我名叫吳星燁，在臺灣長大，來美國已經四年了，現在培德女中讀初三。因為在美國久了，中文也忘得差不多了，有時和同學談天會鬧出一堆語言上的笑話。一次，我拿了一顆水果給旁邊的同學，心裡想說的是「You can have this」，但是腦子裡直接翻出的卻是「你可以有這個。」旁人聽得一頭霧水。可是現在很多同學很不幸地被我「染汙」，聽了也都見怪不怪，覺得很正常。眞是！
有一次媽媽問我某位同學叫什麼名字，我腦子裡想著「I don't really know her」，說出來的竟是「我不熟她。」如果你也聽不懂的話，我的意思是「我和她不熟。」媽媽聽了以為我在說外星人話。又有一次；不只一次，好多次，寫字時一大堆簡單的字忘了怎麼寫，問人時，常得到別人「na -ei -a- nei」，臺語「怎麼這樣」的眼神。
My name is Shirley Wu. Like many of the students here, I grew up in Taiwan. I've been living in the United States for four years and have nearly forgotten the Chinese I learned in Taiwan. During conversations with my schoolmates, ridiculous language errors flow out of my mouth without my even knowing. Sometimes those words become unreasonable and ultimate jokes. For example, one day, I passed an apple to my classmate. I meant to tell her, "You can have this," but I literally said the four words, "You can have this" in Chinese. Ac- cording to Chinese grammar, what I said was total nonsense. No one understood what I was saying, and everyone was confused.
Unfortunately, people are so used to such nonsense now that they aren't even aware that it is incorrect...(sigh). Now check this one out. One day, my mother asked me, "Who's that new student in the school?" I was thinking, "I don't really know her." So I told her that in Chinese. However, as mentioned, I've forgotten how to put words together and express them in Chinese, so again I made a total fool out of myself by saying something like "Wo bu shu ta ( 我 不熟她)." A Chinese person would probably think that I had said, "I didn't cook her." My mother's reaction was, "Now, what's that again?!" She thought I was speaking some alien language from Mars.
Also, sometimes—many, many times—I forget how to write simple Chinese characters (ones that even first grade students should know). When I ask my friends for help, they often give me a "na ei a nei" (Taiwanese for "What?" ) look. Not only do other people think I'm pretty sad, I also think my Chinese is really getting to be pathetic.
On the other hand, there are also some benefits here. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is quite an international community. Since we have contact with people of all different nationalities, we tend to know more languages. When we talk to each other, we often use more than one language. Sometimes I carry on a conversation such as this with my Mom: "Mom, wo ke yi ('may I' in Chinese) have li a ('your' in Taiwanese) coffee?" or "You no (possessive in Japanese) pen diao le ('fell on the floor' in Chinese)," etc. These conversations are always capable of making my Mom faint right on the spot. I would say that I expect to learn more conversational Chinese in my Chinese class. If I can't even get my conversational Chinese straight, learning ancient Chinese classics seems...never mind. I would just love to have some plain, simple Chinese lessons.