Since coming to a Spanish speaking country… I’ve been asking and re-asking myself ‘why did I choose to learn Mandarin?’. . . . . In comparison to Spanish, it is HARD!
Don’t get me wrong, I understand Mandarin is difficult, but It’s only when I begin to learn another language that it dawns on me how difficult Mandarin actually is, and how quickly I’ve been able to pick up Spanish.
In the past week and a bit since I have been here, I’ve picked up more Spanish than I have Mandarin in 3 months.
I’ve picked up the basic’s; how, when, for, with, why, because, how much… And some simple words like bread, cake, water etc.
I have really surprised myself. I imagined needing to spend a lot longer to study the language. Although this thought was due to the fact that I was studying Mandarin, one of the hardest in the world.
I’ve been (jokingly) saying to my boyfriend ‘I’m going to stay here and learn Spanish, you go back to China. I’ll meet you in a few months and then we can talk in Spanish.’ I’m sure in half a year I could hold a decent conversation.
Now I am barely capable of stringing two words together, but since arriving here, my listening has improved which makes me rather happy. Although I can’t understand, well pretty much anything, I hear the vocab mentioned above. I studied French a few years ago and some French words are quite similar to Spanish, so I can just guess them. Then, a lot are similar to the English variants so that helps a lot.
In comparison to Mandarin; nothing sounds like English, so every words needs to be learnt, meaning I can’t exactly guess what the word is. And the tones don’t help either…oh and stick in the characters for good measure too.
I’ve registered in a Chengdu University to study Mandarin which I’m excited about; I’ll feel like I’m doing something worthwhile, and not just teaching kids with super rich parents.
I do want to learn Mandarin; I like the idea that the grammar is quite simple, its more direct than English, for example ‘How old are you?’ is ‘Ni duo da le?’ Ni= You. Duo= How. Da=Big. Le= grammar function. So basically, its You How Big? I didn’t include the tones because unfortunately I can’t put them on this.
Another example is ‘What does this mean? is Zhe shi shenme yisi? Zhe shi= This. Shenme= What. Yisi= Meaning. So… ‘This what meaning?’
Not only this, but to me, in life now you need a second language. Imagine all the opportunities being lost because you can’t speak a certain language.
So at the moment, my head is being tormented with why oh why didn’t I learn Spanish, but sure saying that, I had my chance to learn French and I blew it so.
Oh well, live and learn.