Monday, November 30, 2009

Learning to speak Chinese

Yes, Chinese is a remarkably difficult language to learn.

I have not however attempted to formally learn Chinese at any point, but given that Mandarin is the principle language spoken in my home, it was innevitable that I would come to grips with it to some degree.

I am at a point now where I understand many words that I over-hear in conversations, and in some cases I can understand the complete gist of the conversation. I also have many Chinese patients and I even surprise myself sometimes as to the extent of what I understand, when they speak Manadrin in front of me.

But it still a remarkably difficult language, especially given that I don't "hear" many of the nuances of tone that is part and parcel of Chinese.

Just like many Chinese not being able to hear the letter "R", I too am tone deaf when it comes to many pronunciations in Chinese.

Recently I have been speaking more and more often to my son in Mandarin. This has been my playful way of practising my Chinese.

My son always corrects me, and laughs in the process.

Only yesterday he said: "Daddy, your Chinese is so funny.You have an English accent when you speak Chinese."

He would then try and help me to pronounce the word properly. He is such a cute little boy.


Anonymous said...

I would highly recommend the Rosetta stone language packs for your computer. I've found them extremely useful. I lived in China and while I was there only picked up the most common of words and sayings. I've been back in Ireland but am planning on returning to China to live, which meant learning Chinese properly this time. The Rosetta stone has helped enormously.

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Dan said...

I spent 6 months on a Chinese course. My teacher was excellent. But when I watched Taiwanese TV I realised I couldn't understand a word of it.

Japanese is an equally baffling language at times, but once I know a word it's easy to hear it in conversation.

What do you like/dislike most about Chinese women?