Right now, I am having zǎocān(breakfast). This afternoon, I’ll have wǔcān(lunch). I think I’ll go to my local xinjiang cāntīng (restaurant) and chī(eat) xīhóngshì jīdàn fàn (egg, tomato and rice). Unike in Měiguó, (the USA) where I’d eat with a chā (fork), in Zhōngguó (China) I usually use kuàizi (chopsticks).
I don’t have any plans for wǎncān (dinner) yet.
I’m going to tell the truth: I don’t actually try to remember every single phrase in this book. When trying to learn a new language, it’s best to begin with words and phrases that you may plausibly use in your every day life. In my case, my “daily Chinese” usually only consists of basic interactions at restaurants, coffee shops, random street encounters and, sometimes, communicating with my landlord (Again, I’m an English teacher, so when I’m with Chinese speakers I’m typically encouraging them to only speak English).
Anyway, my point: China now has a public ban on smoking in public places. Why does this matter? Well, for me, it matters because I’m probably not going to be in a situation where someone asks me if I want a Xīyān huò fēi xīyān biǎo (smoking or non-smoking table?). So I’m probably not going to spend time trying to remember that one. Not now, at least.
As an ESL teacher, I always encourage students to focus on vocabulary and language they are going to use in every day life – for business, chatting, traveling, etc. Repetition of a word or phrase, in the context of a real-life situation, is the key to processing and storing information.
In some small way, I suppose that I’m now learning that myself.