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We rest rest and go more fast fast

Since we have moved to China my English has definitely deteriorated. I won’t even mention my Dutch as that has been going down the tube for a long time (I found myself saying ‘helpte’ recently, which obviously only makes sense to those who speak Dutch and even then it may not).

I’m not sure if it has something to do with trying to make myself understood in English or if it is just because I am learning a new language which has a different structure (although sometimes it feels like it has none at all). Maybe it’s a combination of both. For example saying ‘more better’, instead of just saying it the correct way sometimes helps. In Chinese the adjective does not change, instead they add a word so for example faster is translated as ‘more fast’. The more Chinese I learn, the more I can hear it coming through when Chinese people speak English.

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The funny side of learning languages

This week I finished the first Mandarin language course book after just over 30 hours of classes. Two more and I will have completed the beginner level. So technically I should now be able to greet people (appropriately at different times of the day), introduce myself and others, buy cakes and clothes, order food (online doesn’t count apparently), take taxis, make appointments and book all kinds of tickets. Easier said than done…

Yes, I can introduce myself. Not that I do this everywhere I go but still, I can. Food. Well, I have been able to buy real beef (after asking) but have given up ordering ‘yi bei re kafei Americano’ in Starbucks just because it sounds so silly saying Americano after trying my best to speak Chinese. It just makes me feel weird. Buying clothes has not been much of a pastime, partly because shop assistants follow you around shops constantly (literally like a meter behind you) which really takes the fun out of browsing, however it may explain why the book devoted a whole chapter to this subject. As far as transport goes, I have managed to buy train tickets but the taxi driver can still only get left and right out of me, which has proven to be enough to get me home. Pointing also works in taxis but it is not advised in shops due to the previously mentioned overzealous shop assistants.

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