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August 28th, 2006

a little less [chinese] conversation?

My Chinese 101 class is composed of four different kinds of people - business students (roughly 75% of the class), international and second-generation students, myself, and Lorenzo. The business students see China as a growing marketplace to be courted over the next several years, although a few are interested in entrepreneurship rather than international trade. The international students in our class come from Japan, Hong Kong, and Macau, while there are also second-generation students who speak Cantonese fluently but who would like to add Mandarin to their linguistic repertoire. Plus, there's a girl in class majoring in English and linguistics that I talked to outside of class on Friday, but more on her later.

Lorenzo, unfortunately, is in a class of his own. On the opening day he introduced himself to everyone within a ten foot radius by telling us his name and boasting of how he just got back from six weeks in China - over and over again. A girl sitting near him had spent a full semester studying at a Korean university, and when Lorenzo heard that he began talking about the Korean alphabet and explaining how it uses a romanized script based on the Latin alphabet. She shrugged apologetically in response, but when I joined the conversation to say that Hangul is an indigenous alphabet rather than a romanized derivative he got really defensive and blurted out, "what, are you a linguist or something?" Not exactly, no, nor would one need to be to know that information.

More on LorenzoCollapse )