As I was out and about with a friend we were talking about where she might like to go for her next assignment. She said she would like to go where she can use her Mandarin skills. She’s been here for over a year and I give her credit. She has worked hard to learn Mandarin which is one of the most difficult languages and doesn’t want to waste the knowledge nor does she want to start over again with a new one.
This got me to thinking about learning languages and the French that I learned in Switzerland. I took Berlitz lessons and when they ran out I had a private tutor. My family will tell you that I never gave myself enough credit for how much I spoke. Based on my experiences in the month that I’ve been here I realize just how much I knew. EVERYTHING I want to say in Chinese I can easily say in French. Having been in the States for the last three years, I thought I forgot a good portion of my French. Faced with learning another language, I realize it’s not true. When I don’t hear English, whatever the language may be, French is what gets “turned on” in my brain. Hopefully in a year the Mandarin light bulb will turn on.
My lessons are coming along well and I adore my teacher. She is the first Berlitz teacher that actually teaches to my style of learning. She has me figured out and knows how to get the best out of me. I gave up mahjong because if I change my lesson time I have to change teachers. E, my teacher, gave me a Mandarin tongue twister today! I told her about a problem I had at the market last week with the numbers 4 and 10. She said it’s a common problem and that there was a TT for it. I’m so excited because I am the queen of tongue twisters! Granted this is a Mandarin one but I’ll master it. Ask me the next time you see me!
I’m also sitting up front with Ben. He doesn’t have to keep turning back to talk and when he speaks Chinese I can see his mouth. The differences in tones can be subtle and seeing him speak helps a lot. I showed him the 4, 10, 14, 40 TT. I said it for him, he laughed, and we sat at a red light and he helped me.
So I’m going to give lessons everything I’ve got, use Mandarin as often as possible, and not be shy about unleashing it on the public. If I want to get the most out of my time here I need to throw caution (and ego) to the wind and just dive in.
I started this post before I left for my lesson. Now that I’m back and my head hurts…can’t I just speak French? 🙂
4PM – 89°