Date: Friday 7th October
Today, I went to a waterpark in Dubai with my husband. I have to admit; I was nervous. There's something about water that makes me anxious, but I conquered my fear of water and drowning and death, I suppose. But I learned a valuable lesson; everything in life is about moral support and people. Here are two ways I realised today that people are one of the most significant assets in my language learning.
Support.. or pressure.
I was anxious at the top of the slide, but I did it. The main reason wasn't because I wanted to or even particularly enjoyed drinking my snot as water demons dragged me down the slide. Still, it was because there was a massive line of people behind me with the grace or patience to acknowledge my anxiety.
Learning a language requires repetition, and in the real world, people don't have time to 'repeat' things or even execute patience as much as they would like. I realised that studying and using Apps like Tandem and Busuu enable me to practice in a safe environment without pressure; this minimises the embarrassment of grammar mistakes in public and slow speaking.
In no way does this mean I will not go out and speak to natives, but learning in a safe space helps you to take off the training wheels quicker while building confidence.
2. Speaking to people on online platform/ apps can give you a chance to build your word bank
Today, I spoke to a few people on Tandem, a language learning tool to connect with natives in exchange for sharing your language knowledge with them. I spoke in Chinese, and my 'Tandem' friend replied in English. I corrected her grammar mishaps, and she provided an engaging conversation while she didn't provide much feedback. I learned a few more words in Chinese, including: '迪拜' meaning 'Dubai' in Chinese, as well as video chat and Europe.
I realised, however, that speaking to people using online platforms can help you to identify grammar patterns better while growing your word bank!
I recommend using the Tandem app to talk to people in the language you're trying to learn.
What did I learn today?
The three main things I learnt today were:
1. I began to understand how to make comparisons using the word 比 eg: 我觉得北京比深圳好看 - meaning - I think Beijing is prettier than Shenzhen
2. I personally thought that learning the word '迪拜' meaning 'Dubai' was pretty cool.
3. 欧洲 - meaning Europe also sounds like 'Oh Joe!' which was a great reminder to enjoy learning Chinese!
Finally, I remind myself to keep reaching my goal of fluency. It has been a challenging journey thus far, but I have already learned so much; can I give up now?