How many of you have written “exercising” or “getting fit” on your New Year’s resolution lists? They’ve been my yearly pledge but still, I don’t have a six-pack. Okay, let’s face it: eating makes us happier than working out. And another thing: these resolutions often are related to vanity so they end up in vain.
Early this month, my hiker friend Liveforfood posted on his WeChat Moments this 30-day challenge:
It’s easy: select that one thing that you want to do for 30 days and mark each number as you finish your task. Then put a “reward,” which you will get after completing the challenge. You can start the challenge anytime, but you need to do achieve the 30-day streak.
Liveforfood made a WeChat group (Personal & Professional Growth) to encourage the members to do their version of the 30-day challenge. Some of the people decided to get fit, others complete a personal goal. How about me? Yes, it’s learning Chinese.
So my goal is to learn at least one Chinese word a day. Any word will do, simply because I want to expand my Chinese vocabulary. I realized that I can learn more words if I select a “base” character and check out the dictionary/Pleco to see its derivatives.
The challenge is complex, however. A Chinese word contains these components: the character, the pinyin, the tone, and the meaning. Beginners might opt just to learn any of these components, though usually learning a word will force you to remember them all.
I began the challenge on January 8, and my very first word/character for the challenge was 老 (lǎo, “old”). I got the inspiration from a meditation session I had attended recently. My friend called the monk who led the session 师父 (shīfu, “master”); I asked if I can call him 老师 (lǎoshī, “teacher”). My friend said yes, though shīfu was much suitable. Then the shīfu explained the context of lǎo in Chinese word construction and gave some derivatives like 老虎 (lǎohǔ, “tiger”); 老伴 (lǎobàn, “grandparent”); and 老爸 (lǎobà, “father”).
I’ve been recording my progress on my Notepad and Twitter (@coolkidandy). So I invite you to also do the challenge – learning more Chinese words or not, just for fun! Let me know your target(s) by leaving a comment below.