Friday, 25 June 2010

Communicating with Chinese ladies

There are loads of online dating sites where you can find beautiful Chinese ladies looking for Western husbands. The problem is that many of these ladies looking for Western husbands don't speak or read much English. While sites such as Chnlove Club provide translation services, this is very expensive. At some point in the relationship you have to go it alone with out the help of translators for every conversation.

A lot of Chinese ladies may state in their profiles that they are learning English, but don't read too much into this. One of the problems is there is a dire shortage of language teachers in China. It can be difficult for a Chinese lady to find English language tuition in China. It's even more difficult to find a native English speaker (learning a language from a native speaker of that language is normally much more useful in terms of getting pronunciation right). Language tutors are expensive in China, as they can command big hourly fees for helping kids with important exams, or helping people get a job for which English is essential. In China knowing a foreign language is a good gateway to a better job, and hence a much better standard of living.

My top tip for language difficulties is - keep perservering! All couples eventually seem to crack the language barrier. I've known plenty of Western men who have had successful long term relationships with Chinese women who barely knew a word of English. I've also known men from France and Scandinavian countries also have successful relationships with Chinese ladies, even though their own first language isn't always English!

I'll also add that although you might expect your lady to learn English, don't forget that you could also learn Chinese! Most Chinese ladies speak either Mandarin or Cantonese. It's possible you might find a Mandarin language course in your local area. Alternatively there are lots of books and audio CDs you can buy to help you learn. Actually Mandarin does not really deserve it's reputation as being hard to learn. The syntax of Mandarin is actually very simple. There are also a lot less words to learn compared to English.

Regardless of what spoken language your lady speaks (and many speak two or more dialects of Chinese), all Chinese ladies use the same written language. Although Chinese characters might seem fearsome to learn, memorising them is actually a lot easier than you might think. There's also a law of diminishing returns. The most common characters appear numerous times in Chinese text, so if you just memorise the most frequently occurring characters then you'll usually be able to have a rough idea of what your lady is talking about. You can then use the Google language translator to translate the rest. I now know about 200 characters, and even with this subset I can normally get a sense of what Chinese people are writing to me. In general you need to memorise 2000 characters in order to read most Chinese text.

Here's some tips about memorising Chinese characters with the Heisig method, as well as other quick ways to memorise characters using Flash Cards.

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