Tuesday, January 14, 2014

你好!我叫 Mark . . .

A new place in my personal geography of New York - the China Institute on East 65th Street, where I had my first intensive Chinese language lesson this morning. Our class has five people, none of us quite as complete beginners as we say (I know lots of Chinese characters from Japanese, for instance), but it's going to be a heroic slog. Well before the end of our three hours I was overwhelmed by the strange new set of consonants and vowels - the reason I've not been able to "get" the tones before, as some of the consonants seem polysyllabic, and many of the vowels diphthongs - which I lack the muscles to pronounce as well as the hearing practice to make out. But somehow by the end of class we were speaking simple sentences, like:
你好!我叫 Mark,是美国人。Hello! My name is Mark, I'm American. 

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