A little while ago I said I was thinking of doing a three month polyglot-style mission.
Well, I’m not going to.
Instead, I’m going to do a Khatzumoto-style disappear-permenantly-to-another-country mission. Here it is:
- Within the next year (i.e. 365 days) I will have found work in a Cantonese-speaking area (most likely Hong Kong) and will have flown over there
- By that time, I will be fluent in spoken Cantonese
- I will also be able to read Chinese well (the 3000 most common characters would be a sensible benchmark)
My definition of “fluent” is “can comfortably hold conversations on a variety of topics at full speed”. Realistically, I don’t think I’m million miles away – I think my main problem at the moment is likely to be vocabulary (all that grammar work paid off!) I will be concentrating on speaking over the next six months.
As far as reading is concerned, I need to do quite a lot of work – this will take up the second half of my year. I can already read quite a lot (thanks largely to Chinese subtitles) – again, it’s donkey work from here on to learn the less common characters. Naturally, 1) being able to speak and 2) having learnt to write all the characters before, this shouldn’t be an impossible challenge.
I think/hope this should give me a really good shot at being able to work in Hong Kong. The main obstacles are likely to be (as always) getting distracted with things like Japanese and Mandarin and social obligations. I’m already well ahead in my mission, of course – I’ve clocked up a fair number of hours already (although not enough for fluency, clearly), so we’ll see how it goes.
EDIT: I (my friends) have done a little digging since this morning – if I’m fluent in Cantonese and can read Chinese, I’ll have just enough points to be eligible for a visa! Hooray! The other way would just be to work for another year and get by with English, but that would be a sucky way to get into Hong Kong.