A Look at the Min Nan Language

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the Min Nan language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Sino-Tibetan
Sinitic
Chinese
Min Nan

Min Nan is also said to be harder to learn than Mandarin, as it has a more complex tone system, with five tones on three different levels. A Westerner, a native English speaker, who tried to learn it recently said he tried different methods of learning in terms of hours per day, but the only method that allowed him to get anywhere with Min Nan was by studying it eight hours per day. Fewer hours per day of study yielded little progress. He said that Min Nan speakers say that Min Nan 2nd language learners never get anywhere close to native fluency in the language, especially with the tones.Even many Taiwanese natives don’t seem to get it right these days, as it is falling out of favor, and many fewer children are being raised speaking it than before.

Min Nan gets a 5.5 rating, nearly hardest of all.

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Filed under Applied, Chinese language, Language Families, Language Learning, Linguistics, Min Nan, Sinitic, Sino-Tibetan

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