My last language evaluation was in June of last year, which was about 9.5 months ago. Since then we have moved to a new city and taken a four-month furlough back to the USA. During furlough we didn’t speak hardly any Chinese. I didn’t know what to expect when we returned to China. How much would we remember and how much would we forget?
In my normal language evaluation fashion, I will cover five areas and try to honesty evaluate my language level.
(1) Speaking – It comes back to you, it really does. After not speaking for four months, I was afraid to speak again. But once we were in the airport and around Chinese people, we start to speak, and to my surprise, it wasn’t that bad. It might take me a while to think of something or how to say it but I found myself just easily blurting it out. As I started getting into conversations and even preaching, I found that my mouth was “out-of-shape” with using the muscles that you use to speak Chinese. It felt like my mouth didn’t want to move that way anymore. Also, I feel like I gained more of a foreign accent, which is disappointing.
(2) Tones – I don’t find myself thinking about tones like I did before. This seems to be a good and bad problem. Good because I am thinking about the content and not the tone. Bad because my tones might be off and I didn’t even pay attention to it. I have to remind myself to focus on the tones and make sure that I keep them in check.
(3) Writing – I started writing before we left and could write several characters but I pretty much forgot all of it. I can remember parts of this character and that character but usually get stuck somewhere along the way when I try to write it. But I guess this is to be expected after only four months of learning them and then a four-month break.
(4) Reading – This seems to be the same. I guess I was a little more comfortable before I left but I am slowly finding myself getting back into the groove.
(5) Grammar – I can remember more the “what” of grammar than the “why”. As I am preparing things, certain rules are ingrained in me and I know to do them even though I can’t exactly remember why I should do it that way.
Well, that is where I find myself. I guess Chinese is a life-long commitment. I pray the Lord uses me despite my lack of ability.