Meg vs. Mandarin, again.

Yesterday I started taking a beginning Chinese class. I’d forgotten how much better I liked my life without anyone saying “no, no, is zh not zh“. At least the prof doesn’t giggle when she says it.

She has the same frustrations as I do when trying to teach basics in a native language. I am completely baffled when my English students, here or in China, can’t identify a verb. It’s the word that’s doing something, how could I possibly make this more clear? I think my Chinese teacher feels the same way. There are four tones, except when there are five, how could I possibly make this more clear?

Our text seems to be well-organized, and I’m excited about having classmates on my level. But I still have such basic questions about Mandarin. For example, some Chinese nouns need zi on the end but it doesn’t have a meaning but you can’t leave it off. Or certain word order seems to change the tones (or I’m just saying ti wrong, which is probably just as likely) and I don’t know how that works. I think I really want to learn Chinese in a Westernly logical way.

(Please try to keep the ???? emails and comments to a minimum this time, ok?)

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0 Responses to Meg vs. Mandarin, again.

  1. John B says:

    I’ve always been told (and accepted) that the ‘zi’ at the end of a lot of nouns is probably there to disambiguate homophones, or at least that was its original purpose. Now it’s just part of the word, and it can’t be removed any more than you can decided to start saying “Manda” instead of “Mandarin.” 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    Zorro says:

  3. Pingback: Studying Chinese Alone? | Bill (??)

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