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Thread: MK at White House

  1. #31
    Bona Fide Member heyang's Avatar
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    Cantonese and mandarin are totally different. My parents and elders speak their village dialect which closely resembles Cantonese. As an American born, I can understand much more than I can speak. However, I cannot understand any Mandarin except for the few phrases I learned in class.

    Anyway, my point is that they are not easily interchangeable. To become fluent, Michelle would really have to immerse herself in it. I'm sure working with other skaters from China (ie. Lulu,etc) on COI has given her the opportunity to pick up non-textbook phrases, but I imiagine that Michelle still needs an interpreter to have an in depth conversation with the President of china.

  2. #32
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    heyang -- maybe you can satisy my curiosity. is it easier for a Cantonese-speaker to learn Mandarin than it is for someone who never spoke any of the Chinese languages/dialects, or, would learning Mandarin be equally difficult for both?

  3. #33
    Bona Fide Member heyang's Avatar
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    Cantonese is the harder of the 2 dialects. It has 9 intonations, whereas Mandarin has 4. The words for fork vs tea (in Cantonese) are only the slightest bit different, for example.

    I know more people who know Cantonese 1st and Mandarin 2nd as opposed to the opposite. However, I know more Cantonese speaking people because the earliest waves of immigrants from China were from the southern region, which equals Cantonese. I'm more familiar with the older generations of immigrants and my grandfather was a teacher - making sure all his children (male and female) were well educated. More recent immigrants will be more likely to know Mandarin, but not Cantonese, but they will have been raised post communist revolution when Mandarin became the standard.

    I'm going to guess that it's easier for a Cantonese speaker to learn Mandarin vs someone who is learning to speak any chinese dialect as a 2nd language. The intonations can be very subtle.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by attyfan
    heyang -- maybe you can satisy my curiosity. is it easier for a Cantonese-speaker to learn Mandarin than it is for someone who never spoke any of the Chinese languages/dialects, or, would learning Mandarin be equally difficult for both?
    I'm not heyang but I'll answer from my own perspective. I think it depends on individual person's ability to grasp the language - being a Cantonese speaker, our pronounciation of Mandarin tends to be affected by the cantonese pronounciation easily even if we have learned the Mandarin properly i.e. not from movies or songs but from real Mandarin speakers; unless you are able to practise Mandarin day in and day out. However, I have heard from foreigners who speak flawless Mandarin or at least much better than most Cantonese speakers, I would think it's because they do not have the burden of knowing Cantonese or some other Chinese dialets.

  5. #35
    Bona Fide Member Joesitz's Avatar
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    Many non Mandarin speaking Chinese staff members at the United Nations study Mandarin (the official Chinese language of the UN). They find it as difficult, I am told, as the non Chinese student.

    Joe

  6. #36
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    Here's an article, with some quotes from Michelle, about her visit to the White House ...

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/sports/...ent_574246.htm

  7. #37
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    Thanks for the link, Nymkfan.

    I can face the day now, having had my Michelle fix!

    MM

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by nymkfan51
    Here's an article, with some quotes from Michelle, about her visit to the White House ...

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/sports/...ent_574246.htm
    For some odd reason, your link doesn't work for me.

  9. #39
    On the Ice Mathman's Avatar
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    Try copyng and pasting the whole url into your address bar. Here it is.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/sports/...ent_574246.htm

    Be prepared for a huge "AWWWWWWW" moment, LOL.

    Coincidentally, Kwan's parents currently are vacationing in China, the land of her ancestors. She called and woke them to tell her about her adventures at the White House.

    "Your baby girl was sitting next to President Bush," she told them. Kwan's mother then asked her what she was wearing.

    "I couldn't wait for them to turn on the TV in China and see the coverage, and when President Hu toasted all of us and I was right there," Kwan said. "I don't think I can ever top that."

  10. #40
    On the Ice Mathman's Avatar
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    Try copyng and pasting the whole url into your address bar. Here it is.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/sports/...ent_574246.htm

    Be prepared for a huge "AWWWWWWW" moment, LOL.

    Coincidentally, Kwan's parents currently are vacationing in China, the land of her ancestors. She called and woke them to tell her about her adventures at the White House.

    "Your baby girl was sitting next to President Bush," she told them. Kwan's mother then asked her what she was wearing.

    "I couldn't wait for them to turn on the TV in China and see the coverage, and when President Hu toasted all of us and I was right there," Kwan said. "I don't think I can ever top that."

  11. #41
    On the Ice Mathman's Avatar
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    (OK, third time's the charm.)

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/sports/2006-04/22/content_574246.htm

  12. #42
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    cool, thanks. I only got the link to work in IE. I use Netscape regularly and cutting and pasting still didn't work. But it's nice to have some words accompany those pictures. Thanks.

  13. #43
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    Thanks so much for the link. She is such a special young lady. Her parents have done a wonderful job.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by jesslily
    I'm wondering how well Michelle speak Chinese. Some American Born Chinese don't speak much Chinese at all. If Michelle does not speak any Maderine, I guess she can not communicate with President Hu.
    Michelle speaks Cantoness well, but broken Maderine. She and President Hu may talk to each other in english, assume his English is not as broken as Kwan's Maderine.....

    For me, Cantoness is more difficult to understand than English.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piel
    Let's hope Michelle wore her bulletproof bustier!
    You two both crackle me up.

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