I made a decision awhile ago that will no doubt frustrate the living hell out of me-I’ve decided to TRY and learn Mandarin.
Why? You ask. Well I work with a lot of Chinese people whose English ability ranges from very little to almost proficient and thought I might try and bridge the gap a bit. Plus-There is the whole “With China’s booming economy and immigration all over the world, it is the language of the future, yadda, yadda”..But you guys know about that stuff already!
Learning Chinese however is a monumental task and I honestly do not expect to be fluent anytime soon. There are thousands of characters and the whole ‘tonal’ aspect that make it very challenging for Westerners to learn. But if Dashan can do it, so can I!
Here are some phrases that I’ve learned so far-In Standard Mandarin, English and Pinyin:
你好吗 How are you?-nih hao ma?
我叫 My name is-wo jiào
对不起 I am sorry-duìbuqi
谢谢 Thank you-xièxiè
我很好 I am good-wo hěnhao
我爱你 I love you-wo ài ni
(Please note, I don’t have the right kind of keyboard to represent some of the tones) Mandarin phrases are actually fairly easy to learn, but sentences are another matter entirely. Anyways, , I’m also hoping to take a French brush-up course in the Fall, because I sort of fell out of practice. Being a born and bred Ottawan, French is obviously something I feel much more comfortable with and can usually speak and understand fairly well, but like many English-speaking Canadians, I get lazy and complacent and don’t practice enough to be as bilingual as I could be.
Its not ignorance or stupidity-Its just a matter of not being literally forced to speak it all the time. (Many Anglos are spoiled in that aspect!) Other issues with French, however, is that they make the classes as frickin’ BORING as possible, so the motivation to enrol is practically non-existent and some French people switch to English when you’re speaking to them. (Then they complain that not enough English people speak French! LOL)
But despite the challenges and politics, its better to find as many ways to communicate as possible, I think. Do you speak any other languages?