Bronze traditional ornaments, 1957
We started learning Chinese through Russian, familiar to all foreign students who came from Eastern European democratic countries and spoke basic Russian learned in school. Since Chinese was difficult to speak, we spoke broken Russian between ourselves.
To learn Chinese was unexpectedly difficult, with no similarities with any language we knew. It took time to understand the way it was so different, difficult, dramatic, and funny at the same time an unforgettable experience for all of us.
We laughed a lot at not being able to reproduce the four tones of the Chinese language. Even raising from our chair or squeezing ourselves down, would not help our larynx to correctly “sing” the words associated with tones. It was a nightmare. Most of us, less gifted for languages, never mastered speaking well.