Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Studying Chinese in Taiwan

I had been enrolled at the Taiwan National University (國立臺灣大), but I needed a language course. I’ve had my language courses at the Mandarin Training Center (國語教學中心), which is part of Taiwan Normal University or Shida (國立臺灣師範大) [I looked up the correct traditional Chinese characters (繁体字), as I usually use the so called simplified characters because of the easier access by computer (简体字)].

I started out at the old Mandarin Training Center, which was located next to Shida (師大) in a small lane off Hoping East Road (和平东路). The center later moved to a big building nearby on Hoping East Road (和平东路).

I looks like the old center and it is the old center

Shortly after we moved to the new center - it had
air con though

I started learning the system of the phonetic symbols or Zhuyin Fuhao (注音符), perhaps better known as Bopomofo. The phonetic symbols had been in use since the 1911 revolution. They quite useful as I’m going to explain. You learn the Chinese sounds without looking at roman letters – if you don’t know Chinese, you will be very much mistaken about how to pronounce xin (), qing () or e ().

This is the book to start with - an
elementary school book 

Here you can see, that the phonetic symbols are used 
like the Japanese furigana - at the side of 
the Chinese characters, which is 
very convenient (方便), if you don't know 
the exact pronounciation.

This is also one of my books that I used to study 
with - Stories of 300 characters - these books  
had been published by the Mandarin Daily (国语日报), 
which uses characters and phonetic symbols. There 
also is a language center there to study Chinese.

This is a page of one of the books. 

Later I endulged in the luxury to read 
Tang poetry (唐诗三百首).

There has always been Jasmine tea 
(茉莉花茶 or 香片) 
to quench your thirst

 And here's the teacher, I owe the most. 
Mrs. Yang never tired to correct mistakes. 
Thank you very much, teacher.

And here's the very much valued farewell note 
by Mrs. Yang - well it's nearly 40 years ago!

So, what did I learn? Chinese is a life time challenge. It never gets boring. If I should give some advice - don't hesitate, just start and keep going.

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