Disconnected Language

Originally, my mother intended to take Chinese classes in order to converse with me when I arrived. She hoped that by doing so, that she would keep that part of my heritage alive. This proved to be more difficult than she planned, and resulted in her failure in the end. I understand, however, why her attempt failed. She was, essentially, learning two different languages simultaneously: written Chinese and spoken Chinese. Practice is a necessity when learning another language, but when you live in a rural area with only a limited amount of individuals even capable of speaking the language, it makes practicing nearly impossible. My mother also did not have the luxury of the internet or the resources of a college when she attempted to learn it. All of these factors resulted in her failure. With all of that said, I wished she had continued in her endeavors.

A few years after I arrived in the states, my mother asked me if I wanted to learn my language. I replied with no. I did not grasp the implications of what I had just turned down. In my first year of college, I attempted to learn Chinese for the first time. I quickly found out how difficult it was. After two semesters of the class, I set aside Chinese to pursue my career.  I could kick myself for not taking that opportunity when I was younger and wished my mother would have encourage me more. The distance between myself and China is that much more prominent.

Eventually, I want to pick up my studies in Chinese again. I want to become fluent and not be afraid of others asking me if I can speak the language. When I look at another Chinese person in the face, I want to be able to feel a connection with them and not a distance. If I ever have children, I will encourage them to learn Chinese at a young age. I do not want them to have that disconnection that I had all because of communicate.


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