Differences Between Mandarin and English

Topics: English language, Past tense, Chinese language Pages: 4 (1441 words) Published: July 20, 2011
Differences between Mandarin and English

Mandarin, known by many for being one of the most difficult languages in the world, is my mother language. Born in China eighteen years ago, I was raised in a Mandarin-speaking environment. Both of my parents have been speaking to me in Mandarin ever since I was a child. Mandarin is the language I usually spoke when I was in China and even in here I speak Mandarin with my Chinese friends. Studying the first language is a slow and natural process which is affected a lot by the environment. However unlike my first language, my second language, English, did not take a long time to learn. I learned to speak English when I was 8. Since English is compulsory course in my school, I had a one hour English class twice a week. I had an English teacher who taught me from everything from the alphabet to words and from grammar to sentences. But compare to the amount of time I spent speaking Chinese much over powered the time I spent speaking in English. This was of course an obvious consequence of being in a majority Mandarin speaking country. It is unarguable that both English and Mandarin, emerging from their starkly different historic backgrounds are extremely different in their linguistic and spoken styles. Mandarin belongs to the Sino-Tibetan Group however English is developed from the Indo-European family. Considering Mandarin and English developed in two different language families, these two languages are different in many significant ways. On the phonetic aspect, although English and Mandarin share some same consonants such as ‘/t/’ ‘/k/’ ‘/g/’ ‘/p/’ and ‘/b/’, some consonants present in the English language are absent in Mandarin. Mandarin does not have any interdental fricative sound, for example the interdental fricative sound ‘θ’ in ‘thank’ and ‘ð’ in ‘the’ do not exist in Mandarin phonetic inventory. In Mandarin the Alveolo-palatal such as ‘/x/’ ‘/j/’ and ‘/q/’ which is [ɕ] [tɕ] and [tɕʻ] separately in IPA are not...
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