What has kept you from learning Taiwanese?

For me the reasons are:

  1. I don’t live in Taiwan, and so I have to learn solely through books and cds (I have the first two books of the excellent Maryknoll series and the accompanying audio CDs).

  2. It’s difficult self-studying Mandarin and Taiwanese at the same time, and since Mandarin is more widely spoken, I stick to that. Plus, I can get reading materials in Chinese much easier.

  3. Whenever I attempt to speak Taiwanese to my in-laws, they break out laughing and respond in Mandarin.

So what are your reasons?

Also, does anyone here speak Taiwanese? Does anyone speak Taiwanese but not Mandarin? I met a couple of missionairies in Taiwan who were bilingual in English and Taiwanese but didn’t know any Mandarin beyond “ni hao”. I thought that was interesting.

I barely mastered Chinese. :s

All my friends speak Mandarin or English or another language I know how to speak.

I know enough to let the office bitches think I know more than I actually do. Hehe.

I can hardly speak Taiwanese .
Because when I speak Taiwanese they laugh my tone.
I speak Mandarin and Hakka.

i speak, acceptably but pretty lamely considering how long i’ve been here. it’s hard in taipei, to me anyway, except for old folks it seems hard to carry on a conversation in taiwanese without going over to mandarin.

I always think it’s weird how people ask me “Why did you want to learn Taiwanese?”

If I hear that someone has spent time learning a rarely studied language, I just think:
“That’s cool. I wish I knew some basic Guarani.”

I might ask them how to say something in Guarani. But the last thing I would think is “But… why?”

Same as you. I’m not in Taiwan anymore. I do have the Maryknoll tapes (!) – would love the CDs instead as the tape quality is really bad – and I could learn from those materials if I had waaaay too much free time (are the lessons still as long and incredibly vocabulary-packed as before?) but I dunno, it just doesn’t seem worth it for an annual trip back of maybe 3 weeks.

I’ll be spending 5 weeks in Hawaii this summer and I do plan to try to find a tutor/language informant and learn some basic Hawaiian, and of course I’ve bought the usual “teach yourself Hawaiian” half-useless materials and CDs set just for fun. I realize that Hawaiian isn’t really widely spoken, but it just seems cool to learn about it, if not to learn it well.

I will be trying to find time to teach my MIL basic Mandarin prior to her visiting Taiwan this fall for a couple of weeks, but she is definitely one of the “give me five words and a map and I’ll go have fun for a day” types who is really into the idea. Won’t mention Taiwanese other than really common things like “phai-seh”, I think. (Plus I can hardly remember any more than that at this point. :frowning:

What I’d like is an Internet arrangement to teach me Minnan, the way it’s easy to get a pretty decent Mandarin teacher for about US$7 an hour.

[quote=“ironlady”]Same as you. I’m not in Taiwan anymore. I do have the Maryknoll tapes (!) – would love the CDs instead as the tape quality is really bad – and I could learn from those materials if I had waaaay too much free time (are the lessons still as long and incredibly vocabulary-packed as before?) but I dunno, it just doesn’t seem worth it for an annual trip back of maybe 3 weeks.

I’ll be spending 5 weeks in Hawaii this summer and I do plan to try to find a tutor/language informant and learn some basic Hawaiian, and of course I’ve bought the usual “teach yourself Hawaiian” half-useless materials and CDs set just for fun. I realize that Hawaiian isn’t really widely spoken, but it just seems cool to learn about it, if not to learn it well.

I will be trying to find time to teach my MIL basic Mandarin prior to her visiting Taiwan this fall for a couple of weeks, but she is definitely one of the “give me five words and a map and I’ll go have fun for a day” types who is really into the idea. Won’t mention Taiwanese other than really common things like “phai-seh”, I think. (Plus I can hardly remember any more than that at this point. :frowning:

What I’d like is an Internet arrangement to teach me Minnan, the way it’s easy to get a pretty decent Mandarin teacher for about US$7 an hour.[/quote]

The cd quality is excellent. The books are the same, yes very vocab rich, with lots and lots of exercises. Definitely some of the best language books I’ve ever used. In fact, I believe it was you who recommended them to me. :slight_smile:

For a couple of months I was working through the book steadily, but then for some reason stopped and I haven’t seriously started up again. At the time I was living in Houston and spend between 2.5 to 3 hours in the car M-F. I listened to the CDs over and over again, and studied the texts when I got home. I studied Mandarin during my lunch hour at work.

When my in-laws speak Taiwanese to each other I feel completely lost, the way I used to feel before I started studying Mandarin (which isn’t to say I understand 100% of their Mandarin, but I can usually struggle through). I don’t mind normally mind, but sometimes it is obvious they are talking about me and I don’t much care for being left out of those conversations.

hehe, the great motivator

I live in a Hakka area, so I don’t get to study it. Would like to one day, though, would impress the suppliers.

  1. The lack of a need to. Between English and Mandarin, I can communicate with almost anyone here in Taiwan.

  2. The in-laws don’t speak Taiwanese, and I’m not going to invest the time to learn the Ningbo Wu dialect when they speak Mandarin just fine.

  3. The tone sandhi rules scare the crap out of me. I don’t know how anyone can keep them straight.

[quote=“Chris”]

  1. The tone sandhi rules scare the crap out of me. I don’t know how anyone can keep them straight.[/quote]

no one can. you pick it up over time though.

Never finished my Mandarin off, it’s functional, but pretty sad at times after 12 plus years, so I can’t honestly conceive of attempting another before fixing the first up properly. That, and more tones scares me off. No thanks.

I have long been interested in learning and make sporadic efforts at studying. I really should try harder I guess. I think there are two main reasons (apart from my own laziness) why I haven’t done well at learning it.

  1. It is too easy to use Mandarin or English. Why bother trying to use a language in which you may not be able to communicate effectively when you know two others that will work well in most situations.

  2. Although most Taiwanese can speak the language perfectly very few have a technical understanding of the language necessary to teach it. i.e. they cannot write it down in romanisation or clearly explain the tones or grammar.

If you want to learn well I think a professional teacher is really necessary. Alternatively you could go the total immersion method, staying in some rural area where Mandarin is rarely spoken.

I think it is useful and important to learn the language. I feel embarrassed when I sometimes meet old people who cannot speak Mandarin. They speak to me in Taiwanese and I can’t reply. It would be really nice to be able to communicate with them at least a little.

All that’s been said so far. Additionally, lack of a decent system of phoneticisation. Interestingly I’m having the same issue with Thai just now. While there are two systems that I can see, neither is particularly consistent, or to my vexed mind at least, reasonable approximations of the pronunciation.

HG

The POJ system is good, but a lot of the pronunciations are not intuitive. You really need to learn the system well before you can use it. I learnt it some years ago, but I can’t remember all of the details.

I really would like to see a new system developed that was simpler and more intuitive. But romanisation is not something the Taiwanese are very good at.

Interested in learning, but just don’t have the time and energy right now; focusing on modern Mandarin and archaic scripts is already enough for one soul.

Good grief! What did those damned Christians have on their minds? That’s as mad as the hai alphabet . . .which the way that shuffles consonents and vowels around does my head in completely.

By the bye, although now in HK, I refuse to attempt Canto, as I figure I speak two out of three of the local offical languages and so if there is a language issue, it has to be the fault of the other party. And also because, quite frankly, I don’t think these people are worth talkiing to.

HG

I try to pick up my Taiwanese.
When I was a kid, my government forbid us from learning Taiwanese.
I was got punished when I spoke Taiwanese in school.
Nowadays my government encourage people to learn Taiwanese, but there are some problem with the courses design in schools and its spelling systems.

it’s sad, my 6 year old put this together on her mom’s birthday card today: (with tone marks, i don’t know how to input though)

ㄨㄚ ㄒ一 ㄍ一ㄇ ㄌㄢ ㄉㄠ 一ㄨ

= wa si gimlan dau iu = i’m Gimlan Soy Sauce

which is her mom’s nickname. if a six year old can create her own way to write taiwanese, how in the name of ??? can’t someone figure out a standard way? the answer of course is that most people don’t care, which is just the way things are of course but to me is the sad part.