Day #20 – First Day of Class | The Dreaded 書面語

Taiwan 2018

Updated: June 19, 2018

The first day of class has finally come and now we come to the “study” portion of my study abroad. Before I describe some of what we did, let me first explain some plans for the future.

So, I have class from 10am to 6pm. I then go to the gym until about 8pm. Exercise is followed by a two hour study session, terminating at 10pm. This only leaves about 2-3 hours to go out. Therefore, my plan is to take these few hours and do ONE interesting thing everyday.

By doing one interesting thing each day, I am not only improving my Chinese but also have a memorable experience for each day. This also means I have something to share every daily vlog/blog. Of course, the weekend leaves more time to go out and really explore. Now, on to my classes.

My classes consist of: a newspaper reading class, focusing on how to recognize and read 書面語(shu1mian4yu3)(more on this later);a core course designed to raise your speaking level; and a one on one course where you read and talk about a newspaper article every class.

書面語 is one style of Chinese and is most used in written publications and formal spoken language. This style language is much different than 口語(kou3yu3), which is the typical, spoken language.

書面語 has many rules, or 規則(gui1ze2) guiding its usage but there are some consistent things. Words are often lengthened to form two character words. For example, the word money, or 錢(qian2), becomes the word 金錢(jin1qian2). They both carry the same meaning, but one is more formal. Also, some words are replaced all together. For example, the word and, 和(he2), is not used and the word 向(xiang4) is often used instead.

書面語 literally means “book-face-language” and is often condensed versus regular spoken language. Since it is used on “book-faces”, page space is limited and so some words are often omitted. Some example are, 而且(er2qie3, therefore) becomes 且, and 以及(yi3ji2, as well as) becomes 及.

Hopefully with this blog post, you learned a little more about Chinese grammar and spoken language. If you have any questions or comments, you can always comment below or shoot me an email.

Link to today’s vlog:

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