Learning Chinese in Beijing

March 21st, 2014

I've been in Beijing studying Chinese for about a month and I quite enjoy it. As far as languages go, it's the best I've encountered (of Latin, French, English). Most of the time everything is laid out in a very clear way with little of the inconsistencies that appear in English.

Here are a few of my favorite things about the language:

  • Conjugation isn't necessary. Words don't change, only their order does.
  • Nothing is gendered. Gender pre/suffixes were my least favorite part about French. Related: the spoken form of "he," "she," and "it" are all the same. Unfortunately not so for their written forms. Gender neutral prononuns ftw.
  • Actions and their results are baked into the language. For example, my favorite phrase is 胖死了(pang4si3le), which means "fat to death." [action] -> [result]
  • To call someone "250" is an insult. You can find out more here.
  • Dates a specified in the correct order, from biggest to smallest. 24 hour time is also used. As a programmer, this makes me very happy. For example, right now is 2014年03月21日23点00分. That is: year, month, day, hour, minute. Why this isn't standard everywhere, I don't know.
  • Speaking in a tonal language is great fun.