FOR £35 I obtained the best budget book+CDs language course I have encountered in all my years of linguistic dabbling. And best of all, she teaches characters along with the pinyin Europeanized text, so I'm writing Chinese right from the word go (去).
The author, Liz Scurfield, has 40 years' experieince teaching Chinese and is full of the kind of tips a westerner, who's slogged away at the language would be full of, but a native speaker who learned Chinese from the cradle would have a hard time explaining. E.g. to get the high rising tone, just raise your eyebrows as you speak. Works every time.
So I'm now very happy. Fun without drugs. Well... with fewer drugs, if the truth be told.
But hey, I'm au fait with Chinese computer imput already.
The following is my efforts at replicating lesson one's dialogue into simplified characters. I tapped it all in myself, from scratch, without highlighting and lifting texts from elsewhere, as I was limited to doing in Japanese. (I've not the faintest idea how the Japanese manage to input their language...)
This is a dialogue between Mr Li 李先生 and Mr Wang, 王先生. Wang means King, and it's the same motif inside the box which means "kingdom" 囯。Isn't that funky. There's plenty of rhyme and reason behind Chinese (especially rhyme).
李：王先生你好？ How are you Mr Wang?
王：李先生你好？ How are you Mr Li?
李：请坐。 Do sit down.
王：谢谢。 Many thanks.
李：请喝咖啡。 Do have some coffee.
王：谢谢，我不喝咖啡。 Thank you. I don't drink coffee.
李：那么中国茶行不行？ Well would Chinese tea be OK with you?
王：行谢谢你。我很喜欢喝中国茶。Yes thank you. I'm exceedingly fond of China tea.
If I can't get into that course in Germany I wanted to do, and provided I sell over ten million books (you need an eight-figure bank account to pay UK tuition fees, thanks to our kindly Tory government). I could opt instead to get a double first in Chinese and Japanese from Cambridge or Oxford. This could well cost me £30,000 in tuition fees alone (as opposed to about £3000 in Germany.) Cambridge only allow study of two Oriental tongues if you can demonstrate a high level of competency in at least one when you apply. I am nothing if not ambitious, so if I want to do this, I shall. The great thing about Oxbridge uni courses is you get to read loads and loads of lovely literary and historical texts. Unlike the more modern degree where you spend all day in a language lab pretending to give a presentation on Honda cars...
...If me and ambitious seem as congruous as Pope and Buddhist, by the way, then you certainly don't know me! You only know my depressed self. And all too many people ~ even some fairly close friends, unfortunately fall into that category ...
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