Getting Back Into the Flow
My name's Emily Simpson and I'm currently sixteen years old. I moved to China with my family when I was one year old and went to Chinese kindergarten half the day to learn Chinese and mix with the Chinese people. We lived in China for seven years and I became quite fluent with my Chinese. Unfortunately, we left China and moved to Thailand (where I started learning Thai) and then we moved back to England (My home country) for four years. I haven't lived in China for seven years although I have been to Hong Kong and Beijing since that time. I am back to learning Chinese because I have forgotten so much and I need to get it back.I'm currently going to a Chinese run ballet school here in Canada and I want to be able to get my Chinese back to a level higher than just simple conversation. I also need to study Chinese to get credits for high school!
I'm excited to be apart of ChinesePod and I look forward to the progress I will make!
bababardwanFebruary 22, 2011, 06:18 AM
Hey Emily, this is so great you've joined the community here and thanks for sharing your story. It will be really interesting to hear both what you have retained as well as what memories of both language and culture are sparked by listening to the lessons and engaging with the community. Every level is catered for here and there is a placement test under tools which should give you some idea of where you are at now as well as give you an indication down the track of the progress you're making. 我很期待看看你的经验和进步。欢迎来到这里 ：） If you have any questions , don't hesitate to ask. 加油！
I'd like to help but I'm not too sure either as I type hanzi in the dictation exercises. There are some things you can try but I'm not sure which is best and at the moment I can only give general advice. Firstly, it is valid to type the tones as a number after each syllable...I'm just not sure if the dictation exercises will accept this or not. In the comments section of the lessons you can type type the tones that way and under your comments box there is a box you click on to convert the numbers to the tone symbols. Back to the dictation exercises, you could type the pinyin out elsewhere into a pinyiniser program on a website and try copying and pasting. You could also try downloading a pinyin input programme onto your computer. You could also do this for hanzi. Finally, there is a technical help section on this site that should go into more detail. Let me know if you get stuck and I'll see what I can sort out. Good luck :)
Here's a link for you:
displaying and typing characters are the bottom 2 topics there. I hope the answer is there. Otherwise you could contact live support on the right of that page, or send an email. Good luck :)
..or for future reference you can navigate there by scrolling to the bottom of the page, on the right under Help click on FAQ
pretzellogicFebruary 22, 2011, 07:44 AM
Hi Emily, your situation is what my daughters currently face. The youngest arrived in Beijing at 1 year old, and is also doing pretty well with her Chinese. I know my wife is concerned that at some point, we'll move back to the US, and our daughters will forget all their Chinese.
It sounds like your parents didn't learn Chinese while in China, or if they did, they didn't bother speaking Chinese with you at home, especially after you moved to Thailand or England, but is that the case?
Also, It sounds like you went to an international school while in China. Did you ever attend a Chinese school full day, where you had to learn characters as well?
My parents did actually learn Chinese while we were living in China. They went to Chinese University while we were there and we always spoke chinese around at home with them and with our chinese bao mu. During our time in China I was only between the ages of 1-7 and was still learning English. When we moved to England my parents worked with Chinese University students and we had an opportunity once a week to speak Chinese with them. In Thailand we didn't really have any opportunity there to speak but I continued to study Chinese once every couple of weeks (I'm trying to graduate from high school a year early so I have a lot of subjects to complete!).
We never went to International school while we were in China but went to Chinese school half the day and homeschooled the second half. We learnt reading, writing, speaking and listening. I also studied Chinese from books in England for the English GCSE exams.
We haven't lived in China for seven years and so during that time, although I have kept studying it on and off, I have not had the opportunity to speak Chinese day to day. It's very easy to forget different words and also learning a third language (Thai) made me forget Chinese.
I really hope I will be able to pick up my Chinese quickly. :) When moving back to a western country the only thing you can do is find some Chinese people and speak chinese with them often!
wow, good to know. It sounds like your parents tried everything that we were thinking of trying, and you still lost much of your Chinese. Sounds like there weren't that many Chinese neighborhoods in your part of England :-)
I'm sure that you'll do well with your Chinese, it's buried under all the English, but it should be in there somewhere :-)
zhenlijiangFebruary 22, 2011, 05:10 PM
Hi Emily, are your ballet classes conducted in Chinese? If so I'd love to hear a bit about how your teachers say things. In Japan I think most classes are a mix of French (the terminology), English (I think most teachers give you the count in English, not un deux trois ...) and Japanese. How do yours go? Do you have any plans to continue studying ballet or join a company in China after high school?
My ballet classes are often conducted in English/Russian/Chinese. It's a great mix! When they speak Chinese it's often just a personal thing because many of the students here in Canada (even the Chinese ones) don't speak Chinese. If the teacher can't explain something in English, they will say it in Chinese and I (and one other Chinese girl) try and translate. The terms in ballet though are all said in French like 'plie' 'tendu' etc.
I have hopes to join a professional ballet company but I can't join one in China because they don't allow foreigners to join their company. So, I have goals to join on in the States, Canada, or maybe Europe.
Ah I didn't realize foreigners can't join Chinese ballet companies.
If the teacher can't explain something in English, they will say it in Chinese and I (and one other Chinese girl) try and translate. That is really awesome. Just the kind of stuff I want to know about, and dream about being able to do someday!
pipoFebruary 24, 2011, 10:48 AM
Hi Emily and other ballet lovers,
I have seen a few modern chinese ballet shows that I can recommend to check out on youtube.
One piece called Upon Calligraphy danced by Guandong Modern Dance Company was magnificent.
Some more info on:
Beijing modern dance company