Ni Hao Fellow Mandarin Students!
Hi everyone--seems like there are a growing number of members in this user group, but no conversations yet--so I thought I'd start it off.
I'm from the US--a New York native. I've been living in Hong Kong for almost 4 years now, first in Central, and now on the Kowloon side. Although I've studied some Mandarin in the past, I find living in Hong Kong has me bouncing back and forth between Cantonese and Mandarin.
I'm curious about the rest of you--are you ex-pats interested in Mandarin, or native Hong Kong Cantonese speakers studying Mandarin?
sebastianAugust 11, 2010, 05:46 AM
Hi Brian, I am a German guy and have been living in Hong Kong for 9 years. So far I mostly lived in the New Territories and now in Kowloon.
I studied Mandarin and also a little bit Cantonese at the Chinese University. Spent most of my time on Cantonese recently and unfortunately my Mandarin skills are slowly but surely declining.
Do you mean you actually use Mandarin to speak to Cantonese people in Hong Kong? Whenever I try this or see other "Westerners" speaking Mandarin, people have this "you-are-not-in-Beijing-anymore" facial expression.
hkboyAugust 12, 2010, 11:16 AM
Hi Brian & Sebastian,
I didn't even know there was a HK Group. Brian, I'm from the East Coast as well. I've been in HK for about 8 years and have been living in the New Territories the whole time. When I first came here everyone told me to learn Mandarin but then I found very few people to speak with so I've been really putting my efforts in to Cantonese.
Sebastion - your Cantonese must be really good now.
simonpetterssonAugust 12, 2010, 02:16 PM
Sorry to crash the party. I'm not in Hong Kong, but in Foshan, about two and a half hours away. I recently also started to study Cantonese, and I have a couple of friends in HK.
So, y'know, hi.
gesangSeptember 06, 2010, 04:54 AM
Hi, I just moved to Hong Kong!
I want to continue my Mandarin studies here but I didn't decide where and how. I am studying at HKU...but not Chinese... And by now I didn't sign up for a Mandarin course at the University simply because I don't really know how much time I really have besides my other study...
Anyway, hello to the group :-)!
I will go on with my Mandarin studies as I am still far away from being fluent and want to improve...but I am learning every day language from my friends and classmates (like: please stop (the green minibus), thank you, food names, ...).
I am here for 1 year for sure...hopefully add a 2nd... and have no Idea where I will go afterwards... Mainland? Stay even longer? back to Europe? I'll see :-)
hkboySeptember 06, 2010, 07:26 AM
Welcome to HK. It's quite a hot day here, isn't it? Will you be studying Cantonese? How long will you stay?
right, it is easy to get around with english...but I feel it is still useful to know Mandarin...a lot of people who don't talk english understand it very well. And I have a better memory (compared for example to a classmate from US who does not know any Chinese) for Cantonese words my friends teach me if I know it is "just another pronunciation" for the same word (character) I know in Mandarin...
juliaguliaFebruary 27, 2011, 02:36 PM
Hey guys... I'm originally from Florida. Spent a couple years in Beijing and now been almost 4 years in Hong Kong and so the Mandarin is slowly going down the drain cuz no one uses it here. Have you found any good ways to keep practicing?
I can understand some cantonese.. But don't want to aggressively undertake it as I am too far along with mandarin to stop now. I am about ready to just get a tutor just so I have someone to talk to each week.
Anyone know of any bar or hangout where the mainlanders hang around? Seriously need an outlet for practicing. I mean come on.. It's not like we're in Texas. We're 2 steps from China. There's gotta be something.
In HK it's better to speak Cantonese, there are 7m people here to help you and it's a much more fun language :-). I use Chinesepod to make sure I get to speak at least some Mandarin every day, but I'm also fortunate enough that my job provides lots of opportunity to speak it.
People always start talking to you on planes/trains if you start reading a lesson you've printed out. I'm sure TV is great, but I don't always feel like watching it when I get home.
Going for massage (a legit one) is a good way to speak Mandarin. It's a duration long enough to get past the pleasantries, most of the staff are from China, I'm not drunk by the end of it and I can fix up whatever issues my body is suffering from.
Let me know if you find somewhere in HK. I once tried a group on Facebook for language exchange, but it seemed more like dating than anything else.
kryzlowskiJuly 14, 2011, 09:47 AM
I've been in HK a couple of years and although I always wanted to learn Cantonese and was never very into Mandarin, I finally gave way to the pressure.
Everytime I felt motivated to really get moving with Cantonese I just ended up getting frustrated due to... lack of resources.. lack of consistently used decent romanisation system...written Chinese being different to spoken Cantonese.. people not putting any value on their own language and always telling you not to bother or that it is too hard (actually I didn't get this too often but I know others do), etc.
Cantonese is not super difficult like everyone says, it's just the setting for learning makes it super-difficult. the best books I think there are are written by Sidney Lau almost 50 years ago! Unfortunatly I get bored easy and need learning materials that are fresh and fun, and not mindnumbingly boring! There are better resources but they don't tend to go above beginner level, and if they do it is advanced only.
I got excited when I found the CantoneseClass101 podcast, but they seem to teach the written chinese readings, which are not how Cantonese is spoken (e.g Siu Si instead of Jung Tau for the word hour). I then got excited when I found the PopupCantonese podcast but it turns out they have barely any lessons and won't increase unless they get a decent number of subscribers.
Do I sound a bit bitter? Yes, I am! HAH! Anyway, I'm throwing myself full on into Mandarin now and trying to make up for lost time getting frustrated with Cantonese.
May I say a great decision to dedicate yourself to Mandarin for the time being, because as a native Mandarin speaker, I tried to learn Cantonese, mostly through soap opera and pop songs. It's much easier if you have a Mandarin background.