Anyone that has embarked upon the process of learning Mandarin will be well aware that it’s not always smooth sailing. I suppose this is the same with attempting to master anything, but Mandarin seems to present more frequent hiccups than usual. There’s always the danger with a tonal language that you’re saying the right words in the wrong way and thus babbling on to create a string of absolute nonsense. Worse still, what you are saying might make complete sense and be hideously far away from what you intended to say that every participant falls into a daze of complete confusion, and occasionally one might walk away incredibly offended. The struggle was all too real to me the other night when I told my boyfriend, in Chinese, that I wanted to be home and asleep by 12. What I actually told him was that I wanted 12 dumplings.

Fortunately, I like dumplings and would happily eat 12 of them at any hour.

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