September 12, 2006

Chinese Class

Well, after a rough start, I think I'm getting the hang of my Chinese class as far as what she wants from us and how I'm supposed to learn it. I was frustrated greatly because what she wanted from us (e.g. what was on the quiz) was not what she said she wanted from us (e.g. what she told us would be on the quiz that was not actually on the quiz). Needless to say, I did remarkably poor on the quiz, managing to get 9 out of 30 points. The good news is that I was perfect on all the listening comprehension and I successfully wrote out the year "1984." The rest--yeah, not so much. In addition, about half the class is either native Chinese speakers or people who have taken Chinese before. There are very few people like me in the class just starting out. In addition, a lot of the class sits next to a Chinese speaker and therefore gets a running translation and explanation. Whereas me--I sit next to a young lad who, bless his heart, only got 5 out of 30 on the quiz. At any rate, our teacher moves really quickly and believes that everyone is keeping up because the Chinese speakers keep hurrying her up. Which is not helpful. Also, her handwriting is sloppy, which when you're looking at Chinese characters, is also not helpful. However, I think I have figured out how to approach this, and I was even able to create a sentence yesterday, saying, "Wo bu shi lao shi" which means "I am not a teacher." Yeah, no kidding.

I do find myself trying to impose grammar and vocabulary from other languages onto Chinese. The "no article" thing is throwing me, just as it throws a native Chinese speaker trying to learn English. The sentence above is literally translated "I no am teacher." I, of course, want to throw an "a" in there, as in "I am not a teacher." But ho ho, I'm not silly enough to think it in English! No! I very nearly said, "Wo bu shi ein lao shi." Ein being, of course, the German word for "a." Luckily I stopped myself in time.

Posted by Shelby at September 12, 2006 10:34 PM
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