Friday, 2 December 2011

Communication in other countries

Language barrier is a figurative phrase used primarily to indicate the difficulties faced when people who have no language in common attempt to communicate with each other. It may also be used in other contexts.

Typically, little communication occurs unless one or both parties learns a new language, which requires an investment of much time and effort. People travelling abroad often encounter a language barrier.
People who come to a new country at an adult age, when language learning is a cumbersome process, can have particular difficulty "overcoming the language barrier". Similar difficulties occur at multinational meetings, where translation services can be costly, hard to obtain, and prone to error.
In 1995, 24,000 of the freshmen entering the California State University system reported English was their second language; yet only 1,000 of these non-active speakers of English tested proficient in college-level English(Kahmi-Stein&Stein,1999). Numbers such as these make it evident that it is crucial for instruction librarians to acknowledge the challenges that language can present. Clearly use of English is a key complicating factor in international students' use of an American university library. Language difficulties impact not only information-gathering skills but also help-seeking behaviors. Lack of proficiency in English can be a major concern for international students in their library use as it relates to asking for and receiving assistance. Lee (1991), herself a former international student, explains that international students tend to be acquiescent and believe they school is the one place in the English-speaking world where they should be able to compete on an equal basis. International students are receptive and strongly motivated. For international students, concerned with proper sentence structure and precise vocabulary, this alteration of words and positions can be much more baffling than it is to native English speakers. The use of synonyms, a necessity in keyword searching, is a difficult to master, especially for students with limited English vocabulary (F. Jacobson, 1988).

The Chinese language (汉语/漢語 Hànyǔ华语/華語 Huáyǔ中文 Zhōngwén) is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages. About one-fifth of the world’s population, or over one billion people, speaks some variety of Chinese as their native language. Internal divisions of Chinese are usually perceived by their native speakers as dialects of a single Chinese language, rather than separate languages, although this identification is considered inappropriate by some linguists and Sinologists.
Chinese is distinguished by its high level of internal diversity, although all varieties of Chinese are tonal and analytic. There are between 7 and 13 main regional groups of Chinese (depending on classification scheme), of which the most spoken, by far, is Mandarin (about 850 million), followed by Wu (90 million), Cantonese (Yue) (70 million) and Min (50 million). Most of these groups are mutually unintelligible, although some, like Xiang and the Southwest Mandarin dialects, may share common terms and some degree of intelligibility.
Standard Chinese (Putonghua / Guoyu / Huayu) is a standardized form of spoken Chinese based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin Chinese, referred to as 官话/官話 Guānhuà or 北方话/北方話 Běifānghuà in Chinese. Standard Chinese is the official language of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC, also known as Taiwan), as well as one of four official languages of Singapore. It is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. Of the other varieties of Chinese, Cantonese is influential in Guangdong Province and Cantonese-speaking overseas communities, and remains one of the official languages of Hong Kong (together with English) and of Macau (together with Portuguese). Min Nan, part of the Min language group, is widely spoken in southern Fujian, in neighbouring Taiwan (where it is known as Taiwanese or Hoklo) and in Southeast Asia (known as Hokkien in Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia). There are also sizeable Hakka and Shanghainese diaspora, for example in Taiwan, where most Hakka communities maintain diglossia by being conversant in Taiwanese and Standard Chinese.
NameAbbreviationPinyinLocal RomanizationSimp.Trad.Total
Notes: includesStandard Chinese
Guan; GuānhuàPinyin: Guānhuà官话官話c. 1.365 billion
BěifānghuàPinyin: Běifānghuà北方话北方話
Notes: includesShanghainese
Wu; /WúyǔLong-short: Ng Nyiu or Ghu Nyiu吴语吳語c. 90 million
Notes: includesCantonese &Taishanese
Yue; /YuèyǔYale: Yuht Yúh
Jyutping: Jyut6 Jyu5
粤语粵語c. 70 million
Notes: includesHokkienTaiwanese &Teochew
Min; /MǐnyǔPOJ: Bân Gú;
BUCMìng Ngṳ̄
闽语閩語c. 50 million
XiangXiang; XiāngyǔRomanization: Shiāen'ỳ湘语湘語c. 35 million
HakkaKejia; 客家KèjiāhuàHakka Pinyin: Hak-kâ-fa orHak-kâ-va客家话客家話c. 35 million
KèhuàHakka Pinyin: Hak-fa orHak-va客话客話
GanGan; GànyǔRomanization: Gon Ua赣语贛語c. 31 million
Putonghua / Guoyu, often called "Mandarin", is the official standard language used by the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Singapore (where it is called "Huayu"). It is based on the Beijing dialect, which is the dialect of Mandarin as spoken in Beijing. The government intends for speakers of all Chinese speech varieties to use it as a common language of communication. Therefore it is used in government agencies, in the media, and as a language of instruction in schools.

Chinese characters evolved over time from earlier forms of hieroglyphs. The idea that all Chinese characters are either pictographs or ideographs is an erroneous one: most characters contain phonetic parts, and are composites of phonetic components and semantic radicals. Only the simplest characters, such as ren 人 (human), ri 日 (sun), shan 山 (mountain; hill),shui 水 (water), may be wholly pictorial in origin. In 100 CE, the famed scholar Xǔ Shèn in the Hàn Dynasty classified characters into six categories, namely pictographs, simple ideographs, compound ideographs, phonetic loans, phonetic compounds and derivative characters. Of these, only 4% were categorized as pictographs, and 80–90% as phonetic complexes consisting of a semantic element that indicates meaning, and a phonetic element that indicates the pronunciation. There are about 214 radicals recognized in the Kangxi Dictionary.
Modern characters are styled after the regular script (楷书/楷書 kǎishū) (see styles, below). Various other written styles are also used in East Asian calligraphy, including seal script(篆书/篆書 zhuànshū), cursive script (草书/草書 cǎoshū) and clerical script (隶书/隸書 lìshū). Calligraphy artists can write in traditional and simplified characters, but tend to use traditional characters for traditional art.
There are currently two systems for Chinese characters. The traditional system, still used in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and Chinese speaking communities (except Singapore and Malaysia) outside mainland China, takes its form from standardized character forms dating back to the late Han dynasty. The Simplified Chinese character system, developed by the People's Republic of China in 1954 to promote mass literacy, simplifies most complex traditional glyphs to fewer strokes, many to common caoshu shorthand variants.
Singapore, which has a large Chinese community, is the first—and at present the only—foreign nation to officially adopt simplified characters, although it has also become the de facto standard for younger ethnic Chinese in Malaysia. The Internet provides the platform to practice reading the alternative system, be it traditional or simplified.
A well-educated Chinese reader today recognizes approximately 5,000–7,000 characters; approximately 3,000 characters are required to read a Mainland newspaper. The PRC government defines literacy amongst workers as a knowledge of 2,000 characters, though this would be only functional literacy. A large unabridged dictionary, like the Kangxi Dictionary, contains over 40,000 characters, including obscure, variant, rare, and archaic characters; fewer than a quarter of these characters are now commonly used.

Phrases in Chinese
I'm glad to meet you.

Nice to meet you.

What's your name?

My name is Caiye.
I'm Caiye.


May I have your last name?

My last name is                .

How do you write your name?
This is my calling/visiting/business card.


Hi everybody!
How are you?
Long time no see.
Good morning.
Good morning.
Good evening.
Thank you.
You're welcome!
(a polite way of replying to someone who has just thanked you for something)
Thank you very much.
You're welcome!
(a polite way of replying to someone who has just thanked you for something)
Excuse me.
Pardon me.

I'm very sorry about that.
Sorry I'm late.
I'm sorry I'm late.
I'm sorry for the delay.

Never mind.
Don't worry about it.

No problem.
That's all right.
It doesn't matter.

No problem.
All right.
Don't worry about it.


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