Language mixer

14 Jan

Today in my Italian class we had two new students from China. Our small group has been plugging away since October, and they’re just jumping in with what little they’ve absorbed living here the last three months. And their English skills are nonexistent, so luckily for them we have another Chinese student in the class whose English is quite good and who’s willing to play translator. They certainly slowed down the pace of our lesson, which drag as it is, and it’s harder on the teacher to keep all of us engaged.

I walked with the three Chinese students after class and chatted with them briefly in Chinese. I’ve lost most of my conversation skills, which were never hot anyway, but I’m still able to understand a lot. It was fun to switch from Italian to English to Chinese.

My Italian will probably never get conversational, but I get around pretty well now with the limited vocabulary I have. And I’m encouraged with the Chinese I retained; I think I’d get it all back pretty quickly if I were to be back in the culture.

 

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One Response to “Language mixer”

  1. Tony January 16, 2011 at 12:53 am #

    Congratulations on finding that your Chinese conversation skills are still usable. As I travel I am often unpleasantly surprised at how the unused languages atrophy, but also surprised at how quickly they come back when you spend time with someone who speaks them.

    It seems that the mind archives stuff that it doesn’t need, and when the need comes back it takes a while to restore the archive, and it happens over time, but it does get restored – at least so far for me.

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