Sunday, August 29, 2010

Reasons to learn Chinese

(you should study Chinese)

I know this is completely random, but I figured now, before classes start, would be as good a time as any to try to convince you to add Chinese to your schedule. I'm not sure if Chinese is full yet or not, but you could always just go to Chinese and add it when someone drops it out of fear, because they will ;)

1. It's pretty impressive to be able to talk to Chinese people in Chinese, even just a little.
2. The grammar is SUPER simple, I kid you not. Always put time first because it's most important.. "I'm having dinner tonight" would be written "tonight I am having dinner"
3. There are no tenses or genders or any of that nonsense, it's very pictorial.
4. Questions are grammatically simple. "You are a dad" turns into "Are you a dad?" simply by adding a question word ("ma") on the end of the original statement... So your sentence would literally translate to- "You are dad 'ma'?" This works with pretty much every question.
5. You do have to spell things correctly in pinyin form- 你好 is ni hao. But this is just a way to spell things out in letters so they can be sounded out, there are no spelling tricks.
6. You will be incredible memorization skills after you take it. I promise you that.
7. It sounds really cool when you start speaking in dialogues and it looks really cool once you start writing short responses from memory.
8. You'll occasionally be able to tell when someone's tattoo is incomplete or grammatically incorrect, even if they have no idea. Or if it's just plain embarrassing and ridiculous.
9. Chinese professors are generally pretty awesome.
10. It's a very sing-songy beautiful language with the intonations.
11. Around 20% of the world speaks various dialects of it. I'd recommend simplified Mandarin if you're going to learn Chinese. Cantonese seems to be the other big dialect.
12. Awesome people take Chinese; the longer you take it the more awesome people you will meet!
13. Time is also simple. Put it in order from biggest to smallest unit- year, month, day, part of day...
14. Once you know your numbers you know your months!- month one, month two, month three... For instance February (my birthday) is the second month. 二 means two. 月 means moon (month). So February is 二月. It's just that simple!
15. Once you know your numbers you also know your days of the week- day one, day two, day three.
16. Numbers are simple-ish 一二三四五六七八九十 See how 一 has 1 line, has 2 lines, 三 has 3 lines, 四 looks like a mustache in a box, 五 kind of looks like and upside down 5 if you squint, and 七 looks like an upside down 7? Ah yes, not so bad. 十 is 10 and if you want to make a number like 12 it is simply a matter of combining the two- 十二 Easier than Spanish I tell you!!
17. If you are a visual/audio learner, like me, then this is the perfect language for you!
18. Periods look cool, they look like a tiny soap bubble- 。

People often ask me why I took 2 semesters of Chinese in the first place. They wonder if I have some secret interest in the culture or if I am planning a trip there. Nope! I just didn't want to take Spanish anymore and I needed a foreign language for college applications :-) I still have no plans of traveling to Chinese or putting the language to use, but I'm still glad I took it.

Chinese is mostly just time consuming memorization and it's hard to catch back up if at any point you start slacking, so if you are taking it make sure you have the motivation/time to really dedicate yourself to it.

Hope move-in is going well for everyone! The back of my dad's truck is filling up and I am almost done. Tomorrow is the big day! If there isn't room for my bike I will just ride across the entire state of Wisconsin (and part of Minnesota) alongside my parent's truck on the highway. Just kidding!.... although I did just buy that helmet, maybe we could rig something with a water skiing rope? ;-) ha.


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