Learning Chinese-Personal Narrative

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Learning Chinese-Personal Narrative In 1995, I decided to volunteer as a missionary for my church. On the application form, there was no space for suggestions as to where in the world I would like to serve as a missionary. Church leaders assign missionaries to the place they feel we should go. I was surprised with the assignment to serve in Taiwan, speaking Mandarin Chinese. I had no previous experience with Chinese people or their language, so I felt fortunate that the church provides 2 months of intensive language training before the missionary even gets on the plane. During my 2 months in the language-training center, I found out just how different Mandarin Chinese is from my native language. The time went by quickly, and after obtaining a very tenuous grasp on the basics of Mandarin, I got on the plane and flew to Taiwan. Upon arriving there, I was assigned a companion who had been in Taiwan for just over a year and a half. From my first day in Taiwan, I was expected to dive headfirst into the task of teaching people about the church. I found that although at the Missionary Training Center I had learned to put together basic sentences, there was a whole other level of the language that I still needed to consider—the discourse level. The pursuit of clear and fluent discourse has been a focus of mine ever since. I always hoped that I would eventually "pick up" the finer points of Mandarin Chinese purely through contact with the people. The church did provide us with some study aids. However, these study aids amounted only to vocabulary lists and a few grammar hints which were either very basic or not altogether accurate. I discovered a trend, which has been accurately pointed out by Bourgerie (1997:107... ... middle of paper ... ...set of rules to govern the use of this particle may be impossible. It may be beneficial to keep in mind that of the treatments of this particle analyzed in this paper, all of them covered PRV-le on mostly a sentence by sentence level. I believe that if there is a possibility of completely breaking down this principle into parts easily digested by a learner of Chinese, it lies in considering this particle on a discourse level of speech. Until the time that this avenue is adequately explored, it seems the best way for a learner of Chinese to "pick up" the correct use of this particle is to understand the rules given (at least those given by Li and Thompson). These rules don't necessarily have to be an absolute dictator of how PRV-le must be used, but following those rules will most likely bring a Chinese learner 80% accuracy in using this particle correctly.

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