Someone asked if Mr. Tibbs could speak Chinese. I thought this was a good question since he said he spent some time there, so when he woke up, I asked him.
“我会讲中文,” he said to me. I did not understand. He laughed and then said, “我可以教你.” I shook my head, still having no idea what he was saying. I never heard a bear speak Chinese before.
“I said ‘I can speak Chinese, and I can teach you’,” Mr. Tibbs explained. He rustled through his collection of books (since he arrived a few days ago, several more large boxes containing his personal items arrived at the door), then opened up to a page in a yellow book.
“Wow! This is a lot different than English,” I exclaimed. “Are those words? They look like little sticks.”
“These are called Chinese characters. In Chinese, there are no letters and there is no alphabet. Every word has a different character.” Mr. Tibbs flipped the page.
“I will never understand Chinese…it’s too hard and complicated,” I sighed.
“Of course you can learn it, Ajdin,” said Mr. Tibbs as he patted me on the head. “I learned it, and you can too. You learned English, didn’t you? I bet that wasn’t easy, but here you are speaking fluent English. There is no limit to what you can learn if you work hard at it.”
“Yeah, you’re right, Mr. Tibbs. I guess I can do it.” I flipped to the first page and began to read.
“你好,” I struggled to say. (That means ‘hello’ in Chinese.)
“Please call me Uncle Tibbs from now on. I have a feeling we bears are all related somehow anyways.”
Learning languages is fun! How many languages do you speak?