Mandarin at LingQ – Week 1
So how much progress have I made so far? I think it’s fair to say: rather more than I had expected!
At the outset, those Chinese characters do seem kind of…well…EXOTIC. But to my great delight, after just two or three lessons (from the Beginner 1 content here at LingQ) I could already start to recognize a couple of them coming up over and over again.
Maybe it actually IS possible to learn 5000 of these little dudes after all? I’m certainly planning to give it my best shot!
I’ve been listening to the downloaded mp3 files – but I can see that I’m going to have to do a lot more listening before I’ll be able to pick out more than the odd word. (I’m not sure whether to go on listening to the first tranche of recordings, or whether to move on to the newly LingQed stuff?)
Things I noticed while LingQing:
#1 Chinese seems to be very uninflected (great news from the learner’s point of view!)
Hence 是 (shi) = “to be, is, am, are”. Other verbs likewise.
#2 Sometimes the verb 是 seems to be omitted (a bit like in Arabic or Russian, perhaps?)
#3 There seems not to be any kind of definite article. There do, however, seem to be some rough equivalents for the indefinite article – several different words translated as “one”, “some”, etc.
#4 Verbs seem to be negated by 不 (bu)
#5 There is a particle 吗 (ma) which seems to function like a spoken question mark.
#6 There is a particle 的 (de) which mostly seems to have a kind of genitive function.
Hence 我 (wo) = “I,me”; but 我的 = “my”. (Very neat!)
So what can I say (i.e. write) in Chinese as of today?
Well, with the help of the Oxford Concise Eng-Mand, Mand-Eng dictionary, here goes:
Q: Steve 是 职业杀手 吗？
A: 是的！Steve 是 罪犯！
(Steve thinks I’m a jerk for writing stuff like this - but of course I’m only kidding! ;-D)
All in all I feel very satisfied. Considering I’ve only been doing this for a few days (I really was a total beginner in Chinese!) I already feel like I’m winning here. If I can keep this up, I may just learn to understand Chinese in the not-too-distant future. Awesome.