1. What is your name (Chinese or English)?
新 娘 子 - Xin1 Niang2 Zi3 - The Bride
I was born in GuangZhou, China. My ancestral hometown is 順 德 (Shun4de2 - pronounced SHOON-deh), Guangdong Province. Yes, I'm a 大 陸 妹 (Mainland Girl).
2. How old are you?
3. Do you study Chinese, a native speaker or something else?
I grew up speaking Cantonese, Mandarin and English. I am fluent in all three, but I can't read or write Chinese very well. I can simulate Chinese reading/writing ability amazingly with Chinese software help. =)
4. What dialect do you speak?
I am fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin. I've been told I have no accent in any of the three languages that I speak and I must have a sophistocated enough vocabulary because people who talk to me automatically think I can read and write. =P
I understand over 60%, but can't speak much of Hai3Lu4 Ke4Jia1, Mei2Xian4 Ke4Jia1 and Tai-shan.
5. What do you like/dislike about speaking Chinese?
I dislike the fact that I know so little (my Chinese isn't as spontaneous as my English, I sometimes have to think about things before I can get the phrases out). Especially that I'm so weak in reading and writing. There are so many things I want to learn - I desparately want to read my Great Grandfather's Chinese Medicine diaries (he practiced for over 60 years in ShunDe and kept his own records). I want to understand Chinese Medicine so that I know what I'm getting into when I take something. I also desparately want to read and recite Chinese poetry (I can recite it by sound, but I can't recognize the terms).
I also dislike Simplified Chinese characters. I am beginning to accept this as a part of the evolution of the written language (I have studied Ancient Chinese and Traditional Chinese is huge simplification from the Ancient). The two exceptions I hold (and I'm fairly indignant about these):
Surnames in Simplified characters. This is a matter of respect to me. This is analogous to not capitalizing surnames in English.
The character 愛 (ai4 - love). The Simplified character for "love" does not contain 心 (xin1 - heart) in it. This is atrocious. It's something I will not accept.
And I thought I'd write this here too: Chinese Schools in North America do not work.
Heh, I missed the first part of this question - what do like about Chinese?
It never ceases to amaze me how much conceptual ground one Chinese character can cover. Li Bai's 4-by-4 ditties take monstrous thousand word essays to fully explain in English!! Part of the beauty of Chinese is its metaphoric nature. Symbolism can be blatant symbolism like it is in English or built in to the written language.
Another beauty is the symbiosis of the different parts of Chinese characters. I wrote about it here. =)
6. Are you able to read/write characters?
See above. Not really, but I'm amazing with software help =D
7. Have you ever been to China?
I went on vacation to Beijing, Shanghai, GuangZhou and Hong Kong in 1998. I loved it in China (the incredible British-ness to Hong Kong really annoyed me). I met a whole bunch of family in China that I've never seen before. I distinctly got the feeling that I was "home" when I was there. However, I honestly don't think I could live there. I am far too outspoken and I'm way too ... different ... to be comfortable there long term. My attitudes and upbringing are very Western. Biting my tongue for a month was okay. Keeping my mouth shut long term would not go over well =P
I also went to Taiwan this January to be shown off to my husband's family.