Tuesday, November 17, 2009


While making announcements at the WMC, Tony regularly referred to China as what the internet tells me is written Zhōngguó. A couple of times, he also felt that he should do the same for Germany, so described them as Allemagne. But this made me think that if I don't even know how to say 'China' in Chinese, and if I'm probably going there for the WMC next year, and seeing as my brother now lives over there, I really should learn how to speak the language.

So I bought myself a "Teach Yourself Beginner's Mandarin Chinese" course from Waterstone's on my way home one night. While serving me, the man behind the till said something Chinese, possibly "You're welcome" or "Good luck", but I wouldn't know. Enough to demonstrate that everybody speaks the language but me, anyway. However, having started the course, I'm now convinced that I'm never going to be able to speak it. Or even half-attempt to speak it, like I can with Japanese. I'm pretty sure my tongue is too fat and useless to deal with proper Chinese pronunciation, and my voice is too generally silly to cope with intonation. Maybe I'll just concentrate on learning German and assume that the China deal is going to fall through.

In more positive news, thanks to Ray Keene, I can confirm that the WMC trophy is the work of Louis-Ernest Barrias (although this website calls him Eugene), and it's "Fame", or possibly "La Renommé". But how do you say that in Chinese?


Jimbo said...

Guangzhou is the Chinese name for what we ("we" as in Britain) used to call Canton, therefore the most dominant dialect there will be Cantonese although Mandarin will also be spoken. Not sure if Cantonese is any easier to learn than Mandarin though - probably not!


Anonymous said...

Jimbo, sadly (for fans of Cantonese), Mandarin is far more useful in Guangzhou these days. Due to massive internal economic migration within China, many of the people will not know Cantonese. I stayed at a hotel in the centre of Guangzhou and none of the reception staff could understand a word of Cantonese. Everyone knows Mandarin however.

On the up side, Mandarin is easier to learn is many ways, with less tones and vastly more study resources available.

R Jayasimha said...

Hello Ben,

Coupon sitting on a ball, you see it in the form of human being having hands, legs and face. How they together will be interacting if third image is a scale.

Zoomy said...

Stop asking me the same question over and over again. Seriously, stop it, it's really really annoying. I'll answer you when I get the time - I don't know if you realise this, but I've got a full-time normal job, and I only do memory things when I have a spare moment. Just be patient and please stop pestering me like this.

R Jayasimha said...

oh! Really sorry Ben I don't want to disturb you. Actually we are having seminars on memory and from few days students are asking questions about your system. I found your blog and tried to contact you.

We should understand you and my advice to anyone out there reading his blog, Don't ask too much! try to understand that everyone has his/her personal life and be happy with whatever you have got.