Seventh grade adds Mandarin class


Photo Credit: SKopp

China is one of three countries whose official language is mandarin.

by Diarra Smith, Staff Writer

The middle school has begun offering Mandarin as a class for students in seventh grade and up.

This decision has some students jumping at the opportunity to learn a new language. However, some students might be hesitant because of the language’s appearance of difficulty.

Ms. Zheng-yang Yu is in her second year of teaching in middle school and high school. Yu teaches English, English as a Second Language(ESL), and Mandarin Chinese.

Yu is a native Chinese speaker. This allows her to relate to the children she teaches who are currently learning English as their second language. Yu also learned Korean when she was 17 and attempted French at 19, although it didn’t stick as well as Chinese.

Yu believes that although the Chinese language may seem difficult, it is best to not quit because if someone is interested in learning a language, the right mindset will allow them to eventually succeed.

“For a fluent English speaker, Chinese comes off instantly as very difficult because of the differences. All vocabulary is new and different. It’s hard to remember characters while remembering the pronunciation at the same time,” Yu said.

Yu also believes that Chinese can be easy “since there are not conjugations or very strict grammars in Chinese.”

Yu says the best way to comprehend any language is to practice as much as possible. Immersion is the most effective way to reach one’s goal of comprehending a new language. If students don’t have the chance to go to a Chinese-speaking country, then their next-best bet may be to watch TV programs, listen to their radios, etc. in order to become more exposed and familiar to it.

“Never assume that a language is too hard until you have actually tried it for yourself,” Yu said.