An Ordinary Life

What I do, what I think

Language August 23, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — reneewong @ 8:01 pm

So I went to Popular Bookstore to buy an electronic dictionary coz I want to read my Eileen Chang collection of short stories which I bought in Shanghai six years ago but never got past the first page. However, I’ve been very motivated since Lust, Caution and I actually almost finished the first chapter in the toilet last night except I didn’t understand a quarter of the words.
So there I was looking at the dictionaries and the saleslady comes along and asks if she could assist and I told her what I was looking for. She couldn’t believe that I needed a Chinese dictionary for myself. Then she tried to figure out where I got my accent from. Frankly I don’t really have an answer to that. People always comment on my accent when I speak Chinese, more than when I speak English, though personally I know that both accents are atypical Singaporean. The English comes from learning most of my English from American sitcoms, and then spending three years overseas where I had to speak with foreigners from everywhere. The effort to speak standard English understandable by everyone came from that experience. The Chinese, I really don’t know. It actually is quite bad but people tend to think I speak excellent Chinese because of my accent. Truth be told, during my one year in France I became more fluent and comfortable in French than I had ever been in Chinese, which just goes to show how pathetic I actually am in my supposed mother tongue that it can so easily be supplanted by another language that I had only spoken for a year.
So anyway I am now on a mission to brush up on my Mandarin so that it actually does become as good as what people suppose it to be. Will keep you posted when I finally make it through the Eileen Chang book.

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