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    Although I'd only vaguely consider studying it at university, I was wondering how non-native Chinese speakers sound to natives, and I would very much appreciate some of their opinions.

    Sometimes, listening Chinese people speak on the radio or TV, their English is quite poor. Even on the University of Peking's website the standard of English of some articles in appalling. I take it this is paralleled with Britons learning one of the Chinese languages?!

    Is this something that would eventually go away with time living in China/Taiwan/other Chinese-speaking place, or do you think there will always be a distinction between Chinese natives and those who have picked it up?
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    Usually foreigners speak pretty badly. Since Chinese is a tonal language correct pronouncing of words is essential otherwise you simply will not be understood at all and just laughed at.
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    Not necessarily. Like every other language, it depends how much effort you put into it. And a lot of Chinese speak Mandarin as a second language themselves, so the distinction of native-Chinese speaker and not is hard to make actually. Plus you have the different accents amongst native-Mandarin speakers (huge difference between south and north for example.)
    And some people are experts at picking up accents.
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    I've found that most Chinese people I speak to can understand the way I speak it without too much difficulty, however I imagine I have quite a strong accent. It will take a while but it's not impossible to be understood.
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    Obviously an Asian language is going to take much more time to master. However, within a LONG period of time living in a Mandarin-speaking enviroment, if you really make the effort to improve your Chinese, you will eventually speak at a near-native level. As with any other language.
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    I am told I sound like a white person or just beyond comprehension.
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    I have a slight accent and my tones are slightly wonky at times but my Mandarin is generally understood. I always find that I need to first listen to a native speaker speaking for my tones to be just right. But then again, I come from Asia and have been listening to this language all my life so it's bound to be different for me!
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    haha watch hanyuqiao! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSnR-...eature=related
    some of them speak impressive chinese
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    I'm half chinese and even I speak with a bit of an accent..
 
 
 
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