Thursday, June 07, 2007

Language exchange

The summer cold is disappearing, work is going in the right direction, a host of new Couchsurfers are about to turn up and things are as non-stop as ever.

In my not so spare, spare time I've been doing some audio recording work for a publishing company out here which produces teaching material for schools. I have, give or take, a reasonably 'standard' British-English accent and this is rather sought after out here where the majority of English speaking expats are from the US, Australia or Canada.

For a couple of early mornings over the last week I've spent around 3 hours sat in a recording studio reading at varying speeds from very, very slowly to a reasonably fast, but clearly annunciated, rate on a variety of topics from Sherlock Holmes to cross-species animals (I've learnt a great deal about zonies, ligers (the largest cats in the world) and wolphins) and from World domination by China in 2057 to the history of global discovery. I've read poems and taught unknown millions of Chinese children how to say 'I love you' in Indonesian, Spanish, French and a variety of other badly pronounced languages.

I'll try and find out just how many Chinese children will be speaking with my accent over the next few years and should be able to get hold of a set of the language courses when they are published.

It's been another interesting experience, although I've found that talking almost non-stop for two and a half hours, at a very slow pace, can be exhausting. This has also meant some very long days, but the pay that one can get to do this sort of work is hard to turn down when you spend most of your time on a local wage - not that a local wage is hard to live on when accommodation is heavily subsidised.

I read recently that Beijing is one of the most expensive cities in the world. I can only imagine that this is almost entirely down to the cost of housing, which can be extortionate. One could easily live on a dollar a day out here if it were necessary.


Anyway, later today I'm picking up a Couchsurfer from Malaysia who will be staying at my flat until next week. Couchsurfers from the States, Russia and the UK will be staying over the next couple of months.

Chinese lessons are back on this evening after a short hiatus and though I've been steadily working through the audio courses, I need to find some hidden minutes to go through the characters. Spare minutes are hiding from me more and more these days.

...Mathematica has finished spitting out numbers, I'd better find out what it all means.

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