So it’s been a week since returning to studying Mandarin. Compared to last semester a few things have changed. From the people who were in the previous semester and who are still in level 2 are about 8 including me. In level 1 there were 2 Korean girls and we presumed they were coming back, they did…. but skipped on to level 3. I’m thinking maybe they studied Mandarin during the summer and that is why they moved ahead. Then there is an older man doing level one again. Oh I don’t think I could learn the pronunciation of ‘bo, mo, fo, le’ for a whole month! One is enough!
During the week there have been dribs and drabs of new people, coming and going, trying out the different levels to see which one they are capable of. Some come and have very basic Chinese, then others come with a much higher level. However, for all students there is one problem….
This is why some people, who have a high level of Chinese, are seen in Level 1. Yes their Chinese is good and they can have a conversation, but when it comes to reading and writing Chinese, they have never studied this. In order to begin to learn the characters you would ideally need to start from the beginning and work upwards. This is what we did, fortunately I didn’t know any characters anyway so level 1 was perfect for me.
Now, in level 2, the character we learned from level 1 are now in our newest book. Thankfully we took the time to learn(most of these) so translating isn’t so difficult. There is one German lady who, during the beginning of the week was contemplating moving to level 1. Her oral Chinese is, I would say on my level, but she admitted that she didn’t know a lot of characters when we were in class. She decided to stick to level 2 and push on, learning the extra characters as she goes.
Someone that I work with has also joined our class, which was a big surprise to me! His Chinese is much better than mine, but he is in our level simply to learn the characters. See in level 3 there is no pinyin. From level 3 onwards the books contain all characters. So that is a big jump! He wants to study in a Chinese Uni but he needs to know characters. Thats why he is with us.
And unsurprisingly there are no other Irish people in my class, in fact today there were only 2 females in the class; myself and the German lady. So us women are very outnumbered!
So my first week was good; even on our first day we learnt something! Classes end the 26th of December, and in October we are going on a trip, presumably to jiuzhaigou! 九寨沟。 Although I was there before, I’ll definitely go back!
I can’t wait to find out what I will learn this semester!