June 5, 2009

mandarin for dummies

Posted in china, home in hawaii tagged , , , at 7:48 am by Malia Yoshioka

i’ve never been a good student in listening comprehension. they say everyone learns differently – some people learn by doing, some by listening, some by reading, and i’m most definitely a visual learner. one of my favorite things about travel is getting to pick up pieces of new languages and cultures. but the difficulty for me in learning new languages is that (especially with a tonal language like mandarin) it’s almost impossible to learn just by reading the words on a page.

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July 3, 2008

pardon my french

Posted in paris tagged , , , at 10:02 am by Malia Yoshioka

no, really. pardon my french, literally. i know it leaves much to be desired. but in my defense, it’s been 11 years since i’ve studied french in madame hondo’s class at good old maui high school.

when i came to paris last, in 1998, i remember that at least attempting a little bit of French would allow me some leeway when trying to buy a bottle of nutella, ask directions, or to order in a café. the French are very proud of their language, it’s true. and i’m sure that i was butchering it most of the time, but as long as i gave it a try, for the most part people were pretty helpful and would often take pity on me and respond to me in English.

i don’t know what’s changed in the past ten years, but my attempts at French this time around have not been as well received as they were when i was here last. i seem to get a lot more blank looks these days when attempting to converse with native speakers. and those who took pity on me and spoke back in broken English seem to have fled the city entirely.
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