Tuesday, 7 April 2009

About the Language

I'll be honest, I have been much more active on the Internet than I was expecting to be. I thought I would be lucky to even be able to log onto twitter and blogger, maybe upload one video of the trip. I am not even two weeks in and I have uploaded two.
I think this is a good thing. It means it is more probable that I am going to be able to continue with this massive part of my life when I move to Nanjing in September.

Seeing as it is possible for me to update my experiences I thought I had better do so; as I have said before, more for me than for you.

Language lessons have been exactly what I needed: a good kick up the arse. For too long I have been plodding along in Chinese language and having some first year students (I am in my second year) having better oral skills than me has been a little disheartening but just what I needed. It has rekindled my enthusiasm for speaking foreign languages, which can only be a good thing.

(Reading through this again I think I may have been harsh on myself saying that I had been 'plodding' along, I haven't. I think I had almost lost my way in terms of motivation.)

I have started being more proactive already, bought a blank books and have started a 'Sign Diary' where I am trying to document the signs that I don't understand, whether it be the whole sign or a specific character and it's context. I plan to jot down and learn about three or four a day and in this way increase my vocab. I would love to take credit for this idea, but I stole it off my friend who has been living here for about a year.

Today was a positive day for me in terms of my confidence in Chinese. I, for the first time in a while, had that contempt feeling and rush of being understood in a foreign language. It seems kind of silly, I have been speaking Chinese for nearly a year and a half and have been using it here for over a week, but today it just hit me that the sounds I was making were being relayed into another persons brain and being understood and in turn the sounds they were making were entering my brain and being transfered into meaning. I haven't felt that since I was about 15, so it was nice. Those of you who have learnt a language may know what I am talking about.
When you are in a classroom there is a certain amount of scepticism towards the sounds and the arrangement of letters you are being told to speak write. It isn't really until you take these practices into the real world that you realise that these sounds you have memorised and the grammar you have drilled are actually words, feelings and language. This is why I love languages, I believe no other academic discipline can reap such visible and immediate rewards in terms of that moment when euphoria hits you when you understand and can be understood.

Through this most are some more images from when me and Tash went to the summer palace. It is weird putting someones name here and not linking them... I forget most people don't have much on the Internet past a Facebook.


grapefruitgeorgie said...

you're moving to nanjing?!
is it for forever???

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean about the languages thing, Jazza. I've been learning French since kindergarten, and yesterday I was on omegle.com and happened across someone from France and we had a nice long conversation in French. They actually thought French was my first language, which was a really rewarding feeling because I've always felt I had horrible grammar. ^_^

Glad you're having a great time in China and hope to hear more about your experience when you update next.

Candice Chin said...

I'm glad you enjoyed China! I personally have never been to China before despite being of Chinese decent. Disgraceful, I know! Furthermore, I find languages challenging and so knowing you were able to communicate during your stay in China makes me envious of you.

xx Candice

ps. I luv the things you have to say ;)
Keep up the good work!