I need some inconsistency

An amalgamation of content: the aim not to politicise, but exercise. I'll think aloud about politics, technology, current news, as well as being a gay boy and what that really entails.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Easy ride?

I think it could be quite easy to get seriously depressed whilst studying Chinese. I’ve taken on the monstrous language as an elective this semester and after just three weeks of study I already behind. Yesterday I spent the whole morning writing out Chinese characters in a vain attempt to drill some of them into my head. We have the quite-aptly-named drill classes for this as well, but somehow the skill in picking up benign symbols has eluded me. You know how, when looking at a little bit of Braille, you think to yourself, ‘how can those dots represent language’? This is like that, but in 3D. It’s not only letters, but the words are their own symbols. And you don’t just have to learn one form of writing the language, but two because not only are there the Chinese characters but also the pinyin (Romanized) phonetic transcription. Of course you have to learn the Roman version – after all, how would you look up a character in the dictionary?

I felt rather pleased with myself when I recognized a few characters in a passage the other day, and was able to translate ‘This is not a steamed bun, this is a steamed dumpling’ into pinyin. That was good for me.

My neighbour wrote it out in characters.


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