November 12, 2012
Seems like there must be lots of native English speakers around here who could benefit from an understanding of Mandarin. Its the fastest growing language in the lower mainland. I feel a bit isolated in my ambition to learn and would like to to share the journey. I know that lots of repetition is necessary and practise is essential. I've also noticed that most Mandarin speakers are more concerned with learning English and when speaking Mandarin they talk too fast for me to understand anything at all. I find the language very interesting and quite beautiful when spoken correctly. My goal is to be able to have conversations with ordinary people when I am in China. The fact that the task is difficult adds to the level of interest - its quite a challenge. But its not impossible, is it?
I am able to say simple things like ordering food, buying something, talking about the weather, etc. My vocabulary is probably somewhere between 500 - 1,000 words. Unfortunately I don't listen very effectively and I seldom get what people are saying even if I do know the words. My pronunciation of pinyin is not too bad because I've traveled in China a lot and needed to tell people where i wanted to go and have them actually understand what I said. As far as character recognition goes - I don't know much at all. The shapes of hanzi just don't to stick in my mind. So I can't read or write. I do a bit better in the area of memorizing songs.
I am originally from England and I have taught the English language to many people over many years. My accent is standard Canadian. I also speak passable French and atrocious Spanish.
I love to visit China and have been trying for years to learn Mandarin. My progress has been slow. I am a teacher in Surrey and a School trustee in Delta, where I live.