First week of ordinary classes has come to an end and suddenly I understand some Chinese. The way our studies work is that we have 4 types of classes; integrated, speaking, listening and life in china thats divided into 10/4/4/2 hours per week. We have different teachers in speaking, listening and integrated.
Integrated is basically grammar. The Chinese written language is split into two parts, pinyin (Ni Hao) and Hanzi (你好). We start with learning pinyin and then learn Hanzi. Pinyin is divided into 3 parts – initials, finals and tones. There are for example 4 tones (+ neutral) which means that a word can have 5 different meanings depending on how you pronounce it. We also need to learn how to pronounce the initials and finals. My Polish and Russian friends have it a lot easier as they already have all these in their native languages which I don’t. Every day we get 5 characters as homework and this week we’ve learnt how to introduce ourselves, ask what things are and different kinds of food, a lot more than I expected to learn in 5 days.
Speaking comes next and is exactly as it sounds: we focus only on pronouncing the words correct which is very difficult as many initials sound the same (z c s for example).
Finally we have listening which is us spending 2 hours trying to figure out what they say on a recording. For example they say an initial and we have to decide which one of 2-3 alternatives it is.
Life in China is the best class that we have 2 hours every Wednesday. We’ll for example learn how to drink tea, write calligraphy and a lot more interesting things.
All our teachers are very good and I’m having a blast. Jasio (bottom picture) showed me a place close to school where you could get a beer for 5元 (ish 7 SEK). We visited the same place this Friday with some other classmates and had lunch. They serve different lunches every day for 15元. Later that same day we went for pizza and it was one of the biggest pizzas I’ve ever seen.
I’ve also found out what my name means! My name is 王瑞峰 which is pronounced as Wang Ruifeng. Wang is a common Chinese last name, Rui means lucky and is included in the Chinese name for Sweden (Ruidian) and finally Feng means “of mountain-like appearance”. Still trying to learn how to write it though as 瑞 and 峰 are rather difficult to memorise.