So…. I’m starting to take Mandarin classes here in Singapore. And boy do I have to tell you, it is friggin hard. Thank goodness for me I already speak Vietnamese. Both Mandarin and Vietnamese are tonal languages. Meaning the word “Bu” even though it only has two letters and one syllable, has 4 different ways to pronounce it.
There are a few reasons why Mandarin is so difficult. First of all, I don’t practice nearly enough. Since English is so prevalently spoken here, it’s a crutch that I rely heavily on. Bad Phil. Very bad Phil.
Secondly, most of the people I take my class with are from all different countries. It’s difficult to learn the language when the teacher says the word correctly once. Then everyone around you butchers it for the next two minutes. 😉
Finally, once a week is just not enough to learn in a classroom setting. I prefer a regimented setting where we meet two or three times a week. That would help me a lot more.
I’m going to try my best though. Learning a language is always helpful. Especially when so many people around you speak it as well.