is "I speak little Chinese" in Mandarin Chinese "hui yidian zhongwen" or "wo hui shuo yi dian zhong guo hua"?

I’m taking lessons from a lady who was born in raised in Taiwan for 39 years. She’s only been in America for 11 years. She told me that "I speak little Chinese" in Mandarin is "hui yidian zhongwen". I looked it up on Yahoo answers and I got "wo hui shuo yidian zhong guo hua"…. so… PLEASE CLEAR THIS UP FOR ME? D:
so if I add "wo" (which means I)
wo hui yidian zhongwen… it would specifically mean I know little chinese?:D

One Comment

  1. Most of the distinction here is between “zhongwen” and “zhong guo hua”. The first is often used to refer to WRITTEN Mandarin, while the second is almost exclusively used for SPOKEN Mandarin. Most English-as-a-first-language speakers I know who have picked up some Mandarin are able to speak some basic phrases, but are often functionally illiterate or close to it in written Mandarin. In my personal experience after having taken a few semesters of Mandarin in college-level courses in the late 1990s (but not speaking or writing/reading it regularly since then), pictographic-based writing as is the case with Mandarin is very difficult to grasp if your first language is alphabetic-based like English or most other Western languages, and unless you read and write in Mandarin just about every day, it is nearly impossible to retain. To describe my own levels of proficiency, I would say something like, “wo hui shuo yidian zhong guo hua keshi wo bukankan zhongwen” which means “I know how to speak a little spoken Mandarin, but I do not read written Mandarin”. Hope that helps!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *