sue.kisiel on October 27, 2011 (0) | reply
Xiao,

Thank you for your thoughts on this. You're entirely right about the motivation. I'm nervous about first trips and they're to Cantonese areas. This will be a huge motivator to learn as much as I can over the next couple of months. Learning to speak Mandorin would be nice, but it won't be as urgent and so might not happen.

Cantonese it is!

Thanks again, I really appreciate your input and am very excited to get going!

Sue
sue.kisiel on October 25, 2011 (0) | reply
I like the idea of learning Cantonese, as it's most pertinent to my current work, and trying to switch latter.

I've never been good at languages, though. I started out just trying to learn please and thank you in Cantonese, but am having fun with it and thought if I were to continue, I should get startegic about it.

I guess I need to check out both and try to get a feel for how different they are to see if it feels like I could make a switch latter.
Xiao Hu on October 27, 2011 (0) | reply
@sue.kisiel,

I would advise, if you're living and working in Hong Kong, to learn Cantonese with all deliberate speed. You'll find lots of doors will open up to you when you can speak the local language, and, I can attest from personal experience, that most local Hong Kongers can't speak very good Mandarin Chinese.

I went down there on holiday and began every conversation with Mandarin and got back mainly English replies. I went into a shop and began speaking Mandarin, the shopowner was doing his best to try and speak with me in broken Mandarin, after a minute or two he asked which country I was from, I replied the US. He then blurted out in English, "I thought you were from a non-English speaking country! Why don't you just speak English? My Enlish is SO much better than my Mandarin."

Now, whenever I travel to HK, I don't even bother with Mandarin.

Besides, learning things that are related to your needs is one of the best ways to stay motivated.