Learning Chinese is a struggle (to put it mildly). Before leaving for my Fulbright experience last academic year, I took private Mandarin lessons once a week and used Rosetta Stone. Upon arrival in China, we were immersed in the language and had a Chinese language tutor. Only now do I have the base knowledge to actually begin learning Chinese; all over again. So I am going to start re-learning Chinese from scratch, with the base knowledge I wish I had before.
The journey began today when I attended our China Program‘s Mandarin Language Table (our Dean buys lunch for anyone interested in discussing current events in Mandarin for an hour, and, given the success of the our China Program, we have quite a number of Chinese speakers on staff and in our student body). I was glad I went, but today’s topic was the future of space programs in China and the United States. As you might expect the vocabulary was extremely difficult (space 太空, space ship 宇宙飞船, etc.). Overall, I was surprised by my showing. My listening comprehension was far better than I had expected, but my speaking ability was far, far worse than I had hoped.
UPDATE: Apparently if I were a baby, my language acquisition would be much easier.