Am I an idiot? I really think so.

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Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby Falns » 06 Jun 2012, 17:19

Long story short, my in-laws put me in some kind of 'Chinese for Foreigners' class. It's a night class at a local guoxiaoxue.

Everything's in Chinese; the child textbooks, the yappy old ladies that speak Hakka every time the laoshi walks out to wash the chalk off his hands... I guess the only thing that isn't Chinese is laoshi's Chinglish Google Translator app. It's been roughly a year since I started sitting in this class (the chairs hurt my behind; they are way hard for someone with little natural cushioning). Memorization isn't a problem (tones, characters, vocabulary), but I am really hurting for syntax, grammar, etc. I look at the lessons, look up every work on my dictionary app, and then have to go home and Google translate the phrases. And then I have to ask my husband to make sense of some Chinglish here and there.

My husband and I speak English at home, because I can't say much beyond "Maomi didi pao di yi, keyi wo yao bingqilin" so I end up acting like I have no-mouth disease when my father-in-law lays down the law that no one can speak English. Am I just retarded for not being able to speak much of any Chinese after being there for a year?

My motivation is swirling in the sewers. I've been done with the hours for my ARC a very long time ago, so I've been asking my husband to let me take classes at NTU or at least let me pick up some kind of non-child-oriented English -> Chinese textbooks somewhere.
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby baberenglish » 06 Jun 2012, 17:22

welcome to being married to the family.
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby sandman » 06 Jun 2012, 17:30

baberenglish wrote:welcome to being married to the family.

Married? "Owned" sounds a lot closer to the mark. Your husband must be some sort of total GOD if he's enough for you to tolerate that kind of crap! :eek:
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby Falns » 06 Jun 2012, 17:33

sandman wrote:
baberenglish wrote:welcome to being married to the family.

Married? "Owned" sounds a lot closer to the mark. Your husband must be some sort of total GOD if he's enough for you to tolerate that kind of crap! :eek:


He works, and I don't... so seeing as how it's his money that is paying for everything, I give him a lot of leeway. But I make sure he isn't running around filthy, naked, and starving, so he puts up with my nagging, I think.
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby Isha » 06 Jun 2012, 17:39

How about those crash courses for learning Chinese? MLC and Taipei Public Library runs free courses time to time for foreigners. Check out their websites.
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby sandman » 06 Jun 2012, 17:47

Falns wrote:
sandman wrote:
baberenglish wrote:welcome to being married to the family.

Married? "Owned" sounds a lot closer to the mark. Your husband must be some sort of total GOD if he's enough for you to tolerate that kind of crap! :eek:


He works, and I don't... so seeing as how it's his money that is paying for everything, I give him a lot of leeway. But I make sure he isn't running around filthy, naked, and starving, so he puts up with my nagging, I think.

It was the in-laws I was talking about, not your husband. It sounds like they basically own you, even more than the usual Taiwanese living-with-the-inlaws situation. He won't even let you and your husband TALK to each other in front of him?
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby finley » 06 Jun 2012, 17:53

Yes, go to NTU. Their courses aren't bad, and not too expensive. Gov't-run courses are usually just for show ("see how good we are to provide those freeloading foreigners with Chinese education!") and aren't intended to actually teach you anything. For that, you need to go to a proper school.

As for F-i-L ... I would be inclined to tell him that if he doesn't want to listen to you speaking English, he can leave the room. You don't have to put up with ill-mannered bullies just because you're in Taiwan. Can you imagine an American parent berating his daughter's Chinese bf for speaking Chinese?

EDIT: and incidentally, questioning your own intelligence is a good sign that someone in your life is not behaving as they should towards you.
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby sandman » 06 Jun 2012, 18:01

finley wrote:Can you imagine an American parent berating his daughter's Chinese bf for speaking Chinese?


I cannot. More to the point, I cannot even imagine a Taiwanese parent doing so. Just seems totally beyond the pale, even by local standards.
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby Falns » 06 Jun 2012, 18:20

Thanks Isha, I'll look into those!

Sandman: There's no yelling or stinky-face going on, but when I surpass a certain threshold of English, and he says NO ENGLISH!, everyone else instantly converts to Mandarin, so then I sit there completely silent, trying to pick out words and phrases I know, or try to memorize the sound of a word people seem to be repeating so that I can look it up later.

My father-in-law and his generation (who remember fleeing with the KMT) are all very well-educated (my stepmother-in-law is about to wrap up some masters level program in Nanjing, as I recall), VERY self-made, but very rigid in certain traditions and behaviour. Naturally they love comparing the target of conversation to everyone else. "So-and-so's wife was speaking Chinese in only three months!" (it wasn't true in the slightest but there's still the feeling of being a wet poop).

So, I don't know. They're not making me go on death hikes, inquiring every day about kids, or running white gloved fingers all over the apartment, but what kind of expectation should I have for listening/reading/writing proficiency?
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Re: Am I an idiot? I really think so.

Postby urodacus » 06 Jun 2012, 18:32

sandman wrote:
finley wrote:Can you imagine an American parent berating his daughter's Chinese bf for speaking Chinese?


I cannot. More to the point, I cannot even imagine a Taiwanese parent doing so. Just seems totally beyond the pale, even by local standards.



And that's the point, Sandman. That's a Chinese FiL, not a Taiwanese.

I nearly got stuck in that trap once. Chinese right wing bastards suck more than most.
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