Posts Tagged ‘Language’

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry…….

October 30, 2013

I was invigilating our mid term exams today, and during the Biology exam that our first years took, they were asked to “Draw and label the underside of the leaf.” next too a picture of a leaf.

I saw one child draw a perfect mirror image of the leaf in the question, and label it “This is the underside of the leaf on the left.” I don’t know about you, but I think they might expect a little more detail than that.

One of the more surreal things happened to me over the weekend

May 13, 2013

I was coming back from Shanghai, and caught a cab home from the station. Zhenhai is pretty much a Ningbo outer suburb, which means the cab drivers are iffy about getting a fare back or really don’t know where it is.

When trying to establish where I want to go the coversation invariable runs like this…..

“Zhenhai” (me)

“Zhunhai” (Driver)

“Yes Zhenhai” (me)

“Zhunhai”

“Zhunhai”

“Zhunhai”

Anyhow if I get stressed about not being understood in Chinese, I start breaking into Polish. It’s usually just stuff Tak Nie (yes or no) or Naprawde (really), but on this trip I was halfway through “Prawo Lewo Pawo Tunel Prawo” (Right left right tunnel right) that I realised I was doing it, and that’s not happened in years.

A surreal conversation here in China

March 3, 2013

One of the things I’m probably most embarrassed about, when it comes to my life in China, is my lack of language skills. I’ve got maybe 10/20 words, and I get by with that, and a lot of pointing. Given I’ve been here almost 3 years, it’s not good. I could defend myself by saying that I’m a visual learner, and that I have no chance of grasping the script, but let’s face it, that’s bunk.

Anyhow I was in the bank today (yes banks in China are open Sundays) to pay my electricity bill (£6 or $10 for the month for those of you who care). I was queuing up when I had a conversation with what the Americans might call a “greeter” that saved me 10 minutes in line. It went like this (with English translations afterwards):

“No card, no card” (You do know sir that if you have an ATM card, you can pay you bill electronically).

“Yes card, yes card” (Interestingly enough I think I have the card I need).

“Card, Card?” (You have an ATM card?)

“Card, Card” (Is this the card I need?)

“Card, Card.” (Yes that is the right card. If you’ll follow me).

“Card, Card” (Good but I can’r read Chinese).

“Number Number” (Put your card in the slot).

“Number Number?” (Do I put my PIN number in?)

“Number Number.” (Yes then I’ll press some buttons)

“Number Number?” (So I enter my Account Number now?)

“Number Number.” (Yes)

“Green Green.” (That button tells the machine you want to pay your bill if the amount is correct).

“Card Card?” (How do I get my card back now I’ve paid my bill?)

“Card Card.” (Press that button)

“Shi Shi.” (Thank you).

“Bye Bye”