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A barrier broken through


suMMit

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I've achieved a big milestone recently. Up until the last few months my significant other(a native) would never speak mandarin with me. When I first started, I pushed it but she wouldn't budge. I let it go and decided not to push it anymore. Still had her mother to speak Chinese with.

 

As I've improved, expanded my vocabulary, grammar etc, I casually - even accidentally would slip in some mandarin and she kind of naturally started replying in mandarin. It has happened quite naturally. Lately she's even been starting conversations with me in Chinese sometimes. Also, if she says something in English to me that I want to hear in Chinese or that is well within my understanding, I say "再说一遍“, she's a good sport about it and says it again in Chinese. Other than that, I'm still not pushing it. I also don't bother her with grammar questions and the like. 

 

Right now I suppose it's 25 percent Chinese 75 English, but a huge change from zero. I'm sure as I continue to improve my skills the percentage will shift further.

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I'm glad she is coming around. I have a good friend of many years who married a French woman. He spoke a little college French, which was how they met in the first place after she moved to the US. She spoke French with him until their honeymoon was over. In the 30 or 40 years since, she refuses to speak any language with him except English, even though she reguarly talks French on the phone to "back home" friends and relatives.

 

He reads books in French and watches French movies. If he says something to her in French, she answers in English. He wants to improve his grasp of the language. It has been a sore point for them as long as I can remember. It has become an "unmentionable" issue between them.  I've never quite understood the dynamics of the problem. 

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I once knew a couple in a similar relationship. She wouldn't speak French with him unless she wanted to argue about something. Because she knew he couldn't keep up and argue back in French.

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