Thank you, Mark, for the delectable title of your recent entry: “Learning Mandarin is hard for native English speakers.”
If I may: I live in a city where you’re basically considered retarded if you can’t speak two languages. People struggle with learning French or English every day. It isn’t Paris, mind you, where I’ve heard people refuse to recognize what you’re saying unless the accent and slang is precisely right. Think gum versus chewing, and apply it to every object that can be bought, and add a snooty look for good measure.
I tried to learn Mandarin several years ago, bought a textbook published by Chinese government (with just the right amount of communist propaganda, I could add). I learned a lot of characters, but certainly not 3,000 as I apparently require for reading, say, a newspaper article telling me about the nuclear waste dump where I could be planning to visit for a picnic tomorrow. For example.
Perhaps I feel no pity for this dude because, dating a linguist and being aware of the basics of said science myself, I’m aware that (gasp) languages can have a wholly different structure from each other. So, I’m sorry if I sound like an asshole, but it so seems very americanocentric.
This being said, I still cannot tell the difference between Akbar and Aqsa on my Introduction to Islam quizzes, and I am still behind on my reading. So instead of blogging maybe I should be… nah.