The Myth of Learning Chinese from Chinese Girlfriend

study in the classroom as opposed to bedroom

study in the classroom (not bedroom)

Many Chinese people had said to me that if i want to learn Chinese, the best way is to find a Chinese girlfriend. If that is so, then why is it that most of the guys here in China with a Chinese girlfriend or wife speak little or no Chinese? There are a number of reasons…

  1. It gives the girl a sense of security, as he is unable to communicate with the majority of the Chinese female population (thus more unlikely to cheat), and knowing that her bf 100% relies on her for everything and that she is in control of his daily affairs.
  2. Many Chinese girls see dating a foreign guy as a chance to further improve their English level, they couldn’t care less about teaching him Chinese!
  3. From the start, the girl’s English is much better than her boyfriend’s Chinese, so English is the natural choice for daily communication

In other words, there is little motivation for an English speaking Chinese girl to want her boyfriend to learn Chinese. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s in her best interests to NOT help him learn Chinese.

OK, so what about the scenario of learning a bit of Chinese, and then finding a non-English speaking Chinese girlfriend? What will happen is this: Your Chinese will become more native, but you’ll end up speaking like a Chinese girl! (you’ll always be squealing “aiya! aiya!” and “taoyan!”). You might learn some occasional vocab related to everyday things, but it won’t get you far unless every date with her turns into a Chinese lesson. What you really need is somebody who is willing to actually teach you Chinese, and this person probably isn’t your girlfriend!

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