LANGUAGE is commonly known as the ability to acquire and learn complex forms of communication. It specifically refers to the human ability to do so. Having in mind that all form of language are basically tools for communication; therefore it makes imperative that for one to communicate, he/she needs to learn language. It is also true that language hides many other things that would otherwise be difficult to either know or express. These include, culture, social life of a people, religious beliefs and practices of a people, etc.
Having said that, I must also admit that, while all languages are equally rich and able to communicate all the above mentioned aspects of a people’s way of life, not all language are the same in their linguistic structure. I have learnt a few other languages too but this time I have to admit that Chinese Mandarin such a special one. Not only linguistically different and complex but also due to it’s ability express such a huge amount of social, cultural, religious aspects of the Chinese world through the study of it’s characters. every single character explains a piece of reality of the Chinese cosmovision.
After studying the language for well over one year and a half, I recently had a chat with one of our teachers during our school tour. As we were chatting I realized that she could understand me as I also did understand what she was saying (at least 30%). That made me become so exited and so asked her what her view was about my Chinese. The expression from her face made it clear to me that she simply didn’t want to discourage me but that the fact was that I was still a long way. I then asked her how long it should take one to learn well Chinese; and her answer was interesting. She cunningly said that five (5) years would be sufficient for the exceptionally bright foreigners to master Chinese, at least to a normal standard.
I came back home rather discouraged but at the same time happy for that fact that she had been sincere to me. She just reminded me to be more humble and patient. She made me to once again remember that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and that the good news is that I was no longer at the beginning, owing to the fact that we had our conversation (poor as it might have been) in Chinese. On the other hand I also realized that she wasn’t merely talking about the speaking of the language but rather the learning of all that baggage contained in the Chinese language as noted above.
To be honest, that rich conversation with the teacher has rejuvenated my zeal to learn Chinese; I mean to learn all that the Chinese language contains: Chinese culture, social and religious life… So help me God!