In the time before YAMU I spent a fair while toiling in the Middle Kingdom. During this time I managed to pick up a bit of Mandarin- somewhere between I can communicate and low grade fluency.
On my return to the island however I feared that my slight grasp of the 21st century’s language of power would slip so I searched high and low for language partners and classes. I didn’t have to look too far though before I discovered my Saturday intermediate class at Lumbini College. It’s run by the Confucius Institute – (China’s Goethe Institute equivalent) out of a converted class room (comfortable, AC, working PCs) in the Colombo 5 boys school. Six months instruction costs just Rs. 6000 and the teachers are experienced teachers of CFL (Chinese as a foreign language) from the mainland.
Crucially they are patient, enthusiastic and dont just regurgitate the text book at you. Nor are they too hard core (I have never completed any of the homework but they don’t seem to mind).
It’s a very pleasant two hours I spend practicing my tones, measure words, and ba constructions every week and it’s well worth Rs 6000. Most importantly for those with no prior knowledge of Chinese they offer beginners classes – Saturdays 11.30- 1 PM, Rs 6000 for six months. Judging by the standard of the intermediate class this is probably the most accessible and best value introduction to Chinese available in Colombo. The class seems to be for everyone, kids, adults, students, professionals…. and if you are free on Saturday this is a pretty worthwhile thing to do with your time. Chinese really isn’t that hard(spoken Chinese has virtually no grammar, learning the thousands of characters you need to read though is a pain ) and it gives you access and an insight to about a fifth of the world’s people.
Call- 2589747, 0779213368