Want to brush up your Chinese? Join the club

January 27th, 2009 - 11:43 am ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Jan 27 (IANS) “Ni hao!” If you have studied Chinese earlier and these words don’t ring a bell, then “Hello”, join the ‘Chini Adda’ club here to brush up your knowledge of Mandarin.Indians who learn Chinese often forget the language due to lack of practice. To solve this problem, a Chinese speaking club has been formed with the assistance of the Chinese consulate here.

The Chini Adda, or the Chinese corner, is the brainchild of Madan Saraf, founder of the School of Chinese Language here.

Saraf hopes the club will not only provide a platform for speaking in Chinese, but also further Sino-Indian cultural ties.

“I met some Indians in Kolkata who have spent 3-5 years to learn Chinese long back. But now they have completely forgotten the language due to lack of practice,” Saraf told IANS.

“As a solution, we decided to form a Chinese club or corner, Chini Adda, in Kolkata, where all Chinese-speaking people can come together and interact in Chinese. The Chinese consulate is also helping us with the project. This is the first of its kind not only in Kolkata but in India,” Saraf said.

Native Chinese speakers will attend the club sessions to help Indians with pronunciation.

“Anyone from any part of India or world can join this club; the only criteria is that whatever you discuss, you have to speak Chinese. This way, the language part will be taken care of,” Saraf said.

“And as a bonus, there will be a cultural exchange between Indians and Chinese.”

Saraf said to start with, the club members will meet once a week.

Initially, there will be no fixed place for the get-togethers.

“It’s often seen that people start feeling uncomfortable if they are put inside a room and asked to interact with strangers. Hence we have decided to keep the first few sessions at public places like restaurants or parks, like the language clubs in China and Germany.”

Later, Saraf said, a proper club will be set up.

“We have already talked to both the central and state governments, asking them to provide a good place for our club.”

For the time being there will be no membership fee either. The Chinese language school and the consulate will bear the cost initially.

“But later, we may have to impose a minimal fee of say Rs.200 a month,” Saraf said.

The first session of the ‘adda’ was held Friday at a restaurant at Kolkata’s Chinatown. About 30 people from different Chinese language schools, universities, as well as native Chinese, took part.

(Sreya Basu can be contacted at sreya.b@ians.in)

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