Monday, 2 November 2009

Long time no post!

I'm still alive, for anyone who reads this blog and not my other(s)! I'm now in Taiwan on the Huayu (Mandarin) Enrichment Scholarship. I've been here over 2 months now and seem to be making some progress with the language etc. It's nice to be learning actively again and, of course, in a country where the language is (one of those) spoken on the street, you can see what you're learning all around you and use it almost immediately. That's a big plus. We're using a really practical textbook, Far East Everyday Chinese III (a level 5 book), which deals with lots of real life stuff. We also have a terrific teacher and I'm afraid of getting one of a lower standard next term as two of the lads who are also here (and who I taught in beginners' classes back in the UK 4 years ago!) say that their teacher is dreadful. Hope I don't get them next term....

When I eat alone at home I'm reading 'Teach Yourself Linguistics', which is helping me to get a good idea of some of the basic concepts in studying language as a 'science' rather than a real tool for communication. Very interesting and some of the stuff I've come across there is helping me getting a better grip of some of the grammatical terminology I'm getting confuddled by in language classes! I've also got my eye on a book on a linguistic grammar of Chinese. Sounds dreadful to most people, I fear, but I'm looking forward to it, once I'm through with this one.

I plan to go to the National Chengchi University bookshop after I leave here (using the wireless sservice at the Mandarin Training Center just now as we have no net connection at home) and get a beginners' Japanese text. I did learn Japanese for a year or so about a decade ago and have begun to revise the kana sets, but I don't remember very mmuch now and there are so many Japanese friends here, including one whose invited us to vist her once she goes back, so I want to have another go. Of course, the text is from Chinese to Japanese, but I can manage a beginners' level course OK.

Find out more about ex-pat life in Taiwan etc on my Made in Taiwan blog.


Rachel Cotterill said...

I did my degree in linguistics, happy to answer questions if you have any! I don't speak Chinese but I know a bit about the grammar... it's a fun language :)

neil.nachum said...

I admire your interest in languages. The best way to expand interest in foreign language is Esperanto. Otherwise the vast majority of English speakers will accept their monolinguilism. Please review my blog.
Additionally a large percent of Esperanto speakers are humane vegetarians. I am.