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Why is learning Chinese difficult for non-Chinese speakers

In some foreigners eyes', the learning of Chinese has becomethe most difficult thing for them. The tones of Chinese andChinese characters all seem to be a difficulty.

在一些外国人看来,学习中文已成为他们最为头疼的事情。汉语的语调和汉字好像都是个难题。


Then what has made the learning of Chinese difficult?

那么到底是什么原因使中文这么难学的呢?


Top 1 Because the writing system is ridiculous

原因一:书写方法简直是天方夜谭


It is absolutely true that Chinese is hard because of the hugenumber of characters one has to learn.

汉语之所以难学,就是因为要学的汉字实在太多,这也是绝对的事实。


And Chinese is not very phonetic, which means that often youjust completely forget how to write a character, if there is noobvious semantic clue in the radical, and no helpful phoneticcomponent somewhere in the character.

还有,汉字的拼写方式也不是很规则,也就是说,如果从一个汉字的组合方式中得不到任何显而易见的语义提示,或者其中没有包含什么有用的偏旁部首,就会把一个汉字的写法忘得干干净净。


Top 2 Because the language doesn't have the common sense touse an alphabet

原因二:汉语是不能用通俗意义上的字母排列来表意的


The English is so easy because of the skills needed to masterthe writing system are 26 letters and they are written from left toright ,horizontally, across the page, with spaces to indicate wordboundaries.

英语之所以好学,就是因为掌握英语书写方法所需要的技能也就是26个字母而已,而且只要沿水平方向、从左到右、从页面的一边写到另一边就可以了。

In comparison, Chinese has nothing that corresponds to analphabet, though there are recurring components that make up thecharacters.

相比之下,尽管中文也有组成汉字的那些共用的偏旁部首,却没有相应的字母。


It can be said that the components of Chinese characters arearrayed in two dimensions, rather than in the neat one-dimensionalrows of alphabetic writing.

可以说,组成汉字的偏旁部首是按照两个方向来排列的,而不象字母那样只按一个方向排列,看起来很整洁。


Top 3 Because even looking up a word in the dictionary iscomplicated

原因三:即使在字典中查汉字也是非常复杂


One of the most unreasonably difficult things about learningChinese is that merely learning how to look up a word in thedictionary is about the equivalent of an entire semester ofsecretarial school.

学习汉语最莫名其妙的困难之一,就是即使仅仅学会怎么查字典,也要耗费一个秘书学校整个学期的学习时间


Chinese must also be one of the most dictionary-intensivelanguages on earth for there are various dictionaries.

汉语一定是地球上最精于运用字典的语言了,因为各种各样的字典实在太多。


Top 4 Because there's classical Chinese (wenyanwen)

原因四:中文里面还有古汉语(文言文)


Classical Chinese really consists of several centuries ofesoteric anecdotes and in-jokes written in a kind of terse, miserlycode for dissemination among a small, elite group ofintellectually-inbred bookworms who already knew the wholeliterature backwards and forwards.

古汉语确实含有数千年来积累起来的各种宫廷秘闻,用词简洁扼要,简直象某种密码,只适合那些天生的知识精英,他们对文学的一切了然于心。


Top 5 Because there are too many romanization methods and theyall suck

原因五:(罗马式)拼音方案太多且都让人精疲力尽


Perhaps that's too harsh, but it is true that there are toomany of them, and most of them were designed either by committee orby linguists, or — even worse — by a committee of linguists.

也许听起来有些刺耳,但汉语的拼音方案确实太多,而大多数的拼音方案不是什么文字委员会提倡的,就是语言学家提出来的,更糟糕的是由那些语言学家组成的文字委员会提出来的。


Top 6 Because tonal languages are weird

原因六:汉语语调稀奇古怪


It's one of the most common complaints about learning Chinese,and it's also one of the aspects of the language that westernersare notoriously bad at.

在学汉语过程中,最容易听到的抱怨正是这一点,西方人对汉语最害怕的也是这一点,简直是妇孺皆知


As non-native speakers, you must memorize along with thevowels and consonants.

如果不是从小就会说汉语,那你就等着不停地去死记那些元音辅音吧。


Intonation and stress habits are incredibly ingrained andsecond-nature.

汉语的那些语调和强调习惯简直是与生俱来的,根深蒂固的,简直不可思议。


Top 7 Because there is culture difference

原因七:存在文化差异


One of the main reasons Chinese is so difficult for westernersis that the culture between the East and the West has been isolatedfor so long.

东方、西方相互之间文化分隔的时间太长,这也是汉语对于西方人来说为何那么难学的主要原因。


China has had extensive contact with the West in the last fewdecades, but there is still a vast sea of knowledge and ideas thatis not shared by both cultures.

尽管在过去几十年里中国和西方之间有了广泛的接触,然而,中国人的知识和思想浩瀚如海,西方人却无缘享用。


When westerners and Chinese get together, there is often notjust a language barrier, but an immense cultural barrier aswell.

即使有朝一日西方人想和中国人融合成一体,其障碍往往也并非只是语言一个方面而已,最大的障碍是巨大的文化差异。

2016-06-21

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