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Friday, March 25, 2011

Ching Chang Chong --- Chinese???

Monday the 21st: First Chinese lesson. What can I say? I sat for 2 solid hours (or maybe even a little longer) with my Chinese tutor Jessie and was overwhelmed by this whole language. Yes, I knew beforehand it would be a big ‘task’… But, realizing how complex, how extensive and how ‘huge’ the Chinese language is, really made me feel… lost, swamped and blown away by it all.

As ever, I wanted to be sitting there, speaking fluently within a few hours of sitting with Jessie… If I was learning Spanish, Italian, German, French… this would have been a healthy approach towards the language lesson. It would almost be… do-able… At least with these languages you can read the letters; the alphabet is the same and there are many similarities to English.

But, on Monday, I sat and realized that Chinese basically like becoming a 4-year-old child again, who has to learn the sounds of A, B and C…. Most of us don’t even remember that this is how we all started out, when we first learnt to read and write… too young to remember and we all had a brain like sponge; we absorbed everything effortlessly. But… now… I’m an adult and my brain is no longer a sponge… and my childlike approach to the world (that every kid has at the age of 4) when feeling to have no inhibitions and no worry in the world when it comes to making mistakes… isn’t as it used to be either… whaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!

So, back to basics: “Hello, my name is…” “I come from…” “How are you? I am fine!”

Pronouncing sounds, learning tones and first of all… Learning Chinese in the normal alphabet, before taking it a step further and learning the 5000 symbols and characters! Wouw wouw wouw… I’ve realized that most Chinese words, when written in pinyin (our ABC alphabet) can differ, according to the 4 different tones (these tones are shown with different little ‘strokes’ above the vowels…) First, mastering the tones… if the tones are wrong, the meaning of the word changes and you’re still unable to communicate… which is the ultimate goal and main reason for learning a language in the first place!!!

If this is getting too complicated, then that’s probably because IT IS F***ing complicated! All I want is to read the symbols, write the beautiful writing and speak fluently!!hahah.. Is that too much to ask?

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