Meet lovely Lily, our native Spanish AND Mandarin Chinese speaking intern. (Although she speaks 5 languages!)

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Hi everyone, my name is Lily Huang. I’m a sophomore student studying Psychology & Spanish in UC Berkeley. I am a new Chinese/Spanish intern for TA-DA!

A little bit about myself: I was born in Venezuela. Lived in China for 7 years, and then moved back to Venezuela for 7 years. I came to the US when I was 14 years old, and I studied high school in San Francisco.

Due to my family background, I can speak 5 languages: Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, Taishanese), Spanish, and English. Currently, I’m learning Japanese and French.  

When I was asked if I would like to write a blog for TA-DA! and talk about my experience about languages and cultures, I immediately accepted the opportunity without hesitation. The existence of language is like oxygen to me. I can’t see it, can’t touch it, can’t smell it, can’t hear it, but without it I can’t live. It played a very important role in my life, especially in my childhood. Language has been my best friend, playmate, teacher and it has accompanied me since I was born.

Many people have asked me what’s the experience of knowing so many languages, and it has been one of most challenging questions to answer for me. I feel like it can’t be answered by one word or one sentence. Therefore, I hope that through this blog, I would be able to deliver my messages and feelings more precisely.

Enjoy!


Chers amis,
What’s the point of learning languages? New languages? Multiples languages? Or even language itself?  

“这样就能体现出你有多牛逼了,可以拿出来炫耀让别人羡慕你有多厉害。”

“識咁多語言,到時候穩工都唔知幾容易,仲要係高工資葛添。”

“Si alguien está hablando cosas malas de ti, tu lo puedes entender y defenderte de ti mismo.”

I looked at the answers I got from informal conversations with my peers, and I questioned myself: is this what it really means? Although I can’t deny that the advantages of knowing multiple languages, is this really the meaning of what learning a language is?

Deep down inside of my heart, I can hear a voice whispering: No, that’s not all true about languages. Language means more than just some superficial benefits it provides. I sat down and thought for a long time. I searched for answers through my memories in my brain, and finally I had an idea. I think language should mean….

….brilliant and warm smiles:

“Lili, me puedes enseñar hablar un poco de chino?”

“Wow, que genial!”

“Lili, qué significa estas palabras?”

“Gracias!”

“Lili, cómo se escribe tonta en chino?”

“Jajaja, que chistoso esas letras!”


….it should mean imagination, creativity, enseñanzas and story tales:

“En el planeta del principito, siempre había habido flores muy simples” ---El principito

“小红帽不知道狼是坏家伙,所以一点也不怕它。” ---小红帽

“Alice had no idea what to do, and in despair she put her hand in her pocket, and pulled out a box of comfits” ---Alice in Wonderland


….it should mean create bridges and remove barriers:

“Bonjour, comment allez vous?”

“Je vais bien et vous? ça va?”

“Oui, ça va. j’ai une question. Est-ce qu’il y a de devoirs pour aujourd'hui?”

“まぁ、おんかが すきましたね。 今なんじですか?”

“12:00です。”

“じゃあ, 昼ごはんお 食べませんか?”

“はい、そうそうしました。 なにをたべましょうか。”


….it should mean one’s origin:

黄:《后汉书·郡国志》曰:“故黄国,赢姓。” ***

淑:其何能淑。――《诗·大雅·桑柔》**

清:沧浪之水清兮。――《孟子》*

*清字的原义是指流水的清澈见底,后来也指其他东西的纯净透明。

**淑字的本义是指流水清澈,后来也指女性的外表美丽,心地善良。

***亡国后的黄国子孙,以国名为姓氏,就是黄氏。


So, what does language actually mean to me? I still don’t think I have a perfect answer for it.

It’s a like puzzle that is still waiting on me to complete. It’s like a puzzle that has endless possible outcomes, but you can only find out how magical and fabulous it is once you complete it.  

我想这就是语言的最迷人之处吧。

Meilleurs vœux,

黄淑清(Lily)

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Lily Huang Chen