In our third meeting, we took a deeper dive into conversational German/Chinese. The content of our last two meetings was more about getting to know the culture. Now, I got to know the Chinese way of speaking by first learning the proper pronunciation of certain letters (phonetic symbols instead of Chinese characters). Afterwards, they taught me common phrases like “hello” or “how are you?”. I thought it was particularly interesting that you can also say “have you eaten?” for “how are you” in China and that the shape of Chinese characters originates from drawing the actual thing it means. The character for “fire” was in former times a drawing of an actual flame and over time it has changed a little to the Chinese characters we know today – you can even see in how far the characters have changed and you can depict a flame in today’s character as well (火). Afterwards, they taught me about Chinese beauty standards that basically consists of clear skin, big eyes, being thin and an innocent smile. Then, I taught them about German common phrases and especially the difficulty about the pronunciation of the different ch -, sch- or st- sounds. One tip I included was that in Germany we pronounce each letter unlike in e.g. English. I also included a short smalltalk section in which my two group members could introduce themselves. Referring to the “German” beauty standards, I think there is no actual German beauty standard. Instead, I taught them about the “Western” beauty standards (being tall, muscular, having a tan …) and the most common plastic surgeries in Germany. Since we realized that both languages rely heavily on pronunciation, we decided that we will send each other memos about the pronunciation of the words we learned today to enhance our learning outcomes.
I am looking forward to our next meeting.