Mother tongue

I just had my Japanese lesson. Kanji is slightly easier for me to pick up than katakana (i have memorized the latter at least five times and i still forget. Now i just give up. I will only learn it ONE day before my Japanese exam if i really intend to take it at the end of this year).

Except just now my Japanese tutor asked if a certain Kanji character was written in the same way as its Chinese counterpart, and it took me a few minutes, and several frantic writings and corrections before i remembered how to write the correct Chinese character. Then i knew i am doomed. I am forgetting my own mother tongue.

Argh. I need to physically sit myself down and force myself to pore over at least one Chinese newspaper article once a week, just like i did back in high school. How can i explain to someone that i am picking up the Japanese and Spanish languages only to not know how to speak my own tongue?

Update: Oh wow, i discovered a site where they provide news in Chinese (simplified characters) with each character annotated with the hanyin pinyin and its meaning in English. I’m impressed and thrilled at the same time. Finally i know what 伊拉克 (Iraq) and 巴格达 (Bagdad) mean. Can never understand when i listen to my Chinese news podcast (in another attempt to improve my grasp of the language).

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