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Thursday, January 27, 2011

I want Mandarin Flash Cards!

I have had a couple of customers call me up and tell me they want Mandarin Chinese XYZ.  The last one was Mandarin Flash Cards.

And then I ask Simplified Chinese Books or Traditional Chinese Books.  The person usually does not know.  Then I ask them where there teacher is from.  If Taiwan, Traditional.  If China, Simplified. 

Usually...  Some teachers from Taiwan are teaching Simplified.  I call customers when I see a mixed order of Simplified and Traditional Chinese.  Often the customer mixed the order by mistake.

And then I tell them they probably want Simplified if they are working with a teacher, and I explain the difference and the advantages of Simplified and Traditional Chinese Characters (longer blog post).  Basically a person from China usually thinks Simplified is the best, and a person from Taiwan thinks Traditional is the best.  Supposedly Simpfilied is easier to learn since less strokes, and traditional is easier to learn since more systematic.  Me, I think both are equally hard to learn :-)  The best comment I heard was when the Chinese writing was "Simplified", they did not simplify it enough.

What I find a bit annoying is a Chinese teacher who tells me that Taiwan does not use Mandarin Chinese. The Chinese Teacher knows better.... Mandarin Chinese is the official language in Taiwan.  My wife has been complimented on her Mandarin Chinese by people from China, and she is from Taiwan.

There is Taiwanese accent, just as there is a Shanghainese Accent, Beijing Accent, as well as what China calls Standard Chinese that is used in newscasts and such that is close to the Beijing Accent. I find the Shanghainese Accent very pretty and the Beijing Accent to be a bit harsher, and the Taiwanese Accent nothing special since I hear it all the time.  The Taiwanese Accent is softer than the Beijing Accent.  If you listen to a person speaking Mandarin Chinese you can usually tell where they are from by their accent.

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