Study Chinese IV (Mandarin vs. German)
She currently stays with InternChina in Qingdao. Thea studies sinology back in Vienna and is therefore predestined to write about this topic:
Once you arrive in China the first thing that comes into your way is the language barrier. Chinese language sounds so a lot different from any Western language.
Many people are completely overwhelmed at the beginning just by the exotic sounds and the different tones of Chinese, but appearances are deceitful. Those who have spent time studying this language know that – except for its pronunciation – Chinese is one of the languages with the least grammar rules. My Sinology professor would disapprove here, but I would still say it is true. Trust me, when I tell you – as an Austro-Chinese – that Chinese is so much easier to learn than German. Don’t believe it? There we go!
Compared to German grammar, the Chinese one is non-existing. First of all, we don’t have any article for any noun – bless Buddha, Confucius and all the other Chinese higher powers for that! Ergo, we don’t have to worry about the changes of case endings of neither adjectives nor nouns. Talking about those two word groups, adjectives and nouns can also be used more flexibly than in any Western language.
Especially for English speakers, Chinese grammar is quit straightforward. Most sentences structures are similar to English.
I want to eat something.
Wo xiang chi dongxi.
To help to simplify things even more – Chinese doesn’t have verb conjugations either. Since there are no articles, declinations – just think about German – or hardly any inflections.
There are of course also difficult parts of this exotic language, but there is nothing you can’t learn with just enough practice. I’ll grant you that Chinese characters make the idea of learning Chinese really scary, but next time I’ll show you, that it’s not as wild as it looks like. There are apparently over 80 000 Chinese characters, but we don’t use all of them – and not every character is completely new. You know the verb “to wash” and the noun “room”, so what’s the big deal in remembering the whole new word “washroom”? No big magic behind it, and the same goes for most of the Chinese characters.