I’ve been living in China for over five months now and I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t really learned much Chinese — umm, excuse me, the correct term is Mandarin. Chinese people call their language Chinese so I’m calling it that too.
My excuse isn’t that I hang-out with a bunch of other expats. No, I’m surrounded by Chinese people all the time. Chinese people with very limited English speaking skills. How do I get by? Well, I’ve learned some words in Chinese, combined with the few words that they know in English, plus pointing, and lots of Google translate. But, it’s getting to the point where that’s really not enough, and I refuse to continue to be one of those foreigners that doesn’t learn the language of the country that they’re living in!
The truth is I’m a bit scared to learn Chinese, actually I mainly fear that I won’t be able to learn it. It just sounds so foreign! But, I’ve been around it long enough and I cannot continue to keep relying on my Chinese liaison (oh, yeah, there’s a person that helps me communicate with the school, so she helps me get by too).
I’m making myself continue to study Chinese and this time to be diligent about it. I’m giving myself a thirty minute window, every day, to start with. I have the tools to do so, I’m signed up for a Coursera Chinese course, then I downloaded a bunch of Spotify playlists, plus I have a Chinese textbook, and, yeah, I’m surrounded by Chinese people. So, we’ll see how far I get in the next five months. I hope that I will be able to carry-on a simple conversation, or at the very least that I’ve quadrupled my vocabulary!
Quick list of the words that I know so far:
Hello: Nín hǎo
Good-morning: zǎoshang hǎo
I like: wǒ xǐhuān
Do you like: nǐ xǐhuān ma?
Thank you: xièxiè
Meal time: Chīfàn
Orange: Google translate doesn’t have the right transition for this!
Grapes: Google translate doesn’t have the right transition for this!
egg-noode soup: Jīdàn miàn tāng
I love you: Wǒ ài nǐ
Stupid: Google translate doesn’t have the right transition for this!
Oh my god: Google translate doesn’t have the right transition for this!
I don’t understand: kin Bù dǒng
yes: Google translate doesn’t have the right transition for this!
What is that: Zhè shì shénme
What is this: Zhè shì shénme
1—10: Yī, èr, sān, sì, wǔ, liù, qī, bā, jiǔ, shí
Yeah, I know, it’s not much so I gotta a long way to go…