Mandarin is not an easy language whatsoever. It’s especially not an easy language to learn as you get older, but fortunately, I’ve been doing a pretty good job picking it up (if I do say so myself).
I ended up switching from my one language class into another one that is started to move a little quicker. My original class was starting to do a lot of review due to people on vacation, so I opted to move up to the next class that was starting a new book. It’s definitely a good fit for me, but man, I tell you, from the beginner beginner class to this beginner class, the lessons get more intense.
Before my teacher would explain things in English, which was very helpful to me as I could understand the meaning behind the Chinese. Now, my class is pretty much all in Chinese. The instructor will explain something…in Chinese. (Fortunately, on occasion, she will still use English).
My new class is basically building upon what we learned in the first class. First, we learned the basics and now we are learning different ways to say something along with new vocabulary to make more complex sentences (like using the words “just now”, “because”, “but”, etc.).
I also opted to take a one-on-one tutoring class once a week (so I get my small group class for an hour twice a week and one-on-one for an hour once a week). I decided to do this so I could really practice my language skills. Sometimes I feel like I just want to talk more in order to improve my language skills. My tutoring session is also helping me get caught up in my new class since I didn’t finish my previous book.
I Got It…Or Not
Just when I think my language skills are improving, I hit a roadblock. I can conserve so well…with myself! It’s just putting it to use with someone else that sometimes proves to be a challenge. There are words I want to use but I don’t know them in Chinese yet, so it takes me a bit of time to rearrange what I want to say using the words I do know. Kudos to anyone attempting to speak a foreign language. I now especially know to speak slowly and with more basic words when speaking with someone attempting English.
Also, when we were in Mongolia, I was so tempted to use Mandarin (well, actually I did on accident a couple of times) because the Mongolians reminded me of Chinese but they obviously speak different languages. I bumped into a lady and said nihao to her and we both just laughed.
Real Life Examples
We learned words for shopping, and I didn’t think I would ever use them (who was I kidding?). I decided to stop in Gap one day and they just happened to be having a sale. Fortunately, I remembered some of my new words and was able to get help with finding my size and trying on clothes. Another worker tried talking to me in English, and I started talking back (apparently too fast…sometimes you just get excited to speak English again!).
I’m so proud of the moments when I understand what someone is asking me…and can converse back.
I was walking the pups around the neighborhood one day when a mom and her toddler stopped to say hi to the pups. She then asked (in Mandarin) how old they were, so I responded that they were eight. She then asked if they were both eight and I replied yes. #soproud
Another time I went out for a horseback riding lesson and my instructor (who is Chinese) started a conversation with me (in Chinese). I could hold my own!! I think I impressed him too. 🙂 #woohoo
TOTE: While some things may be challenging, keep thinking of those proud moments.