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    I've heard it has no tenses, plurals or conjugations... this might make it easier to learn but doesn't it make it a bit limited in terms of expression? Especially as it's a tonal language so you can't be anrgy like "I HATE you!" because it would mean a completely different thing.... !?
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    You can be angry, it's called shouting
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    Tones and emphasis are different things, you can still say "I HATE you!". And verb conjugations/tenses are only necessary if you don't provide any indication of when an action took place or who carried it out. If you say "Yesterday I eat an apple" it is obvious you mean "ate". Lots of English sentences have grammatical rules which serve no purpose. Why is it "I am, you are", isn't the verb the same anyway?

    It is simultaneously more limited and more free than English - some things that are easy to say in Chinese are difficult to say in English, and vice versa. The sentence "If Walpole was the first prime minister of the UK, then what was Thatcher?" is really awkward in English, in Chinese it is more like "Thatcher what number prime minister?".
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    (Original post by sweeed)
    I've heard it has no tenses, plurals or conjugations... this might make it easier to learn but doesn't it make it a bit limited in terms of expression? Especially as it's a tonal language so you can't be anrgy like "I HATE you!" because it would mean a completely different thing.... !?
    All of those above are expressed depending on how you phrase the sentence (and your facial expressions ect..), there are probably more than 200 different ways to say "I hate you", and the expressions implied.
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    James gives a really good answer above.

    From the point of view of linguistics, all languages are equally expressive. Practically speaking though it really depends what you're talking about. For example, formal Chinese is notoriously concise and often beautiful Chinese prose can translate into clunky English. One thing I've noticed Chinese isn't very good at, though, is translating tediously long official names. In English we just term them into acronyms and have done with it, but it doesn't work so easily in Chinese. Often they'll end up just using the English acronym instead (BBC, NBA, etc.).

    Also, while Chinese lacks several grammatical devices that we have in English, they have other kinds that we don't - grammatical particles (le, guo), for example.
 
 
 
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