I’ve lived in China over a year now and I don’t know any Cantonese or Mandarin. Surprisingly it’s been difficult to find a private tutor for Mandarin. Cantonese is the main language spoken where I live (Macau and Hong Kong), but variations of Mandarin are spoken throughout China. I had an interpreter tell me the best way to learn is to start with Mandarin and then go into Cantonese. Mandarin has four tones and Cantonese has nine.
My tutor used to teach kindergarten which is perfect for me starting out. They have all these baby books for me to read. And the most fun part, we started learning to write Chinese already.
Maybe I’ll post a video in several months when I can actually say some things in Chinese.
I thought this was funny: The interpreter told me the BEST way to learn a foreign language is to get a girlfriend who’s native, and to get drunk. They weren’t joking. They said this is the way to immerse yourself in the language; and getting drunk helps you not think about it so much. Which made me think that being an interpreter must be a very fun job…
The interpreter also told me that learning a first foreign language is difficult, the second a little easier; and by the time you are on your fourth language it is very easy.