Friday, November 04, 2011

Declaring war on Chinese

Have been somewhat stagnant on Chinese recently just ticking over a little, needed something to kick me off and set me on the path to conquer that last big hump (huge) mountain before I will consider myself fluent. Really, really seriously out of practice but everything is still there.

Anger will do I think, yes definitely. Take some negative (and somewhat unfair emotions and feelings, because after-all humans are by nature self-decievers). I am fed up with students who want to language exchange but go cold on you when they realise that is not just going to be a case of them teaching you nihao and they get almost all the time practicing English.

I am fed up with students who have taken years to realise that just studying in England and hanging around with Chinese people all the time isn't going to give them native English. They don't tend to tell you that they are going to back to China for good in a month and that this practice is their last desperate attempt to get better. So just when you thought you have found a good exchange partner, they bugger off.

I am fed up with being blanked or answered in English, when I try to talk to Chinese people now (no problem earlier stages in the process but now I just make them uncomfortable). Even when helping them in shops, two occaisions now, I help them understand what the staff said, they are very grateful, tell me my Mandarin is good (in broken English) and refuse to speak Chinese with me (thanks a lot, you can bloody understand me when I speak to you in Mandarin, just try speaking some Mandarin back to me you may be surprised, I am not just a talking monkey who has learned like a parrot).

I am fed up with the introduce me to your English friends etc. , but no way am I going to dilute your usefulness by introducing you to any of my Chinese friends attitude.

DISLAIMER none of this of course in any-way applies to some of the wonderful Chinese people I have met, just the rest of them...

I am doubly super fed with everybody who assumes I have sexual motives, I don't want to steal your women, I am happily married to an English girl, I have no Chinese wife, no Chinese girlfriend and to be honest even if I re-wound back to when I was single, Chinese girls are good at cute, and pretty but for me mostly too small and cute/pretty/attractive does not neccessarlily equate to sexy. Its a big world out there and every race / culture has beautiful women, learning Chinese to get a date is rather extreme.

I am now fed up with Chinese learners who live out there (for years), did a few semesters at college, have Chinese wives and girlfriends, actually are part Chinese and picked up some at home as kids etc. Being treated like they are the only ones who will every really get it. Blogging about the difficulties etc. Try doing it my way you wimps!

Not fashionable these days, but sometimes I get things done by injecting some negativity (I just do), this is not a Care Bear movie I don't need to be all fuzzy, smiley and positive all the time, sickly sweet, surrounding myself with people telling me they "believe in me" or scaring away all the "hard", "difficult" aspects for me. This last bit I am declaring war on, I don't care how hard or tough this next bit is, if I declare war on something, it is going down!

Ohh yeah apart from that feeling pretty good, loving learning Afrikaans and about to start a new language learning blog.


Shuo said...

Love your post! 加油,Chris!

Chris said...

Thank Shuo appreciate the support from a Chinese (Mexican ;))

Keith said...

I liked the post.

It would be nice to see a video of your ability now before you move up to fluency. It would be nice to know what you consider to be not-yet-fluent.

Though, I realize not many people do make videos.

So, I guess in a forthcoming post your going to tell us what you need to do to bring your Chinese up?

Confused Laowai said...

That's the way Chris! You're the only one that will get you there. I sometimes feel like you and just want to RAGE.

P.S. - Good luck on learning Afrikaans, it's an awesome language. Contact me if you want some help with it. I'm a native speaker. Proudly South African :)

Chris said...

@Keith, yes this long neglected blog will have occasional posts entirely focused on my Chinese journey, got another blog lined up purely for language learning.

I have some audio somewhere where I tried to record a conversation or two will see if I can dig it up.

Busy for the remainders of this year but don't expect to be significantly improved in a month or two, particularly as I am focusing a lot on Afrikaans right now so will get some conversation demonstrations and all sorts eventually.

Chris said...

@Confused Laowai, awesome, actually almost all my family on my Dads side live in South Africa and somewhere in the Murky past it is in my bloodline (Grandfather was born there). It is still unclear whether there is any descendency from the Dutch or French settlers though. I have no direct family exposure to the language.

My Afrikaans is poor, omdat ek het net twee maande Afrikanns geleer. Marr ek probeer elke dag 'n bietjie Afrikaans te leer.

Loving it. BTW I am a Drupal programmer (amongst other things) would be happy to trade some Afrikanns help for answering any Drupal questions you may have.

Steve said...

Came over to this blog in order to read the archive as I've decided to have a crack at Mandarin this month and am blogging it; delighted to see another post after all this time!

I'm an extremely anti-social language learner who wants to do it all from books and CDs and the Internet before talking to real native speakers (whom I of course want to dazzle with my self-acquired brilliance, etc, etc). This may be conceited of me, but although I can tolerate reading and listening to the entry-level chit-chat in the first chapters of textbooks ("Hello, my name is X, how do you do? Pleased to meet you!"), I wouldn't get any pleasure out of doing it in real life. I want to wait until I'm capable of saying something interesting and able to understand interesting stuff from the other chap.

How far off fluency do you think you are? Would it be possible to get over that last hump on your own, just immersing in video and audio and talking to yourself?

Chris said...

I will answer your question full with a post in the next week or so. However in brutal summary from my experience.

You can pretty much nail listening on your own.

You can get so far with talking but at some point you have to practice the hell out it.

Material will not make me fluent talking to people will, learning material is stilted and formulaic (read some aimed a teaching people English). You can function of it but you don't talk English like that with friends and colleagues and they don't talk Chinese like that.

Videos are good etc. but often stylised you won't impress sounding like a gangster, or 17th century Chinese warlord etc.

Greg said...

That's a lot of emotion - all the best in harnessing it effectively to take you to fluency.

> ek het net twee maande Afrikanns
> geleer. Marr ek probeer elke dag 'n
> bietjie Afrikaans te leer.

As jy alreeds so goed is, sal jy dit seker maklik vind!


Chris said...

@Greg Baie dankie, dis baie gaaf van you!

Rocket Chinese said...

Great post!

Grace said...

Interesting post, Chris...

I agree that we can't make it to another level without making a firm resolution.

Hope my blog could help you improve your Chinese in a way or two. You'll find free Chinese lessons and practice that I created for Chinese learners just like you.



Roland said...

Finally a student I can relate to. I feel so negative when someone talks smug about their mandarin that they studied at Yale, or shut off from students entirely because they're married to the real deal and prefer just to walk tall about it.

It's much nicer when you can just have a joke with some old folks or go bilingual with an ESL student.