Exploring the Misunderstanding of Chinese Language

I’m from China, and I’m going to talk about one cultural aspect of my home country that people outside of my country misunderstand: Chinese is really hard to learn.

The idea that Chinese is hard might be originated from the impression of various complex characters. However, Chinese is easier than everyone thinks. I want to analyze it theoretically because I’m a native speaker, and my experiences of whether Chinese is hard or not do not apply to people learning Chinese as a foreign language. I admit that writing in Chinese is technically more challenging than in English because we need to learn and practice a lot to remember how to write different characters in complex structure. However, there are lots of connections between characters that conceptually help us to memorize.

For example, a common way to structure a character is to use a component to represent the pronunciation with another component representing the meaning. For example, characters with the component of “月” (Yue), usually mean a part of the body, such as “臂,” “肌,” “肢,” meaning “arm,” “muscle,” “limb.” The other components are namely “辟”, “几”, “支”, these components are pronounced as “pi”, “ji”, “zhi” when they are considered an independent character. The pronunciation of these characters are “bi”, “ji”, “zhi”, which is almost the same as the component representing the pronunciation.

Besides the characters, the words (made up of more than one character) and phrases are also created in a pretty “reasonable” way. As I’ve experienced learning English, I spend a long time remembering new words. However, in Chinese, after learning a certain number of characters, we don’t need to memorize many new words deliberately, but understand these words directly through the characters. Here’s an example. “数” and “学”, meaning “number” and “study”. Combing them we can get the study of numbers, which is Math(数学). “物” and “理”, meaning “mater” and “rule”. For these two characters combined, we can get material rules, which is Physics(物理).

From my perspective, Western countries consider Chinese a hard language to learn because they are frightened by the complex characters and try to compare the difficulty of characters to letters. While learning Chinese will be much easier at the stage when they manage some basic characters.






除了汉字,词和短语也是以非常合理的方式创造的。就我学习英语的经验来看,我花了很长时间记忆新单词。然而,在中文中,学习了一定数量的汉字之后,我们不需要刻意记忆许多新词汇,而是直接通过这些汉字理解这些词汇。以下是一个例子。 “数”和“学”,分别表示“数字”和“学习”。将它们组合起来,我们可以得到“对于数字的学习”,也就是数学。“物”和“理”分别表示“物质”和“规则”。将这两个字符结合起来,我们可以得到物质的规则,也就是物理学。


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