Saturday, December 12, 2009

Exploding Rice and Constructive Criticism

Today's Chinese lesson was a disaster.

I had a mess to clean up and picked an episode that was too high for my level.

We started with learning how to use the word "would."
For example, how would you say, "If you hadn't gone to China, what would you be doing?"

Then, my tutor described how to make rice porridge and I re-told the procedure using a few newly learned words. We took a break and ate some porridge that had boiled onto the floor making a mess of starchy goo, a large puddle of glob. The porridge that had managed to stay in the pot had a bottom layer of burnt rice with a top layer of edible porridge. Note to self, when cooking porridge in a rice pot check regularly and don't wait till the cooker automatically turns off.

Next we watched a cartoon episode whose dialogue was way over my head. The father and son discussed promises and trust along with the habitats and toys of bears.

At the end of the lesson, I was told that I really need to work on my tones.

Ugh.... Discouraged am I.

I don't know how to work on my tones other than to go back to square one and start memorizing all of the tones of all of the vocabulary I already know. Does anyone know how to improve the tones of spoken Chinese?


Jenna said...

I lived in China for 7 months....I loooooove congee (zhou), especially with fish. So delicious. Always eat it with a You Tiao! MMM

The tones are the hardest in the world to get have practiced for a a year or so, and absolutely can't get the tones. I hope that by speaking faster they won't notice the wrong tones ;) I swear I'm tone deaf after living in China

Dr. Jen said...

For some reason in Gansu, they don't make salty congee. In America I loved the salty vegetable meat congees but here I can't find such congee. Instead it is very bland, just water and rice, millet, nuts, beans. No seasonings, maybe sugar. You Tiao yumm....