How much Chinese did you know before you came to Taiwan?

How much Chinese did you know before you came to Taiwan?

What was it like adjusting to the transition?

I’m interested in hearing people’s stories about it.

hsieh hsieh

chow mein

chop suey

No problem adjusting. No need to know Chinese before moving here.


I learned hsieh shieh on the plane.

It was horrible. It was a nightmare. We tried to play cool and get an apartment with no Chinese. Me idiot. I got trapped in an elevator and all I could say was: Nihao! NIHAO!! They took half an hour to rescue me and it was mostly because they were cracking up.

A steep learning curve but wouldn’t change it. We’ve come a long way, baby!


Now ask me how much I know after 5 years.


Now ask me how much I know after 5 years.[/quote]
How much do you… wait a minute! Set up your own god-damned punchline.

Nuthin at all. I already knew Thai, though, so I was used to tonal languages.

Had five years of language study at university and six months of living in China, and a very, very broad Beijing accent which no one could understand. I couldn’t understand their southern girly chatter either, mind you, but after six months or so it all fell into place. Another thing that threw me was the different uses of certain words and phrases from the mainland. Can’t remember any of what they were now, but it confused me and left me thinking my Chinese was worse than it was.


(My Chinese is a bit crap, though. Too lazy to practice, beyond yapping with my friends.)

Basic survival skills and VERY basic and limited conversational skills, after a year of self study, but good pronunciation. Poor listening skills and no reading or writing. Basically, just enough foundation to get me up and running quickly with further, intensive self study on arrival. It was very helpful, and I do recommend that people try to acquire some basic Mandarin before arriving, if they have the time and inclination to do so.

I put myself in a nearly zero-English environment intentionally, and it was still quite a shock. Through guanxi, on my very first day here I moved in with a young Taiwanese couple who together might have known a dozen words in English (effectively zero), and lived in a neighborhood where effectively no English is spoken. I hung out extremely little with foreigners for my first few years here, and spent most of my free time studying, doing language exchanges and wandering around to practice speaking Chinese with everyone, from bus and taxi drivers to all the local merchants, old men in the park, and so on.

It was a real struggle to communicate, but I thrived on the challenge, and benefited greatly. I don’t think I would recommend this approach to everyone, though – only to masochistic language nuts.

What happened to my post? Moderator? Are you fucking about?

No idea what you’re talking about, sorry. :idunno: I checked your posts and don’t see anything relevant that might have gotten posted in the wrong forum, for instance. You could check with Maoman to see if he killed a post or something.

Maybe a glitch. I’ve noticed a few posts don’t seem to have been appearing on the boards.