Taiwan and mandarin
My path took me to Taiwan! It is temporary, but it has been more than 3 months now. And, since i am here, why not learn mandarin? I grew up watching kung-fu movies, so I always wanted to learn. I know, most of those movies are actually in cantonese, but i felt mandarin is more useful and just as fun.
So, first of all, lets be clear. I decided to learn how to speak it, not reading or writing it. Having said this, where to start?
Now, exposing myself to the language in the streets allowed me to go over the first real barrier: the tones. It took a little while, but by (mostly) passive exposure the ear gets used to them. After that, the language itself is quite easy! The grammar is almost inexistent, so the only thing between you and actually learning to speak it is… Vocabulary. Of course you can’t just memorise translations, you need to understand what is the cultural reasoning behind the expression that you translate. And for that i need a resource that provides me with the translations as well as the literal translations, to get into the local minds, and not only imitate the sounds. I found that in a simple but uber helpful website:
It goes through the basic expressions, providing both sentences and the literal meanings you need to start thinking in mandarin, instead of just translating it.
You do, however, need to have some feeling of pinyin, or have a mandarin speaking partner to practice it with and correct you, otherwise you won’t speak the tones correctly. And it is, after all, a tonal language, so that is not ok. Also, this is chinese mandarin, not taiwanese. There are differences in common vocabulary. However, you can overcome this exposing yourself to the locals in taiwan, and putting what you learn into practice.
Thus, the site is becoming a nice piece of the process of learning mandarin, but only valuable if combined with actual exposure to the language, with natives.
Learning is fun!
My favourite from Asimov’s short stories.
it had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. they went out and happened to things.
Every time the TARDIS materializes in a new location, within the first nanosecond of landing it analyzes the its surroundings, calculates a 12-dimensional data map of everything within a thousand mile radius and determines which outer shell would blend in best with the environment. And then it disguises itself as a Police telephone box from 1963.
Amy having her TARDIS shock.
To express oneself honestly, not lying to oneself… to express myself honestly… that, my friend, is very hard to do.
"Here I am, as a human being. How can I express myself? Totally and completely."
Be unnaturally natural. Be naturally unnatural.
I don’t own a smartphone
It’s true. I gave my iPhone to my brother, using my old dumb phone instead. And I feel free.
Without making demands; without pushing for success - that’s when the most beneficial outcome will result.