Our 2 hour classes are primarily spent in discussion based loosely on a textbook. We learn a new key phrase or topic - like introducing people or giving directions - and a
|Brett, conducting his speech in class.|
If there's time, we do 2 or 3 grammatical structures, and for about the last half hour we learn new characters. Often she includes a few ways that character is used, or adds another character to show it in context. She's quite a good teacher.
Homework has two parts. First, sentences that she's spelled in pinying and we have to write in characters - which is harder than it sounds, when there are a half-dozen characters all spelled the same in pinying. Second, she'll list the new sentence structures and we have to write out a given number of sentences that fit it - using characters we've learned, and pinying.
Sound confusing? It all makes sense at the time, but days later I can only remember 3 of the 15 characters we learned. That's when I want to just chuck it all and stumble around using only English. Will I NEVER be able to communicate in Chinese?
We had a test recently, and she corrected the tests, but there's no grade given. No pressure, except that learning this is actually a life-skill here - a bigger deal than a grade! I did better than I expected, but still had a lot of holes in the character-recall section.
|Part of my actual test. I don't recognize my handwriting yet.|
Should I just stop? Quit the madness? But then I remember my lofty goals:
1. I want to learn calligraphy. I've wanted to since I was a teenager. Now's my chance. Learn the language, then the art.
2. Read the I-Ching in Chinese. Even my Chinese friends say it is hard to understand.
Regardless of how long we live here, I must persevere, no matter how painful!