Friday, February 27, 2009


December 8, 2008 - Taiwan High Court. It's a small island, and I sometimes forget that I'm in the capital city with the Presidential Office and the Supreme Court. For what that's worth. Aside from the Greek columns, I can't say it's a very distinguished building.


Not sure why I have two lomos of the building. It was the start of the roll, so maybe that's why.

I was in this area today, and I think I'm going to give up on learning Mandarin and any hope to become conversational. I'm going to continue studying the language, but just because I'm in Taiwan, have nothing better to do. I'll study it as an academic exercise, to learn the words and the grammar.

I was a block away from this building, waiting to meet up with my uncle, and a woman came up to me and asked me a question that she seemed to already know the answer to (the confidence of a lawyer maybe). I didn't understand right away, so I replied I didn't know. 5 seconds later it dawned on me that she was asking if the High Court 高法院 was this way.

Three words and I couldn't understand right away. That's just pathetic. It's kinda not in my programming to process language comprehension in a foreign language. I'll still work on undoing that programming, I think that's important, and impressive that so many other people can do it, but I'm keeping my standards way low.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Netori (Watazumi Doso Roshi - shakuhachi)
2. Bad (U2)
3. Lonely Wind/Piano Solo (live) (Kansas)
4. Aurora no Sora Kara Mitsumeteiru (Chitose Hajime)
5. Half Acre (Hem)
6. Celebration Day (live) (Led Zeppelin)
7. Come See About Me (The Supremes)
8. Your Dirty Answer (Kristin Hersh)
9. Summertime (The Sundays)
10. Tell Me Why (Echobelly)

3 comments:

joyce said...

there's a new daycare/preschool opening near our house that has a mandarin language emersion program for kids aged 2-12. why they feel we need this is beyond me, since the population in my city is like 99% white. is this their idea of "cultural diversity and awareness"? oh, i should mention the other 1% is made up of me, and a bunch of adopted chinese girls. maybe it's for them. :)

i can't imagine trying to learn a new language right now. it makes me realize what my parents accomplished when they moved here (they were about my age, maybe a little older).

Pierre said...

OK, first of all, it's not as if this word, "Supreme Court", was used on a daily-basis. It's not a shame not knowing what she meant. Plus, she didn't say "高法院", she said "gao fa yuan". Tall circle of law. It's normal you didn't get it, I think. Chinese is too concise, based on too few syllables that have too many different meanings out of their context.

When I was in New York and Kathy was trying to explain me the meaning of every single law-related buildings around the neighborhood, I just didn't understand a single word of what she said. Does that make me a dumb at English?

I personally have a visual memory. That is, I'm almost incapable of learning new Chinese just by listening to it or chatting with people. If there is a new word in the conversation and I'm given the translation of it, I'll forget it within five minutes. If I want to memorize it, I need to write it down, write its pinyin/bopomofo, write its origins, etc. And then I have to practice writing it or else I'll forget it. That's boring... but I can't do anything about it, I guess. I don't have that much troubles with languages closer to my mother tongue, though... Fucking Chinese language!

keauxgeigh said...

J- I think the idea of the Mandarin language program is the belief that Mandarin will become the future global language, replacing English as the American empire fades. They haven't gotten the memo that Obama has been elected president! May the empire be restored! (as flawed as the American empire is, having lived in a Chinese culture, nothing frightens me more than a global Chinese empire).

P- I'm the same way with language, which is the reason for my new attitude to just study the language academically, and not for the purpose of communication or conversation, although that component is still necessary to a certain extent - you know, living here.

But having studied law, I should know the word for Supreme Court and be able to process hearing it faster than I did.