06
Aug
11

Language Scores (or wars)

I continue with my weekly language lessons, but don’t tend to speak much in the office context – there is enough miscommunication without adding the additional chaos that my poor Mandarin would throw into the mix. Then there are weeks where I have to cancel my lesson because of work commitments, etc, so I still feel that my progress is a bit snail like. It doesn’t help that I have taken up painting so some of the hours that I might have spent on language study have been re-allocated to a more enjoyable use of my free time!

Some language scores…

  • having a 5 minute conversation with the neighbour – and understanding about 90% of what she had to say…… + 10 points
  • accusing the taxi driver of ripping me off because I thought he had charged me 36 ¥ when he was actually making small talk about the weather being 36 degrees C….. – 15 points
  • managing to buy art supplies using only Mandarin & hand gestures….  + 10 points
  • having to resort to using my cellphone dictionary in the aforementioned art shop to look up the correct word for “pencil”, finding the correct word, using it, and having the shop assistant throw back at me – Ah! PENCIL!….. – 5 points
  • phoning my “Dining Secretary” from the side of the road to find out what had happened to our dinner reservation; getting hold of a non-English speaking operator and managing to communicate well enough for an sms confirmation to arrive a few minutes later…. + 20 points [I find trying to speak Mandarin over the phone incredibly stressful – probably because I can’t “speak with my hands” to assist my verbal stutterings!]
  • being able to correctly identify and type the Chinese bank account details that my husband has to enter for online payments – the form is in English, but the recipient names and bank account details have to be in Chinese characters….. + 10 points
  • having a long conversation with a taxi-driver on the way to the SA consulate – discussing the difference between Westerners and Chinese…. + 10 points
  • being worried that I might have agreed with things that he said that I would have very different opinions about if the discussion took place in English…. – 15 points
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2 Responses to “Language Scores (or wars)”


  1. August 7, 2011 at 22:58

    I admire your courage and sense of adventure in tackling your endeavors in China! Love the way you’ve “graded” yourself for your use and understanding of the language… but I would give you 100 points just for trying! You go!


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