Hit a wall last week when I left a Chinese class I had just started. Instead of starting the course at the beginning, I’d jumped into the middle of the course; the pīnyīn was about my level, and I was anxious to start a real class. However, after a few classes, I knew I’d have to wait for the beginning of the next course in a month: aside from the introductory phrases and vocabulary, everything was in hànzi (Chinese characters). I couldn’t understand any of the exercises or explanations. I really like the class; it’s taught in Chinese, and I feel like it really pushes me and my abilities (and it’s 30¥–not even $5 USD–for an 1.5 hour lesson). However, for my sanity level, I needed to step back and wait to start the course on page one. Like a normal person.
This week, worked with my tutor to improve my reading skills. He suggested imputing the dialogue we’d been working on into a Word document. If you know pīnyīn, you can input hànzi, thereby typing in “real” Chinese. Excited is an understatement when I realized that I could teach myself how to read hànzi by typing it out on my laptop. And then, I realized I could read.
Typing is of course a far call from actually writing. However, for business purposes, typing is a far more easier and actually more useful skill to master. Below is my first hànzi piece, a dialogue about “Daily Necessities, Fruits.” Afterwards, albiet slowly and only because I was familiar with the dialogue, I was able to read the entire thing.
Reading Chinese: Like a boss
Another positive, yesterday I was out with an Australian friend visiting from Chengdu, who I hadn’t seen for two weeks. He noted that I’d improved a lot since the last time we’d met up. The most notable change however, is that I was really starting to recognize characters, even reading a few street signs in hànzi.
Cheers, here’s to technology, supportive friends and coworkers, and a step in a positive direction.
*Note: There still may be some glaring grammatical errors. One step at a time.
Daily Necessities, Fruits: Hànzi, Pīnyīn, English
这是什么？Zhè shì shénme? What is this?
这是书。那是什么东西？Zhè shì shū. This is a book. What is that thing?
那是水果。Nà shì shuǐguǒ. That is a fruit.
那是什么水果？Nà shì shénme shuǐguǒ? What fruit is that?
那是苹果。Nà shì pīngguǒ. That is an apple.
这是几支钢笔？Zhè shì jǐ zhī gāngbǐ? How many pens are there?
这是三支钢笔。Zhè shì sān zhī gāngbǐ. There are three pens.
你有没有词典？Nǐ yǒu měi yǒu cídiǎn? Do you have a dictionary?
我有词典。Wǒ yǒu cídiǎn. I have a dictionary.
你有几本词典？Nǐ yǒu jǐ běn cídiǎn? Do you have three dictionaries?
我有三本词典。Wǒ yǒu sān běn cídiǎn. I have three dictionaries.
这本词典是你的吗? Zhè běn cídiǎn shì nǐ de ma? These three dictionaries are yours?
是的，这本词典是我的。Shì de, zhè běn cídiǎn shì wǒ de. Yes, these three dictionaries are mine.