I enjoyed teaching Mandarin to Laura and Candace this month. I hope they now like the Chinese language more than before they started learning from me. But if you asked me how much they have actually learned, I would say this: I didn't want to push them too hard; I don't want students (or friends) of mine to lose interest in what they're leaning just because I teach them too much at a time. The truth is that language learning takes time; it should be carried on step by step, not in haste, but with some patience, and with sort of interest -- or motivation.
So, my dear Laura and Candace, please believe that it doesn't matter how much Mandarin you have learned this summer, but if you keep on learning and practicing this "tone language" (which has 4 tones and a neutral tone), you'll find that it really sounds like a piece of music: Every single word or phrase is said (as sung) in different pitches -- in the "high" or "low" and "rising" or "falling" tones and, as you can hear, some combinations of these four tones and a neutral one. Why not master Chinese tones? They sound somewhat strange to you, but they are as beautiful as music, aren't they?
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