Lingomi’s Reading List normally comments on Chinese and language-related articles around the web. After reading so many posts, I found myself wondering who was writing about Chinese on the web. So I decided to interview them, starting with Sara of Living a Dream in China.
Q: What’s your blog about? Why did you start writing a blog?
My blog is about my life in Guangzhou, China. About my Chinese language studies, my everyday life in the Middle Kingdom and my relationship with my Chinese boyfriend. I have been writing a blog in Finnish for years, but only last year decided to write in English too and launched the Living a Dream in China. The blog is my way to connect with a wider audience and share my experiences about living in this amazing country where everything seems to be different than back home in Finland.
Q: What’s the single hardest part of studying Chinese?
The part that needs the most effort is to learn to write Chinese characters by hand. Because I’m studying a Chinese language undergraduate degree, typing isn’t enough, we still need to write essays, homework and exam answers by hand.But the hardest part for me seems to be the grammar, atleast if you believe my latest HSK scores where my grammar score was quite embarrasing. In the beginning it may seem that there’s no grammar in Chinese but the deeper you go in the language, more grammar will come up.
Q: Do you have a goal you’re trying to reach? Tell us about it?
My goal with Chinese is to become fluent. Fluent for me means to be able to read Chinese novels, watch Chinese movies and communicate with Chinese people without too much effort. I will be satisfied when my Chinese becomes as good as my English, even though even my English is far from perfect. Exam wise I want to pass new HSK 6 with good points. At the moment I have passed old HSK level 5 and I’m trying the new HSK 5 next month.
I think it’s important to have short time goals as well as long term goals. It keeps you on the track and gives you satisfaction when you reach your goals.
Mandarin, even though dialects have more character.
Traditional or Simplified:
Pinyin or Characters:
Q: What advice would you give to a Chinese newbie?
I would like to say that if you relly want to learn Chinese, be patient and just hang in there. At some points it might feel like an impossible task, but it isn’t! Chinese people might not understand you in the beginning, but work with you pronunciation and tones and gradually you will notice that you can communicate with the native people.
Right in the beginning go to classes or hire a tutor. When you got the basics your can decide if you want to continue with this method or study by your self. But in the beginning it’s important to learn the pronunciation, tones, radicals and basic grammar. Having a teacher or a tutor to teach you and correct you is extremely valuable.
Q: What’s your favorite post on your blog?
This is a very hard question! The post that have been the most helpful to my self is doubtly Rate my Chinese! where I posted an audio clip of me reading Chinese. I got tons of feedback and advice how to improve my pronunciation. This post also has the most comments at the moment.
My readers’s favourite based on comment count is What is wrong with Western men in China?. When I published it I knew and hoped it would provoke a lot of discussion and it has. It’s a subject that people have lot to say about.
Q: How long have you been studying Chinese? Are you actively studying it?
I first studied Chinese in Finland from Autumn 2008 to the end of 2009. Then in the beginning of 2010 I moved to Guangzhou and studied Chinese as an exchange student at Guangzhou University. Finally this Autumn I started my Bachelor degree at Sun Yat-Sen University. So until now I have studied Chinese for more than three years. At the moment I’m studying very actively because Chinese language is my major at the university.