My Article on Third Ear Pages 16-17

Share the story about the Author’s train trip to Beidaihe

A newly made Palestinian friend took the author and two New Zealand students off to Beidaihe,a Chinese seaside resort northeast of Beijing.They went by train, spent a couple of days chilling out,then had to head back to Beijing to begin the process of finding out which classes we would be assigned to.At that time,public transport was pretty limited in China —more people wanting to travel than there was vehicle availability.They had left the purchase of tickets until far too late.It would be three or four days before they could get seats.They got on the train anyway, paid for the price of a ticket and the fine for being on board, then camped down in the dining car for the six-hour overnight trip back to Beijing.Ten minutes after they had pulled out of the station a man in an official-looking cap and white jacket approached the author.He found out a little later that he was a railway security guard.He sat down, smiled,and began talking.They talked for six hours straight, all in Chinese,all night.The guard didn’t understand a word of English.Initially,the author didn’t understand much of what the guard said.But the guard apparently had nothing important to do,and neither of them was going to anywhere,so they stuck with it.The guard drew pictures,and wrote out Chinese characters for the author,and mimed things.As they talked the author increasingly got the sense that he understood what the guard was saying.His notebook was covered in scribbled notes and little pictures.That night, he was probably exposed to a thousand words,and most of the commonly used element of the Chinese language.He couldn’t pin them all down, but he could sense the patterns that  were emerging.An important idea that,sensing the patterns.

Write about the key ideas from the author that came out of his train trip to Beidaihe.How do these ideas match your own experience?

An important idea that, sensing the patterns.I tried to pin all the English words down, but that’s too hard.I had no chance to sense the patterns, and even don’t know to do this.I simply translated Chinese into English.I’d never thought of the rules that native speakers stick words together to create meaning.Maybe sensing the patterns I can get these rules.

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