Learning Mandarin

With the move to Hong Kong only 2 weeks away – and with Lorna fully on top of all the 10 page project plan for the move – I have turned to learning Mandarin (Putonghua).

Yes, I know that Chinese from Hong Kong typically speak Cantonese (totally different sound, similar characters), but Mandarin will be infinitely more useful in business with Chinese mainlanders. I haven’t set myself lofty goals of being able to read Chinese or being able to speak it fluently. I merely want to show some respect to those I will be working with that I’ve taken some time to learn about their culture.

As a first step, I purchased an App and I’ve set myself a target of learning 5 words or phrases every day. I started this morning. 5 words or phrases (Hello, Goodbye, My name is, Please and Thank You). The latter two being particularly important for an Englishman. I studied them in the bath this morning and thought I had them licked. Four hours later, I can only recall one of them – Ni hao. This won’t get me very far.

When did my brain stop working? When I was young, I would have remembered them with ease. Nancy would have learnt four times as many in two minutes.

I think this is going to be hard, so I’ve written it down so that I will be less inclined to give it up.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Melville on December 1, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    I know the feeling, one would think that as one gets older there would be more “pegs” to hang new things on, but it doesn’t seem to work that way. Isn’t ni hao “hello and ni hao ma “how are you”. The do say imagining a peson (attractive Chinese lady) and having a conversation with her. Trouble is with my lack of visualisation it does not work – but it might for you!

    Otherwise get Nancy to learn and then test you especially as the sounds are so crucial.


  2. Posted by Rosie on December 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    I get the same feeling when I read the Financial Stability Review.
    I’m feeling out of touch……what’s the move to Hong Kong all about?


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