Monday, January 22, 2007


Language learning is something that I've become quite skilled at. I can call upon huge resources and install regimented training and systems to absorb vocabulary, practice skills for every aspect of a language. This, of course, is even more true for the foreign language that most familiar to me - Chinese.

Two years ago, I resolved to pass the Intermediate Chinese Proficiency test and started an intensive period of self-study. I surpassed my expectations but fell less than 1% short of the highest grade. Since then I've been rather lax and my acuity became rather blunt.

So with new energies I have thrown myself back into language study and am even more regimented than those two years ago. These past two weeks my blurry listening skills have been sharpened to very close to the level they were at the time of the test and I'm recovering copious amounts of past learnt vocabulary and warming them back up. One thing that is always surprising whenever you start to relearn language is that you learn vocabulary that you know that you've never learnt before - and then think how you ever got by without it. In the 9 years that I have been learning and using Chinese, I finally learnt the word for tinfoil.

Whether it was from this sudden change in routines, however, by the previous weekend I was suddenly having trouble sleeping. Every morning I was feeling like repeatedly microwaved crud. This was compounded with a virus of some sort that blighted my work days and wrecked my weekend. Fortunately, the virus symptoms seemed to lessen when I was being sociable (I've always been like that), so I could comfortably celebrate the wedding of Myles and Sufong on the Saturday. Congratulations!

Work-wise, it has been a slow beginning but I have already gained students and once everyone is back working (some are abroad, others are yet to start the training formally for the year), I'll have a busier average work week than last year. And with the zeal I've pursued Chinese, every day has been full-on and satisfyingly tiring.

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