Learning Language Over Again

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13 February 2015 by romanin

So yesterday I (Nick) started to meet with a language partner. A friend named Rob needs to improve his English pronunciation, and I really need to improve my Chinese, so we are planning to meet a few times a week to help each other out.

Yesterday was the first meeting. I haven’t tried to speak Chinese for an extended period of time for over five years. I felt like a child! I don’t know if you have ever studied language before, but one thing you need to do in order to learn a new language is to humble yourself like a child. You are doomed to sound like a two year old until you get the hang of it, and then you will sound like you’re five.

So as I sat with my friend, he suggested that we just open the bible and start reading from the beginning. He wanted to have an exchange: he wanted to help with my Chinese and he wanted me to help him with his English pronunciation. So after I struggled through the first verse, he gave up on using the Bible as a study text and we just chatted. Today, on our second meeting, he brought in a children’s book that taught the numbers from one to ten. So I’ve gone from potential student of literature back to kindergarten, pretty extreme if you ask me.

See, one of the fun things about Chinese is that there is no alphabet like there is in English. You can’t divine the sound of a word by looking at it. You may be able to conjure up some meaning from the pictures within the word though. This makes the Chinese language very difficult, but also very beautiful. As a matter of fact, I believe that God has had an influence in creating this language. Whether it was more covert or it was an intention of early scribes that may have remembered stories told by those that remembered the flood and Babel, it seems evident that there are coincidences that are hardly ignorable. Take for instance the word for happiness:

The example above could be a direct harkening back to the happiness shared by God and Adam in the garden so many years ago. Or how about the word for tempter:

Could the two trees here represent the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life? Or finally, the word for righteousness:

What makes me righteous? Nothing less than the blood of the lamb covering me. And here we see a representation of that very thing, with the self represented by a posture of sacrifice: the hand and the knife.

I’m no expert, but I love seeing things like this. Maybe it is a coincidence. I doubt it. God created the China just as he created Israel, Europe, the Americas, and I think some of these words are showing his fingerprints.

I’m excited to learn more about this beautiful language and culture. The more I learn, the more intrigued I am. How could you not be intrigued studying a language and a culture that has over 5000 years of history!

The info I got for these characters comes from this website, if you care to learn more.


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