This has probably been said before but I gotta vent.
So I’ve been taking Mandarin lessons for almost three months and am building up a good foundation. My lessons are one-on-one from a private Taiwanese tutor.
I worked on pronunciation over and over and over with my tutor until she was happy, especially with numbers. Now I’m actually moving on to the how, when, why and past and future tense. Yet almost every time I speak Mandarin to a native speaker, they look at my like I’m from planet Zero.
Today I walked into the post office to get a NT$60 stamp and requested it in Mandarin, and the guy looked at my as if I was speaking Greek. Same goes for whenever I’m out with my Chinese GF. Even if I’m speaking to someone who knows me in passing, such as the 7-Eleven worker. If my GF is with me they totally ignore me and look at her. She’ll say it exactly the way I say it, yet they act as though they can’t understand me.
What is with this country? Are most Taiwanese under the impression that nobody can speak Mandarin except them? I have to admit that it was almost the same in S.Korea. As soon as you start speaking their language, their faces go blank.
Is it an ignorance that there are indeed other people in this world who are capable of learning another language? Are most under the impression that they can learn English but we can’t learn Mandarin? I have long become accustomed to being stared at like I’m some walking manikin who actually knows how to eat and pay for things. (I just love it when they stare at me when I’m eating).
But I’m almost ready to give up trying to communicate in their language and just go back to waving my arms around and writing things down. It’s too bad because I really enjoy my lessons and sincerely want to learn conversational Mandarin. But things were a lot easier and much less frustrating when I didn’t know how to speak it and never tried.