Entry 5: Read the newspaper... maybe one day!

Trip Start Mar 18, 2010
Trip End Aug 24, 2010

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Flag of China  , Jiangsu,
Monday, April 19, 2010

Element analysed: The Chinese advertisements and notices (language)


我的 汉语 现在 比 3月 很好。但 说 比 读 很 容易。。。 着 是 眼为 读 中国 的 广告 很 难。

My spoken Chinese is getting better every weeks, at least I think, but reading is still difficult, because the Chinese writting system is completly different from our latin letters, so memorizing all those "strokes" needs quite long studying hours. Moreover, one character, alone, means something, but along with another, the meaning can be completly different. Even if I can read a few sentences and also write some, reading the advertisements, the notices or the newspapers, for example, is still almost impossible for me at this moment. Obviously I can understand few words, or even an easy sentence or two, but understanding the whole message is quite hard.

In result to my difficulty to read, I must be carefull when I take the bus by my own, so I make sure I can recognize the name of the places I am going to. If the characters are harder to memorize, I write them on a piece of paper. However, by knowing the context and by being able to read some parts of the sentences, I can often find out the general meaning of the main indications. Also, the ones that are everywhere, I succeded in memorizing them as I could see them many times, almost everyday. For the part of the restaurants, for the few times I went to eat out alone (most of the time I go with some teachers), I just tried! Sometimes, it is better to don't know! And by trying you can make wonderfull, and delicious, discoveries. Moreover, in order to improve my reading skills, I bought myself a kids's book which is written in both characters and pinyin. That way, I will be able to make links between the two ways of writting and, maybe, next time, I will buy one written only in symbols... why not try? In addition to that, every times I look up a word in the dictionary, I write it down in my notebook; in pinyin (so I can remember easily how to prononce it), but also in characters. In sum, I hope that by studying carefully my words, sentences and dialogues written both in pinyin and characters, or only in characters, everyday, I will be able to read more in a few weeks time. And why not even be able to read the advertisement posters by myself...

Those pictures are examples of advertisements written in Chinese charaters. Some I can now read, others I can't. Hopefully I will be able to read more when I'll leave.
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Julian Zhao on

Hi, Emily,

Another interesting travel blog. Congrats! I can tell that your interest in learning Chinese has become stronger as you are getting used to your life in China. Writing down new words in the notebook, getting an illustrated reader for young children and going out alone on linguistic adventures - all these are wonderful learning methods. No wonder you are learning so fast. If you keep on working hard and being innovative, I'm sure one day you will have great ease and comfort in reading Chinese writings. Take care and talk to you soon.


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