Friday, September 11, 2009

Steiny Road to China: Step 2

On Thursday September 10, 2009, the Poet spent two hours in the language lab trying to nail down how to read pinyin, that's the Romanized phonetic spelling of Chinese which was developed by a government committee in the People's Republic of China and approved by the PRC in 1958. She used the expanded second edition of Integrated Chinese, a popular text book for teaching Americans the Chinese language. However, the Montgomery College Bookstore ordered the wrong edition and next week, the Poet will have to go back to the store and get the third edition. What's really frustrating is not having the CDs that go with this text book.

Her laoshi (teacher) Xiaoli Zhang now says it would be better to have the third edition but that the class should listen to any Chinese recordings to help their ears get tuned up. Yesterday the Poet listened to the CD she bought in Chinatown Philadelphia when she went by bus to hear poet Nathalie Anderson's and composer Thomas Whitman's opera A Scandal in Bohemia. She's about to jump out in the rain and do the same in a few minutes.

She is telling you these ponderous details because learning Chinese and working in the field of new opera are fraught with obstacles. The Poet is OK with this as long as there is some return on the investment.
Here's my ROI from last night's class:

1) The Chinese character for 'hao' is a combination of the characters for woman and child. Hao means OK, fine, good. You greet another human being by saying, 'Ni hao' meaning 'Hi, are you good, are you OK?' Have a look at the character for woman. The Poet had already gotten this character into her subconscious memory in the first class because this is how she is going to find the Ladies Room when she gets to China! Is this not extraordinary that well being engages around the creative act involving a woman with child?

2) Changcheng (the Great Wall) means long city/fortress and Chang Jiang is the name of the longest river, the Yangtze.

1 comment:

The Clever Pup said...
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