In Taiwan, I believe it wouldn’t matter the common language. It’s the mindset, they just don’t see their language as a lingua franca, that foreigners would want to adopt. That’s the key difference between, say France, where no matter what colour your skin is, you roll up to the cafe, people are speaking French, no hesitation. Because in France we speak French! That is the difference I’m referring to.
PTT is full of comments about loser foreigners who live in Taiwan for ten years and can’t speak Chinese
Effort vs reward in a nutshell. You are talking about a culture which has walled itself off, language, and not to forget culture, possibly the most difficult to obtain for an English speaker. Note, I am not advancing an argument not to learn Mandarin unconditionally. I am saying as a business student I would direct my energy to other languages, possibly easier to acquire, possibly more open culturally.
I also think China is screwed economically.
China is still a huge market though. The opportunities are not the same as before and come with a lot more risk now though. I think things will change there in another decade as well.
Mandarin is not close to being hardest language for native English speakers.
The golden age of mandarin study is gone(like Japanese before), but still think there are worse things to learn.
What major language is harder? Arabic doesn’t have tones or pictograms, it is certainly easier than Mandarin.
are all harder. I have a good friend who is an Arabist, and found Mandarin considerably easier. Also another friend who has amazing Chinese and then learned Korean and found the latter harder by several magnitudes. Chinese just takes a lot of memorization, but the grammar is pretty simple.
Category I: 23-24 weeks (575-600 hours)
Languages closely related to English
Category II: 30 weeks (750 hours)
Languages similar to English
Category III: 36 weeks (900 hours)
Languages with linguistic and/or cultural differences from English
Category IV: 44 weeks (1100 hours)
Languages with significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English
Persian (Dari, Farsi, Tajik)
Category V: 88 weeks (2200 hours)
Languages which are exceptionally difficult for native English speakers
- Usually more difficult than other languages in the same category.
They are not harder. Japanese is probably harder as that has been confirmed by Foreign Service Institute, the other two are anecdotes.
PTT users represent nobody but themselves. It only has a few tens of thosuands of users.
Then as a Taiwanese, whats your opinion on foreigners not learning Chinese, or what do you think most think
But … what you quoted later said it’s in the same category of hardest languages. That sounds reasonably close to me.
Yes,it turns out it is close
55 posts were split to a new topic: Should Chinese Characters be Abolished?
I don’t really care one way or another and I think most people just don’t expect foreigners to know Chinese, though knowing Chinese isn’t particularly surprising either.
Well knowing Chinese should not surprising in Taiwan. (Even for big noses).
Yeah, but… if you have studied in Taiwan and somehow are NOT able to speak Mandarin that will not look good on your CV.
That is a good point.
To the OP. Living in taiwan english only is absolutely possible like everyone seems to have said. But you will be either 95% limited or 950% slower. Take itr slow, but its worth learning the local language where you live. It opens doors, broadens perspectives and we dont become bitter old divorced expats hating taiwan whilst not actually understanding taiwan on a deeper level (we all know these folks). Taiwan gets deep as shit and will probably always be a sort of oxymoronic sophisticated clusterfuck that will always keep surprising the best of us in both amazing and terrible ways. Keeps it interesting, a fun key to life.
I feel that taiwan is exactly as easy in English as Vancouver (canada) is in Mandarin. In many ways. But its not ideal if one wants to dive deeper, or stay longer or get more involved with society and the world. Just as the Canadians will think im stupid saying that, taiwanese also think that about foreigners expecting to live here under english only. The difference is caandians mostyl cant speak mnadarin to explain it at all and taiwanese are able to basically and tend to be more polite about face… keep it in perspective and stay humble in the beginning. My group of friends always like to remind me when strangers complement my Mandarin ability its just a face thing because of face. If they truly are friends they will ask you if you ate or why you gianed weihgt instead of saying hello. All in good fun haha but true. All part of the paradox that is taiwan. Enjoy it, stay humble its more fun.
That said, i have also noticed a HUGE improvement in english recently as well. So its not hard to live here in english only. Just seems like a seriously missed opportunity…and i regret not taking it serious my first decad here. It would have improved my quality of life literally 100 fold.
A post was merged into an existing topic: Should Chinese Characters be Abolished?
The fastest way to gaining respect within taiwan is learning either “taiwanese”, hakka or any of the aboriginal lnguages depending on the community you live. In buisness you learn these for sourcing (probably just taiwanese is best) and mandarin for actual usefulness outside your community. Those big noses get all the grammas.