Diego and Javier: Spanish students experiences with Chinese

You have probably heard people say ‘It sounds like Chinese to me’ in order to express something that you have no clue. However, is this language that hard? Meet Javier and Diego, and maybe you will change your perspective on Chinese.

Javier is in his last year of Journalism degree, while Diego is also wrapping up for the last semester in his Audiovisual Communication studies. They felt very happy to have the opportunity to practice Chinese, as it is the most spoken language in the world and it may become the next global language after English. Having Spanish as their mother tongue, they have thought about the culture in East Asia and its strong potential towards their future jobs.  

Javier thinks that the Mandarin characters (Hàn zì 汉字) are really difficult to recognize, write and remember all of them depending on the context. At the beginning of the course, you can follow the Pīnyīn (拼音- means “spelled sounds”), which is the official Romanization system for Standard Chinese and it becomes very useful to learn how to speak. Notwithstanding, Hanzi is the key if you want to be able to read texts. Diego agrees with this opinion but adding that in that difficulty, the beauty of the language keeps them curious and promotes their efforts.

Another advantage that they have right now is that Luo, our Chinese teacher, has been always there to perceive the weaknesses and to practice with them. As Diego needs to improve his fluency, Luo talks to him more slowly; while in the case of Javier, who sounds like a native speaker, he aims to level up his writing skills.

With the hot weather in Shanghai, those umbrella hats are really useful.

When asked about their most memorable words from the very first moment of study, Javier gives me the word mǎ mǎ hu hu 马马虎虎 (literally means “Horse horse tiger tiger”), which means more or less.  The origin of it was: a child draw a picture of an animal, and when the mother asked ´what is this animal, a horse or a tiger´? The child answered it´s both. On the other hand, Diego came up with the word jiā yóu 加油, which literally means ´adding gasoline´, but the Chinese people use it to encourage someone.

Here are some motivations for you:

–    Imagine you speak already Spanish and English, so Chinese will be the one you need to dominate the whole labor market.

–    In Diego and Javier’s review, the grammar is the simplest part. There is no verbs conjugation!!!

–    Studying Chinese is not a piece of cake, but it is not an impossible mission, as long as you have interest.


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