I think the most inspirational thing I’ve seen recently was a video on Facebook with a guy comparing a lobsters life with the need to use adversity as the trigger for self improvement.
First off don’t worry, I’m not really facing adversity, just a feeling I could do better… but still I’ve decided to have a crack at a challenge I’ve seen all over the place at the minute… the 90 day challenge. For my 90 day challenge I’m going to focus on my Chinese and local Wenzhou dialect, trying to improve them as much as possible.
It’s not that my Chinese is that bad, for the time I’ve been learning (a little under two years) its reasonably ok. Back in April I passed the HSK 3 test with a score of 289 out of a possible 300, to be able to do this you have to be able to recognize and write 600+ words or phrases which works out to around 1500 Chinese characters (I think). After passing I eased my learning pace as it was an intense few months of study. But the thing is my reading and writing is better than my speaking, the hardest part of learning Chinese for me is the tones. The last few months when I changed jobs has really helped with my speaking as where I work now there are only two Chinese people that speak English, this means I’ve had no choice but to speak Chinese nearly all day everyday.
A few pictures of my study materials and my writing.
The other thing is my Wenzhou dialect 温州话, this definitely needs improvement as I’m no where near as good as with Mandarin Chinese. Its considerably harder to learn as its not a written language its purely spoken, anyone who tells you different is a fool. Wenzhou dialect unlike a lot of other dialects is on the whole completely different to Mandarin, the grammar and sentence structures are way different and it has a lot more tones. In World War two all the Chinese secret service officers were from Wenzhou because the Japanese weren’t able to learn it and over hear their plans. That being said sometimes it can be much easier than Mandarin! I think if I’m honest I actually enjoy speaking Wenzhou dialect more, to me it sounds more interesting and really stands out. It helps having a Wenzhounesse family, Wenzhou people love to speak their dialect and apart from when they are with people from outside of Wenzhou will just speak dialect. This means I’m hearing it all the time at home and I ask a lot of questions.
Now just to put the effort in and hopefully I will see good results. 加油！