This morning I reviewed my directions and numbers before using the Mandarin Cafe app. My notes from April were really helpful, and I decided to take photos of them in case I needed to refer to them in the afternoon when I picked up our professional development workshop leader from the airport (a day late!). When I originally learned shang, xia, zuo, you, qian, and hou (on, under, left, right, before, and after), we played Simon Says. They were difficult then, and reviewing them was once again a struggle. Left and right, zuo and you look similar when written in pinyin, but left has the uo sound and right ou. To keep them separate in my mind, I had to come up with mneumonics that probably only make sense to me. For instance, Zuo rhymes with Luo, one of my students. Luo and left both start with L, so zuo is left. You sounds a lot like English's "yo," so I imagine someone greeting someone, yo, yo, yo, while shaking their right hand.
Secondly, I reviewed my numbers, which I'm getting a lot faster at recalling. I watched Chinese Song for Kids: Kids Love Learning to Count 1-10 this Way!, a YouTube video so I can recall the numbers in a song format, a strategy that has been beneficial to me in the past while learning other languages. I also made sure that I was confident using Chinese hand signals for numbers, since 6-10 differ than what we are used to:
Image retrieved from: https://mr-sign.com/chinese-number-hand-signs/chinese-number-hand-signs-chinese-numbers/
I practiced reciting my phone number and my apartment number (ba ling san - ling means zero); eventually I'd like for them to roll off my tongue.
Both the Mandarin Cafe website and app continue to change, so I was unable to access all the material I had covered before the summer. Instead, I reviewed the dialogues from the last lesson and took one of their prepared tests. The sentence building sections I found difficult; I am more confident with free writes than properly sequencing someone else's sentence.
I tried to speak as much as possible with the driver who took me to the airport today. I asked his name, and found out how many people we were meant to pick up in addition to the workshop leader. I was so pleased that I reviewed my directions and numbers this morning, because they came in handy! I also didn't refer to the pictures I took once! I'm noticing that I'm now understanding the context of about 70% of my interactions, but a lot of meaning is still lost. My listening has become my strongest skill. I hope to use that in order to build up my speaking skills.
My directions "cheat sheets" (pictures)
“Chinese Number Hand Signs Chinese Numbers.” Mr. Sign, 2018, mr-sign.com/chinese-
“Chinese Song for Kids | Kids Love Learning to Count 1-10 This Way!” YouTube, Chinese
Buddy, 12 Oct. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejOXzbvsYK8.
Chu. “Public Transport; Asking for Directions.” Unit 3 - Lesson 3. Part-Time Group Class
Mandarin Course, 25 Apr. 2018, Beijing, That's Mandarin.
That’s Mandarin Co. Ltd. “Mandarin Café.” Learn Smarter Chinese, 1.63.0, That’s Mandarin
Co. Ltd., https://new.mandarincafe.com/app/#!/home.