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wordsmith Jun 15th, 2006 06:48 PM

just returned from china
I just spent 2 weeks in China so if you have any questions feel free to contact me and I will try to help you.

pop Jun 16th, 2006 07:57 AM

where in china were you?

althom1122 Jun 16th, 2006 03:42 PM

How about a trip report? We'd love to hear all the details!

LindaSus Jun 19th, 2006 10:36 AM

How much Mandarin shoudl I learn brfore i travel?? I'm going next year and am hoping to learn the language to get more out of my experience.

Neil_Oz Jun 19th, 2006 03:12 PM

LindaSus, my 2c worth on learning Mandarin is that of course the more you know the richer your experience will be, but how much time you put into it may be dictated by the length of your visit and whether you intend to retain your interest in the language.

Learning Mandarin is different to learning another European language. With the latter you can usually make yourself understood if your pronunciation is somewhat less than spot-on. With Mandarin, everything depends on differences in tones that can be subtle to a Western ear. The same syllable will signify several different things, depending on which tone you employ. You also need to get your vowels and consonant sounds right.

Investing a great deal of learning time for the sake of a brief visit is unlikely to be practical, and your progress will depend on how good your ear is.

Having said that, you can and should learn some common phrases, numbers etc. But I wouldn't rely on a phrase book - you'll need an aural learning package, CD or Web-based, to get the sounds right.

Any attempt to use the language will be appreciated by the Chinese, and if nothing else it will supply them with some harmless entertainment. Good luck!

Shanghainese Jun 19th, 2006 04:50 PM

LindaSus: Agree with N. Oz. Are you going with a tour group or independently?

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