Okay, I guess I shall be the instructor.
What should I talk about?
First a background and demystify Chinese...
- Chinese has been in continuous use for over 4000 years.
- Its characters were first etched on bones and has evolved multiple times into what it is recognized today.
- There are two styles of writing: Traditional and Simplified. China uses simplified while just about all other Chinese communities around the world continue to use traditional.
- The difference between traditional & simplified Chinese is in the way it is written. Simplified characters resemble more like the cursive style of writing vs the traditional which is print.
- There are literally hundreds of dialects of Chinese, but just one way of writing (different dialects may use synonyms in its place, but the meaning is still understandable by writing).
- Cantonese is used mostly in southern China, Hong Kong, and outside of China. Mandarin is used most in northern China, Taiwan, and Singapore. (I speak Mandarin)
- Chinese uses the same basic sentense structure: SVO (Subject - Verb - Object) that English does (Japanese & Korean uses SOV)
- The one single hard part about speaking Chinese is learning the tones. There are also a few sounds not used in English that may also somehwat complicate the speaker.
- Most Americans can pick up the language in about three to six months of total immersion, should one do a study there.