Wednesday, March 14, 2007

God Damn Chinese Is Hard

My classes are killing me. Well, not really, but I'm definitely feeling the pressure from all the work. Every week I have to memorize and learn 150 to 200 characters, so by the end of the 15 week semester, I'll have added say one or two thousand new characters, assuming some overlap. But I still cannot read a newspaper without using my dictionary every other sentence.

Compounding this difficulty is the fact that there are many words which are for literary use only. In English we have modes of speaking that are better suited for writing, and you can choose to sound literary and erudite or earthy and colloqial, but it's not like there are words which are exclusive to either style.

Then there's ancient Chinese. I'm not studying this, but a thousand years ago, they used the same characters, but the grammar was completely different, and some characters had different meanings.

I've studied this language for 2 years already, and I'm beginning to think it's going to take another year before I can read a newspaper, and maybe another year till I'm anything approaching fluent.

Why didn't I pick Spanish?

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