14 December 2011

Wǒ xuéxí Hànyǔ

"Learning a language, even a natural language, is more of an emotional decision than a practical one. It’s about belonging to a group."*
— Arika Okrent, author of “In the Land of Invented Languages”

To this day, I'm not entirely sure why I signed up for Mandarin classes. I am sure the trip to Singapore and the subsequent dream of an interesting life somewhere far away would have something to do with it. I figured that given current world affairs, if I ever decided to move to another country, Chinese would be the most practical new language to learn.

(And if I was wrong, at least I might make a buck teaching people who might also be wrong still.)

I did sign up for the class to meet people, too. So far, though I haven't had much of a conversation with anyone beyond,

"Nín guì xìng?" (Sir/Madam, what is your honorable surname?),
"Nǐ zuò shénmè gōngzuò?" (What do you do for a living?), and
"Nǐ jiā yǒu jǐ kǒu rén?" (How many people are in your family?).

I guess I'll see who sticks around for Basic 2.

It all comes down to wanting to feel like I'm getting somewhere with my life, especially now that the things I planned over the past two and a half years are now dust.

In the end, though, it might just something to keep me busy until I have something big and new and consuming to work toward, to belong to, again.

* strikethrough mine; quotation source