in 70s UK...
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  #25  
Old 24.01.2011, 20:37
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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Forget about Chinese.
A bit difficult when they hold $ 1 trillion of US Government debt. Somebody out there had better talk nice to them

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..you didn't read my post did ya?!
Yep. You're saying that if we've learned any lessons from Japan and Russia, the first word in your vocabulary should be Chinese for "bubble"
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  #26  
Old 24.01.2011, 20:44
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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A bit difficult when they hold $ 1 trillion of US Government debt. Somebody out there had better talk nice to them



Yep. You're saying that if we've learned any lessons from Japan and Russia, the first word in your vocabulary should be Chinese for "bubble"
Balloney! The Chinese economy cannot sustain its growth without exports and that is why they keep the currency artificially low.
Also, the growth rate is much overstated...and there is still little inovation coming from 1.somthing billion brains. In addition, back in 05 the migrating workforce moved from the PRD to the YRD because factories in Guangdong struggled to break even. All in all, China is a big overhyped utopia, that has lost sense of where its place is in the world.
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  #27  
Old 24.01.2011, 20:51
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

There's some lovely Urdu and Farsi poetry, you know.

Life isn't all about economics, is it?
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  #28  
Old 24.01.2011, 20:54
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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There's some lovely Urdu and Farsi
...you're right, I had that for dinner the other day and I must say, it was pretty delicious.
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  #29  
Old 24.01.2011, 22:09
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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Balloney! The Chinese economy cannot sustain its growth without exports and that is why they keep the currency artificially low.
I think everybody gets that. The question is when the bubble bursts, will it burst with a pop taking the rest of the world with it will it slowly deflate to a soft landing. Either way, why should that stop someone learning its language?
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  #30  
Old 24.01.2011, 22:20
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

Is anybody here really ready to spend hours and hours copying hanzi, train tone prononciation, listening hours of oral comprehension exercises for just about being able to get the news and making tons of vocab flash cards JUST with no other outcome than maybe writing on your CV "chinese B1 level" one day ?

I'm impressed. But you would learn to be fluent in all four Swiss national languages in less time than that - dialects inclusive.
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  #31  
Old 24.01.2011, 22:37
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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Well, wasn't this the language with the "knots on a rope" writing that unfortunately got lost thanks to some rather rude Spanish gentlement? Imagine we would read our newspapers in the shape of long ropes with knots... I do not want to know what an S-train would look like after the commuters left their 20minutes in there.
Not really, the "quipus" were knotted ropes that were used for book-keeping -should that be rope keeping?-
If they would have had Enrons and Parmalats, they would have "cooked the ropes".
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  #32  
Old 25.01.2011, 08:38
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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Is anybody here really ready to spend hours and hours copying hanzi, train tone prononciation, listening hours of oral comprehension exercises for just about being able to get the news and making tons of vocab flash cards JUST with no other outcome than maybe writing on your CV "chinese B1 level" one day ?
My guess is that even then, you would struggle to communicate. I think Chinese is one of those languages where you have to go and live there for a number of years to get your proficiency up to practical conversational level. I know somebody who studied a 4 year degree in Chinese. He said by graduation, not one of his fellow students was very proficient in spoken Chinese, even though they'd all lived in China for a year as part of the course.

However I've worked with many, many gaijin who speak Japanese very well but can't read the language. They learnt it all by ear. It really isn't hard to learn the basic form - as someone else pointed out it's totally phonetic. I learnt it whilst working in Japan and could communicate the spoken Japanese pretty well after a year, though I couldn't read a newspaper.
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  #33  
Old 25.01.2011, 08:42
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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I think everybody gets that. The question is when the bubble bursts, will it burst with a pop taking the rest of the world with it will it slowly deflate to a soft landing. Either way, why should that stop someone learning its language?
..because everybody suggests learning mandarin for the same bogus reason...and all I'm saying is, that you'd make yourself far more competitive if you'd learn Japanese or Korean as not so many Westerners are learning that.
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  #34  
Old 25.01.2011, 08:54
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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..because everybody suggests learning mandarin for the same bogus reason...and all I'm saying is, that you'd make yourself far more competitive if you'd learn Japanese or Korean as not so many Westerners are learning that.
Competitive for what exactly?

Employers do not need an Asian language in your CV to look cool - but probably because they want somebody to talk to a business partner. And it is simply true that the chances that an employer has business with Chinese is much higher today than with the other two.

Otherwise you can just as well go for Indonesian, Thai or something truly exotic.
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  #35  
Old 25.01.2011, 08:59
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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Otherwise you can just as well go for Indonesian, Thai or something truly exotic.
...like Mumbai Call Centre English
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  #36  
Old 25.01.2011, 09:02
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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Competitive for what exactly?

Employers do not need an Asian language in your CV to look cool - but probably because they want somebody to talk to a business partner. And it is simply true that the chances that an employer has business with Chinese is much higher today than with the other two.

Otherwise you can just as well go for Indonesian, Thai or something truly exotic.
Nobody requires Chinese to talk to a business partner. English is and will always be the lingua franca in business. Japanese and Korean are economical giants that rely on inovations..something China will never be able to do....and therefore, a westerner that can either speak Korean or Japanese is by far more sought after than one of the many people who speak Mandarin.
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  #37  
Old 25.01.2011, 10:11
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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Is anybody here really ready to spend hours and hours copying hanzi, train tone prononciation, listening hours of oral comprehension exercises for just about being able to get the news and making tons of vocab flash cards JUST with no other outcome than maybe writing on your CV "chinese B1 level" one day ?
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My guess is that even then, you would struggle to communicate. I think Chinese is one of those languages where you have to go and live there for a number of years to get your proficiency up to practical conversational level. I know somebody who studied a 4 year degree in Chinese. He said by graduation, not one of his fellow students was very proficient in spoken Chinese, even though they'd all lived in China for a year as part of the course.

However I've worked with many, many gaijin who speak Japanese very well but can't read the language. They learnt it all by ear. It really isn't hard to learn the basic form - as someone else pointed out it's totally phonetic. I learnt it whilst working in Japan and could communicate the spoken Japanese pretty well after a year, though I couldn't read a newspaper.
I suppose it depends on why one wants to learn the language, what the ultimate goal is, and - most importantly - one's own learning style.

I would agree with Nev here - from a practical standpoint, a good way to start is to take one of the many 'survival' courses in China. (Or in Japan, or Korea, etc.)

One doesn't have to start with the drudge work. Rather, dive in to the 'fun' stuff, start with the conversation basics. The idea is to amass a decent sized vocabulary - often subject-focused - learn sentence structure from context, concentrate on utility. In short: get talking, get reading - live the language.

I'm certainly no linguist, I have little innate facility with languages. I opted for such a class, at first as a lark as I was just a trailing spouse with time on my hands. But within a few months I was asked to take on a project in Beijing - and was pleasantly surprised to find how well my 'fun' course had prepared me.

With practical experience under one's belt, one can always then go back to a more academic approach for a stronger grounding.

.

Last edited by meloncollie; 25.01.2011 at 10:18. Reason: Can't spell in my mother tongue, let alone any other.
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  #38  
Old 25.01.2011, 10:14
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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English is and will always be the lingua franca in business.
English is the lingua france for less than a generation (and still isn't in some parts of the world). I truely hope it stays this way for my lifetime as I spent quite some effort into learning it. But making assumptions for the rest of time is nothing short of arrogant.

Your point on innovation is complete rubbish: Why do I care how innovative China is? There are tens of thousands of German companies producing their stuff over there - and these companies offer jobs and would be happy to have somebody who speaks both languages. The same is true for US or UK companies.
Japan is probably the most closed society when it comes to immigration - they make Canton Schwyz look open and progressive. The chance that you could find a job where Chinese is an advantage is big, the case for Korean or Japanese looks more questionable.

Besides: There are Chinese speakers outside of mainland China as well. Quite a lot of them actually.
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  #39  
Old 25.01.2011, 10:29
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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Your point on innovation is complete rubbish: Why do I care how innovative China is? There are tens of thousands of German companies producing their stuff over there - and these companies offer jobs and would be happy to have somebody who speaks both languages. The same is true for US or UK companies.
They got people in charge who speak English..obviously you as a foreigner will not deal with the workforce.

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Japan is probably the most closed society when it comes to immigration - they make Canton Schwyz look open and progressive. The chance that you could find a job where Chinese is an advantage is big, the case for Korean or Japanese looks more questionable.
Certainly not...because there are fewer foreigners who speak fluent Japanese or Korean for that matter, you'll definitely would have a competitive advantage in those countries.

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Besides: There are Chinese speakers outside of mainland China as well. Quite a lot of them actually.
..great, like that I can order my fried noodles at any Panda Express and receive some extra soy sauce because impress them with my Putonghua.
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  #40  
Old 25.01.2011, 11:17
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Re: Which Asian language to learn ?

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They got people in charge who speak English..obviously you as a foreigner will not deal with the workforce.
I don't disagree with this. But the point I think you're missing is the all important relationship building with Asian business people. Business meetings may be in English but when you socialize with your clients, an ability to communicate at an elementary level in their language, however poorly, over dinner/drinks/karaoke will give you a huge leg up against the competition who can't. Doing business in Asia is all about building relationships over a long period. If you can speak a bit of Chinese, it will say a lot about you, especially in China or Taiwan. Ditto in japan and Korea with their languages. It will say you have gone to some trouble to learn about their country. It will say you have made an effort to understand them and how they work. It will say you have made a personal commitment towards that country. All of that will earn you respect. This makes a huge difference when you're trying to build relationships with business men but even more so with government officials and central bankers. Western businessmen don't tend to study Asian cultures the way Asian businessmen study us.

For me there's no point trying to learn a language for a quick fix. Learning a language is a long term commitment and it's benefits pay off over a long period. As I said, earlier, it's not just about learning the language but about the insights into the people and culture that learning a language inevitably brings.
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