Mandarin 中文 versus 越南文
以下是来自的来宾帖子“Prince Roy.” If 您’已经关注博客圈很长时间了， 长 time, 您 might recognize the name and remember his China blog, which was hosted on the (now defunct) 中国剪接blogging network. He also wrote the guest 文章 Integrated 中文 (Levels 1, 2): A View From the Trenches 在中国剪纸上也是如此。在这篇文章中，他’将分享他的个人学习经验 越南文 在 preparation for being stationed there 通过 the U.S. State Department, after having already learned Mandarin 中文 years ago to an advanced level.
When 约翰 asked me to comment on my experiences learning 越南文and 中文, I was happy to oblige, because it allows me to try and wrap my head around what I’ve been through since I began studying 越南文last September (8 ½ months ago now). In the 在 terests of full disclosure, I studied 中文 for a total of five years, and have spoken it now almost 25 years.
I will cut to the chase: 越南文is enormously more difficult than 中文. Hands down. It’s not even close. Some of 您 may recall a seminal essay 通过 David Moser: “Why 中文 Is So Damn Hard”. I had the pleasure to meet David recently (his 中文 is superb, 通过 the way), and here’s some unsolicited advice for David and anyone else who might agree with him: if 您 think 中文 is 硬, steer far, far clear of 越南文. I studied both 语言s 在 a very 在 tensive environment, but when I recall my (much greater) proficiency 在 中文 after the equivalent period spent learning 越南文, I can only cringe 在 shame at my Viet 在 adequacy. True, this is just my own experience, but don’t take my word for it—every person I know who has studied both 语言s sings the same sad song—Chinese is far easier than 越南文in every way except, just maybe, reading. Why is this? Here are a few general thoughts:
This is the big one. It is 硬 to imagine two sound systems more diametrically opposed than English and 越南文. Every aspect of 越南文phonology is 硬. 越南文has single, double and even triple 元音s. Few of them are remotely similar to English, and just the slightest mispronunciation will result 在 an unintended 元音. This, compounded with the tones, can easily render one’s speech unintelligible or worse.
辅音的发音可能会有所不同，具体取决于它出现在单词的开头还是结尾。英语或普通话不存在多种鼻音和声门音。在越南南部，我正在学习的方言，人们通常将“ v”发音为“ y”，更令人困惑的是，“ d”和“ gi”也发音为“ y”音。给我最大困难的辅音对是t /đ（与上面的“ d”不同）。在普通速度语音中，我无法区分它们。只有在我非常仔细地听的情况下，才能在语言实验室中学习。这里有一个现实的例子说明了为什么如此重要的原因：在越南很常见的一道菜是phởbòtái（稀有牛肉河粉）。但是当我用越南语发音时，我的老师说他们听到的是“phởbòđái”，实际上是“ cow piss pho”。哎呀。嗯…服务员？
In short, I’ve found 中文 phonology presents much less difficulty than 越南文.
Like 中文, 越南文is tonal, but the similarity ends there. The northern (Hanoi) dialect has 6 tones; the southern (Saigon) has 5. Thankfully, I’m learning the Saigon dialect, because that extra tone of the Hanoi dialect is a ‘creaky’ tone which has the effect to my ears like nails on chalkboard. I had hoped my experience with 中文 would prove beneficial—the tones 在 Mandarin always seemed somewhat 在 tuitive to me, even from when I first began to study the 语言. Not to say I am completely error free, but tones were never problematic for me to the degree they often are for other students.
Having spoken 中文 for so many years, I plead guilty to tonal transfer, but 在 my own defense, tones 在 越南文are more subtle, and for me, not nearly as 在 tuitive. Two that give me a lot of trouble are the dấu huyền and dấu nặng tones (low-falling and low-dropping), particularly when occurring consecutively and spoken at conversational speed. Also, the dấu sắc (high-rising) tone is tough for me, because I tend to produce it like the second tone of Mandarin, which is wrong. However, tones are the least of my worries 在 越南文; I think they will come more naturally after I arrive 在 Vietnam this August. And at least my teachers tell me I sound tonal when I speak, albeit with a somewhat pronounced 中文 accent.
越南文, like 中文 and English, is an SVO 语言. But that is its only concession. 越南文grammar is the most difficult aspect of the 语言 after pronunciation. Similar to 中文, sentence particles are a very important grammatical component, but 越南文takes this to a stratospheric level of complexity. I also believe 中文 is more flexible than 越南文—in the former, once 您 learn a particular sentence pattern, 您 can pretty much plug anything 在 to it, and while it might not be the way a native speaker would say it, they will often understand 您. Not so 在 越南文. Phrase memorization is more useful than patterns, because if 您 don’t say it exactly like a 越南文does, 您 will usually encounter a blank expression on the face of 您r listener.
Another characteristic of 越南文is it boasts an extraordinary number of synonyms. 中文 is rich 在 synonyms too, of course, but the difference is that 在 中文, 您 might commonly encounter two to three of them 在 typical popular usage. In 越南文, it seems people like to use all of them.