Is it really impossible to be fluent in chinese for laowais?

Discussions on Mandarin Chinese. Do not post requests for translations or advertise couses in this forum.
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:24 pm

Is it really impossible to be fluent in chinese for laowais?

Post by laowai121 »

Hi! Today i saw an article named "Why u shouldn't learn chinese": ... hinese.php
that made me really sad.

Why is it so impossible to be fluent in chinese? I don't think chinese writing is such difficult, is it?
When to have enough time, it's possible to learn 15 or more characters every day. It's really very interesting and pleasurable.

The real complicacy is pronunciation.. it's very interesting but soooooooo crazyy. Is it possible to feel tones as good as native do, even in fast conversations. if to put much time on it? Or speaking really fluently and quickly with accurate pronunciation is inaccessible to us, laowais? 8(

I am goint to enter chinese learning university in the next year. I'd like to devote myself to learning Chinese, but i'm afraid i will never be as good as native.. Language is not just a tool for communication for me. If to chose a profession i want to really be good at it.

So is it possible or not?
Do u know some foreigners, who can speak (and write/read) as good as native? is it possible to get this level if you set it as your main aim?

P.S. Sorry for my english :)
ken tao
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:25 pm

Chinese is "in the box"

Post by ken tao »

-The big problem of learning Chinese is the immense amount of idiom and multigrams required to understand meaning. There are few diction correlatives with indo-european languages, so unless you have immense memory like Rain Man, you have to spend all your time learning the multitude of ways to say even the most common things in conversation.
Furthermore Chinese is more like a pre-programmed social entity, or like a TV commercial. The conversation is started with a topic that everyone knows, and repeatedly built on. Thus convoluted, in order to carry the “topic” which is constantly reiterated for the purpose of consensus. English grammar by contrast conveys information in a more linear fashion, with the “topic” understood in the logic based syntax.
Chinese language by structure influences the conversationalist to work within the box. If we just try to learn characters, we won’t get the meaning, since the syntax and diction of Chinese are amorphous to the foreigner. Western languages tend to use grammatic structure as a base for building meaning, rather than consensus on an agreed topic, whereas Western language expects the speaker to use language to network to other “topics” and is therefore more keyed to working outside the box.
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:02 pm

Re: Is it really impossible to be fluent in chinese for laow

Post by linguaholic »

It is definitely possible. I have been in China many times and I have seen some toreigner that reached fluency in Chinese. Moreover, this year I have been at the Chinese new year's celebration in Switzerland and there I have also seen some foreigners (two of them were even Moderators for the show) who spoke really well in Chinese. It's not easy to reach fluency that's for sure, but still, it is definitely possible! :mrgreen:
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:25 am
Location: guangzhou

Re: Is it really impossible to be fluent in chinese for laow

Post by shirleymain »

Yes it is possible if put efforts and tiem