May 27

Expats and the Chinese Language

Written by Legalist on Thursday, May 27th, 2010 at 12:27 am
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Chinese is a difficult language, at least for me. When I was growing up in China, many aspects of the language seemed very challenging, one of which was the units of counting for countable quantities. In English and many other languages, it’s a breeze: 3 computers, 1 apple, 4 books. Very easy to master it. In Chinese, it’s a different story: san tai diannao, yi ge pinggou, si ben shu. First, you needed to learn tai, ge, ben. Then you needed to know when to use which. Very challenging indeed. As English shows, they aren’t really necessary. San dianno, yi pinggou, si shu. I don’t think there’s too much confusion dropping them, consideing the savings of time and energy required of learning these words.

I think we should start speaking Chinese without the unit words. Maybe the expats can make a big contribution to the Chinese language by leading by example. And it will save their time and energy of learning them in the first place.

What do you think?

Wo Yao Yi Pinggou (I want an apple).

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