2 things led up to my first lesson:
I’ve been studying A LOT all hols, and I’ve also been following the exploits of Benni in Taiwan.
And yesterday, I had my first lesson of the year, on Skype, with my teacher XuNi from Xi’an.
I didn’t write my usual story before my lesson that I usually read to my teacher … No, this time my preparation was just thinking about things to say. Obviously I tried to practise talking (see, no hear, my previous posts 🙁 ).
I took a bit of advice from Benni .. I made myself just talk! I talked slowly, very slowly and XuNi was both patient and helpful. She was helpful because she asked me questions that made me think of things to say (note to self: write a list of questions.) And of course she corrected my sentences. I was thrilled because I understood her corrections when she said them.
Here is an excerpt from the lesson .. talking about a guest having to stay in a tent in the back yard because our house is too small!
Xu Ni on Skype
practising my chinese characters
I am trying to get a little bit ahead in my text book before I start my lessons again with XuNi. I love her lessons, but they are very challenging. I think it might be easier if I am a little ahead. Not only do I have to be able to read the characters (and it is easier to remember them if I can write them), but I need to be able to use the words and put them into sentences. I also have to be able to hear them when XuNi speaks to me. Naturally, that’s what learning a language is all about.
For my recent trip to France, I learnt a little French. I was so surprised when after learning a word or phrase, I could then recognise it when I heard it spoken. It is not like that in Chinese. It takes a lot longer to be able to recognise the new words. But it does happen!! and I am getting a lot better.
This photo is this morning’s effort at learning a list of new words. I copy them, and then cover up my writing and try to write it again, and again, always from memory, only peeking when I have to, and going back over and over them. I listen to the new words, and am happy when I can write down what I hear … quickly.
This is where I need XuNi. I have to speak these words too. I have to speak them quickly, and hear them instantly. I should be able to understand the words without translating them into English!!!! Sometimes this happens. I think the first phrase I really understood like this was ‘wo bu zhi dao’: I don’t know!