Learning Mandarin: First Impressions

After giving up on Japanese, I’m into learning Mandarin this time. 🙂

Again, it was because I need to take more foreign language subjects but there are no more Korean classes. And I don’t want to continue Japanese anymore. Even if I want to, I don’t think I can survive the next level of Japanese. Anyway, I don’t really want to.

I didn’t self study before our classes started unlike Korean and Japanese (yes, I did some self-studying in Japanese, believe it or not!). Aside from the few Chinese characters I learned from my Hanja lessons and Kanji in my Japanese class, I have zero knowledge in Mandarin.

And, surprisingly, right from the start, I’m enjoying it!

First Impressions:

Pronunciation – It’s difficult! I’m just glad I know my IPA (by the way, we are only 2 from the Linguistics Department in our class, the rest were from different courses). But still, I’m struggling with most of them, especially the fricatives!

Tones – Surprisingly it was easy for me. Well, at least for words. I got a perfect score on our first quiz about tones. I like it. It’s like singing. However it gets more difficult when we started forming sentences. Too many things to think about all at the same time (word meaning, character, grammar, pronunciation, word order, tone), I have a tendency to disregard the tones.

Characters – I love them! I’m a visual learner, that’s why. While most of my classmates hated Kanji in our Japanese class, it was my saving grace. I like drawing when I was a kid. So I like drawing the characters. It also feels so nice writing them in the proper strokes. Looks so cool! I also get perfect scores on character writing quizzes. I also love how you can build words by combining them together, makes me understand more words.

Pinyin – I guess not until I mastered pronunciation and tones, I won’t enjoy the pinyin. It annoys me to have to write in pinyin, instead of the characters itself. But of course it will be 100x more difficult if we have to learn all the characters in one go, so we have no choice but to study using pinyin.

Grammar – Who said Chinese was difficult? I haven’t seen a grammar as easy as Mandarin. Oh well, I’m still starting and I might take this all back, but still it’s so easy! Having a language full of inflection as a native tongue, and studying Korean with lots of conjugation and honorifics, I am often surprised with the simplicity of Chinese grammar. I oftentimes feel uneasy that I don’t have to put anything ‘extra’ for honorifics. Like 你好吗? is you greet your friends, and that’s how you greet your teacher too? We can change 你 to 您 (somehow similar to 나 and 저), but, thinking in Korean, don’t we have to add something at the end to make it more polite? And simply adding 了 makes the sentence a past tense. That’s it? No conjugation? No affix? 앗싸!

I just started 2 months ago and I’m not sure if I’ll do well, but the fact that I’m enjoying it this much right from the start must be a good sign isn’t it? ^_^ I also want to do well in our class (For how pathetic will I look like if I also fail Chinese after failing Japanese!). It’s still definitely incomparable to my passion and love towards Korean, but at least I don’t hate it (like my Japanese, sorry!). ㅎㅎ

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4 thoughts on “Learning Mandarin: First Impressions

  1. Where are you studying? I’m currently enrolled at the Ateneo Confucius. Basic 2, Basic 3A, and Chinese Songs. We started with 3A kanina but apparently I was the only one registered for Chinese Songs, HAHAHA. Dissolved na more or less.

    • We need 12 units as cognates. We can take any SSP/language subjects. I don’t want to take SSP! :p I was supposed to continue Japanese, but I gave up after Hapon 10-11. Hehe. Chinese is fun. I am following your videos. I wish I can speak like you. Luckily my laoshi lent me the same book you are using. I can follow you better from now on. 🙂 Sayang naman yung Chinese songs class. 😦 By the way, I haven’t seen my professor this week re: TOPIK registration. I’ll meet her next week instead. 🙂

    • I clearly remember your question was WHY are you studying! I guess I was too sleepy last night. ㅋㅋㅋ I’m studying in UP. I still need 12 units of foreign lang. 🙂

  2. It’s good that you do well for the pronunciation cos I have many friends who have problems with that when they are learning Chinese. I hated Pinyin as well so I was never bothered with them when I was in school (but don’t learn that from me~ haha). Yeah~ and grammar is easy! One of the best things about Chinese!

    I think you should do well for Chinese since you enjoy what you are doing! 加油!Fighting! ^^

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