Monday, May 27, 2013

After a shockingly bad performance in my Chinese tutorial last Thursday, I've finally had time to hit the books again. 

And by "shockingly bad," I mean if it had been a quiz, I'd have gotten maybe 2 out of 10. Not for the vocabulary, because I did okay on that part. But the grammar — of which I've been assured China has none — I got almost completely wrong. "Choose a suitable word for each blank," where the two words are lao and jiu, two Chinese words for "old." Less than 50% right. "Read the following dialogue and answer true or false." Right at 50% right. "Answer the following blindingly easy questions about the dialogue." 100% wrong. (Okay, the instructions didn't say "blindingly easy." I interpolated that part.)

And of course, in the middle of a performance like that, the badness just gains momentum. By the end of it, I couldn't remember simple sentence structures. (Should it be jin tian xue zhe bu hao, or jin tian bu xue zhe hao? Or are both of those wrong?) I felt like Descartes after the evil demon but before the cogito.

One nice thing about studying Chinese. It makes me a lot more sympathetic to my struggling students in English class!

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