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26th issue by NCU on March 2011

 The Most Embarrassing Moment while I Speak Chinese
National Cheng Kung University-Huynh Thi Minh Truc

Time passes really fast. Now I’m the second-semester student. Six months in Taiwan passed with many memorable and interesting things. Chinese is also one of my most significant successes during the last semester. Six months ago, I could not understand the language which people here speak – Chinese is really difficult and inconvenient for me in daily communication. For example, I cannot understand what shop keepers say such as goods type, price and some specifications. Sellers as well as I have to use body languages and digits to understand each other. That’s uncomfortable!

 The Most Embarrassing Moment While I Speak Chinese
National Cheng Kung University- Gabriela E. Andrade Lam

Hello! My name is Gabriela Andrade Lam and I am from Ecuador, which is located in South America. I have been living in Taiwan for six months now, and studying at National Cheng Kung University. All my courses are given in English, and I am learning Chinese as part of my trainee in this culture. However, learning Chinese has been anything but difficult.

Before coming to Taiwan, I studied a brief course of Chinese in my country. Just two months, to learn how to say hello!, or ask for food. But when I arrived here, I realized that it wouldn’t be enough. Since my arrival until now, I have learned many words and expressions, but I still cannot keep a long conversation. It is a little bit disappointing.

 The Most Embarrasing Moment While Speaking Chinese
National Cheng Kung University-Liliam Rodas

Speaking Chinese is definitely a very complicated issue, mainly because the structure of the language, as it is completely different from my mother tong Spanish and other languages that I have tried before, such as German or French.

However, knowing the vocabulary is not enough in this case, because the pronunciation of the Chinese language has to be very precise in order to get people to understand exactly what is wanted to say. Even thought it has been difficult, I have tried to push myself to speak to more people than only my classmates, whom I have made friends with in the language center of National Cheng Kung University. So I often decide to ask for things in several places or to use my vocabulary in order to generate conversation with Taiwanese people.

It is always exiting when I approach to someone and salute them. I might get a bit nervous, but after this, the conversation starts to flow. However, after some time it can get a bit confusing with the language and it becomes harder to continue a fluid chat with someone. Even though this happens quite often, most of the people that I ran into were very friendly and have tried to help me with my speaking abilities. Therefore, I get more confident and improve my language skills with fun in my day to day life.

 The Most Embarrassing Moment I Speak Chinese
National Taiwan University–Jorge Delgado

I can not exactly tell how many times I have feel embarrassed while speaking Chinese, but I can certainly mention some memorable stories about it.

To start, I can mention the first two weeks we spent at the orientation course in Shida, because everyone was excited about learning and practicing Chinese, and at the beginning no one really cared on how it sounds, we were just trying our best and we felt like kids with a new toy, a new tool and trying to use it as much as we could.

I remember that by that time, almost every counselor we met already spoke some Chinese, and until now that I understand that they only spoke “some” but it was impressive for us when we just got to Taiwan.

First embarrassing experience was at the classroom in Shida, when we had an introductory Chinese course, our pronunciation was terrible and I was very embarrassed but I understood that it is part of the process on learning a new language.

 The Most Embarrassing Moment when I Speak Chinese
National Taiwan University-Christopher Belford 

I can still vividly remember and recall, December 8th 2010 during our usual evening Chinese classes when I was supposed to present a paper in Chinese on the topic “MY COUNTRY”. I was very confident before the presentation that my paper will captivate the interest of my audience. Most of my course-mates asked prior to my presentation, my state of preparation some even informed me that they will invite their friends and acquaintances to attend my presentation. Having seen that my presentation was developing so much interest, I decided to take it very serious spending sleepless night “burning the mid-night candle” to ensure that my presentation becomes a “master piece”.

 The Most Embarrassing Moment while I Speak Chinese
National Taipei University of Nursing-Gnimbar Ghislain Poda

Having a conversation is a daily activity, so banal and commonplace that we do not always pay attention to the difficulties we may encounter.
Indeed, the banality of the act very often leads us to forget that talk is not always an easy task, especially when it comes to converse in a language that is foreign to us, like speaking Chinese in Taiwan.
In fact, living in Taiwan without understanding the Chinese language is something very difficult or impossible. Sentence construction in English does not apply to Chinese. Chinese is a language which is not easy to speak. For example, the rules of grammar and conjugation are quite different from English or French. Also, for the practice Chinese language, one must change his/her mindset to understand its logic. As an illustration, the Chinese does not look to the future but to history, because the ancestors are stronger than the generations to come. A rule that applies to the sentence construction, to the expression of thought; particularly to say the day after tomorrow or the day before yesterday.

 The Most Embarrassing Moment while I Speak Chinese
Taipei Medical University- Pachuri Wianglor 

你好Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Pachuri Wianglor and I come from Thailand. I am a first year student doing a Masters in Health Care Administration at the Taipei Medical University. TMU is where I first started to learn Chinese and where I got my first Chinese name in my life[我姓王,我叫王莉].Honestly ,I don’t know the meaning of my Chinese name but I love this name because it sound likes something very beautiful or something good. Actually, I have studied Chinese for 4 months by a wonderful .She is the one who made me fall in love with the Chinese language  and then  to work hard on learning more about it.

 The Most Embarrassing Moment while I Speak Chinese
Yuan Ze University-Michael Smith


The most embarrassing and funniest moment that has occurred to me, to date, while I was speaking Chinese during my Chinese level one class. We were in the second or third week of class and the teacher was introducing a couple of new words to us and going over the pronunciation of them. Also, we were given many useful ways we can use these words in our day-to-day life while speaking Chinese and a few conversation encounters we might come across with these words while speaking. After the introduction of the words and possible usage of them in conversation, the class was paired up in groups of twos and given fifteen minutes to practice asking and answering questions using the same words. After the fifteen minutes had past, we got back to our seating arrangement and the teacher decided to start to pick people in the class at random to answer a few questions she can think of to ask them, since everything was going great so far. Therefore, the teacher when ahead and started to ask questions to random people in class, by first calling them by their Chinese name and then asking a few funny and casual questions. This part  was the part everyone enjoyed the most because we all would try our best to answer the questions as quickly and correctly as we can. Also, everyone wanted a chance to get to answer a few questions.

 The Most Embarrassing Moment While I Speak Chinese
Yuan Ze University-Leonardo Banegas 

Starting to practice Chinese is difficult and require a lot of courage  because for  Latino people there are a lot of new sounds that we have to say clearly and manage the tones that become the situation even more difficult. There are words that are exactly the same sound but different tones, and every tone could be a different meaning, so a correct pronunciation is always in my mind. However, except the tones and pronunciation is  important, learning to speak Chinese means that you have to learn the meaning of some expressions in some specific context, even if the translations in your language do not have sense at all, but in Chinese it means different things.
I take the opportunity in the  meetings, parties or trips with people to speak Chinese and ask translation of some expressions to them, in that way I can learn some expressions in my daily life while I am with my friends. 

 The Most Embarrassing moment while I speak Chinese
National Sun Yan-Sen University- Edrissa Jarjue

My name is Edrissa Jarjue, a graduate student at the National Sun Yat-Sen University. I arrived in Taiwan in August, 2009. I think foreign students have similar experiences when speaking Chinese. At the beginning, I tried to focus on other things, for instance, to get familiar with the new environment, new life styles, new food, new people, etc. However, as time passes by, I realized that once I’m not with my regular friends, I’m totally alone. Thus, there was the need to practice the language. As a result, I try to speak a few words once in a while.
On many occasions when I go to the Carrefour to buy food, there are Taiwanese who can speak English. Furthermore, most of the food is labeled, so it was no problem for me buying things. However, I had a different experience. One day, when I went to the night market during my first year. It was a cold rainy evening, so I wanted some hot tea to warm my body. There was a vendor who was selling drinks. Unfortunately  the entire menu was in Chinese and the lady could not speak English. I had to tell her what I wanted in Chinese. So I said “Hong-cha”. The lady gave me the drink. However, when I started to drink it, I realized it was black tea and very cold, too. I immediately returned it back to the vendor, but could not explain to her what the problem was. She was also confused and could not understand me. What an embarrassment I had that day? Then she spoke to a guy near-by who could speak English. The guy asked me and I narrated the whole story to him. He in turn explained the details to the lady. The lady then prepared warm green tea for me. To my surprise she declined to accept my payment. She just smiled and said “Xie-xie”. This experience gave me the opportunity to feel the hospitality of Taiwanese people. I felt very grateful to the vendor and the guy for helping me out.