Home | Newsletters

26th issue by NCU on March 2011

 The Most Embarrassing Moment while I Speak Chinese
National Central University-Fiolenta Marpaung

Selected to write the most embarrassing moment while I speak Chinese is a little difficult to me. I could not select the most embarrassing moment in my life because I think I had a lot of embarrassing moments while I was speaking Chinese. As we have already known, Chinese language is the most difficult language in the world (based on I have ever heard from news and my friends who are studying foreign language). Chinese language has a lot of characters and most of it has similar characters which is difficult to recognize directly. The second thing, which makes Chinese language the most difficult language, is because it has five tones (4 tones and 1 tone as neutral tone). Using tones in my language is only used when we are going to emphasize something or want to speak politely while we are talking to older people. But the tones in Chinese language are very different! They use tones in everything single word! A word which has the same Pinyin character but different tone will have different meaning. These tones are very difficult to distinguish when I was listening something or when I was trying to speak something.

 The Most Embarrassing Moment while I Speak Chinese
National Central University-Andre David Williams 

I arrived in Taiwan not knowing how to speak any Chinese. As part of my intention to embrace the culture, I decided that the onus is on me to at least learn the language. I enrolled in Chinese A class and everything seems pretty good so far. I soon realized that unlike English, there are four different tones used while speaking. Depending on how these tones are used, one word can have different meanings. These tones were a stumbling block in leaning Chinese (pinyin) and little did I know that these tones will contribute to my most embarrassing moment while speaking Chinese.
After a few weeks of taking Chinese classes I pretty much thought that I knew the basics of Chinese language to get by. I now began to order my food and ask for directions to get around in Chinese. I went to a book store to buy a Chinese-English dictionary but had difficulty locating the dictionary. A male clerk saw me idling and came to assist me. Wanting to show off my speaking Chinese skills I said “xi n sheng, w  xi ng w n n …”which means Mr. I want to ask... However because of the different tones, it came across as “xi n sheng, w  xi ng w n n ...” which translates to “I want to kiss you”... Of course I did not know this at the time of the incident and was appalled when the store clerk turned away and stormed off.

The Most Embarrassing Moment while I Speak Chinese
National Central University-Erwin Isaac Alvarez

Well, I have had many embarrassing moments while I have tried to speak Chinese in the restaurants, competitions, stores, and with my classmates. It was a little bit difficult to choose one, but I managed to write down something about one of the most important events. Finally I think that one of the most embarrassing moments was during the TICA Cup competitions, the Chinese speech competition. I knew that competition enough time before it , one month or maybe more. I have to admit that I had enough time to prepare and practice a good speech but even though I did not do it. I wanted to do it just one week before the competitions but during that week I had a lot of homework to work on; even the night before my travel to Pingtung I was so busy as I had to finish a couple of homework and I did not have enough sleep.