Chinese Progress

I’m understanding much more Chinese than I did at the beginning of August. Before coming to Taiwan, I was afraid that I hadn’t spoken Chinese in so long, it would never come back. But it really has. Remarkably, my Chinese has improved a lot, especially my listening comprehension. Sometimes the teachers will be discussing something rather PG-13 in the office, and are flustered when they realize I can understand them, too. My confidence in speaking, though, is something that I’m happiest about. I’ve ordered food, bought movie tickets, gone to doctors appointments, and re-booked train tickets all in Chinese. Being surrounded by Chinese has also made me appreciate the language linguistically, as well as better understand the barriers in learning EFL here. For example, very rarely in Chinese do words end with consonants–the ones that do end in “-n” or “-ng,” which are very soft sounds themselves. So, I now understand why my kids often drop the “-t” or “-s” at the end of words.

My Chinese reading and writing is still struggling a bit, what with only one 1.5 hours of Chinese class per week. Our class is great, though–our instructor, Lilian, is awesome and hilarious. She gives us the lowdown on Taiwanese slang as well; one of my favorites is 恐龍妹 (kong3 long2 mei4), which refers to an unattractive female, and literally translates to “dinosaur lady.” Or 丁字褲 (ding1 zi ku4), which means thong–can you guess why? Hint: take a closer look at the character

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