Learning Mandarin Pt. 1


I made it through finals, y’all. Now I’m back in home sweet Florida, enjoying the rain and humidity. I felt like hopping back into this blogging thing, so here we go.

I just finished my second semester of Chinese at college in NYC. I had a really awesome teacher, the same for both semesters, and I am going to try and take her class again next semester. My classes tend to be fairly small, somewhere around ten people, and we use the Integrated Chinese textbooks (which is awesome, cause they are cheap and can be resold to Amazon at the end of each semester).

We would go over vocabulary then go over grammar. This semester, we covered transportation, weather, food, directions, and clothing. Trust me when I say there is nothing more humbling than stumbling through a sentence in the middle of class just to say “this shirt is very pretty”.

For the transportation unit, we went over the different forms of transportation like 公共汽车, 出租车, 地铁 and how to use 坐 and 开 for driving and using the different modes. This unit was super rough, since we had to give directions using station and stops (路,站) and I would get wrapped up into what I was saying so much that it would take me 20 minutes to say four sentences.

The weather unit was much easier, just some vocab and basic grammar. We went over 会 as a future tense again, using 比 and 更 to compare weather, and using 又 and 再 for ‘again’. I really liked this chapter, but I don’t feel like I learned as much as I did in the other units.

Food was my favorite unit (this should come as no surprise). We covered lots of different foods like 酸辣汤, 糖醋鱼,豆腐,米饭,饺子 and others, as well as how to use 来,点, 给,and 要 to order food. The hardest part about this one was the vocab, for sure. There were some many new and complicated characters to learn and I would forget one stroke and then the whole thing would be wrong. While , I had it was challenging, I definitely had the most fun during this unit and learned the most, by far.

Directions was very similar to the transportation section, except it was focused more on location and less on method of getting to your destination. We covered the different directions like 北, 南, 东, 西, 前面,旁边, 右边, 左边 and more. I could not remember left from right to save my life, but the grammar was fairly self-explanatory.

Lastly, we also covered clothing. We pretty much skimmed the surface, since we could have had an entire semester on this one topic. I learned different clothing items like 衬衫, 裤子, 鞋 and the different colors like 颜色, 红色, 黑色, 白色 , and 黄色.

That pretty much covers everything. It was awesome learning more of this amazing language and I had a great time with the people in my class. I hope to keep my skills up over the summer so I don’t just fall back to square one in the fall. I’ve been using Duolingo to practice the characters, and for the most part the lessons are similar to what I learned in class.


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