Capn's Blog

Friday, March 10, 2006

"Are we there yet?" - I want to speak Chinese so bad.

I'm so sick of not being able to speak Chinese!!!

I started learning for a while way back in 1991 but didn't keep going. I seriously started again last year at University, and I'm continuing this year.

My marks at school last year were good, but I'm feeling very very frustrated at not being able to use the language. It's all very well to know a lot of characters (>1000 now), but without the ability to listen and speak to even the most basic of sentences, it's useless. To understand, it has to be slow and simple, or I just don't understand.

When people ask me why I don't practise with my wife, I usually point them to here:

And as you can see from that, we have never made a real effort to communicate together in Chinese before.

Finally my sense of frustration, knowledge of basic Chinese and my desire to learn has reached the point where it's more than the reasons we didn't talk with Chinese before.

I have a plan. The plan is that two nights every week, after our boys go to sleep we will only talk in Chinese. If it's necessary to say something in English (because I don't know the Chinese), she will tell me the Chinese for it and I have to repeat it.

I'm hoping that forcing the conversation to be in Chinese is a big help for both my listening and speaking ability.

We both did this together on Wednesday night - for the whole night, we only used Chinese. And actually, it went a lot better than either of us expected. It gives me hope that this plan can work, if we continue to do it.

We will do it again tonight, and I hope that each night, my ability grows a little more.

It's hard work and I feel a little scared, but I have a lot of desire.

Wish me luck!


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