This week I made some of my first attempts at leading a Mandarin Chinese Language Hunting game. I’ve studied the language for about two years, and although my intonation isn’t perfect, I thought it would be a fun one to start with. Applying Technique Mumble shifted the focus away from the more complex facets of Mandarin (i.e. tonality) and gave room for more attention to the structure of Hunting.
The other players had never Language Hunted before and, honestly, prior to the first round, I had never lead an entire game on my own either! A sense of excitement filled all of us.
We completed the first few rounds but not without sputters of confusion and revision throughout.
The most difficult aspect for me, thus far, is knowing (or perhaps remembering) where to go next within the game. At the Irish Hunting Workshop, a few weekends ago, we had a huge “Getting to the Party” (what we call reaching the Intermediate Level of a language) poster on the wall which pin-pointed the crucial topics that needed to be included in the game. As of yet, without something or someone to guide me, the sequence of adding bits of language can get messy and that can make the game confusing for everyone playing. Knowing what language to add, in which order, all the while trying to make sure I fully introduce the phrases we are working with, plus tracking of the order of asking and answering- It’s a lot to keep a handle on!
To better understand where I am steering the game I’ve begun to think about it’s configuration in two ways.
The first way of thinking about the order of topics came after a realization that Language Hunting it’s self is not “the game”, but instead a mode or system of play (i.e. Hunting by applying specific Techniques) used to navigate through small, short games. I imagine, if you break-up “Getting to the Party” into “Bite Sized Pieces” we have the small, short games that we play while hunting. For example, game one is, “What is That?”, game two is, “Who’s is that?”, etc.
The reason why I can distinguish these as separate games comes from the idea that, with each, we are focusing on different themes, as well as using different means to do so. Take a second to think about the two card games “Old Maid” and “Go Fish”. The goal in both of these games is to get cards from your opponent in order to create matches, but the means of acquiring cards is different. In one, you simply pull a card from your opponents hand, in the other, you must ask for the card you desire. I see the games of Language Hunting in the same way. The goal of all the games is to “Get to the Party”. The difference in these is the language we are using to get there, and additionally the techniques we are applying. Thinking about Language Hunting as “Bite Sized Pieces” games, each with their own specifications for play, makes them easier to mentally organize. This is opposed to seeing Language Hunting as the whole game, in which deciphering the content can be a daunting task.
The second way I’ve been making sense of the order of topics is by imagining Language Hunting as a stone pathway, where each game is a stone in a path. If I follow every stone in the path in consecutive order it will lead me to the end point, “The Party”. I plan on using this mental imagery as a skeleton for a mnemonic. Obviously, I’m still in the process of developing this idea, but hopefully using this mental imagery will make it much easier for me to remember the directions to the party!
More Hunting is on my agenda for this week. We’ll see where it takes me.
I’m really enjoying hearing your journey towards mastery of language hunting, Maggie!