Deborah Fallows on Dreaming in Chinese

THU, OCT 7, 2010 (52:27)

Deborah Fallows explores her experiences as an American living in China in her new book, Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language. Deborah Fallows has spent much of her life learning languages and traveling around the world, but nothing prepared her for the surprises of learning Mandarin, China’s most common language, or the intensity of living in Shanghai and Beijing. Over time, she realized that her struggles and triumphs in studying the language of her adopted home provided small clues to deciphering the behavior and habits of its people. As her skill with Mandarin increased, bits of the language–a word, a phrase, an oddity of grammar–became windows into understanding romance, humor, protocol, relationships, and the overflowing humanity of modern China. Here she shares what she discovered about Mandarin, and how those discoveries helped her understand a culture that had at first seemed impenetrable, Dreaming in Chinese opens up China to westerners in an entirely new way.

+ BIO: Deborah Fallows

Deborah Fallows lived in Shanghai and Beijing and traveled throughout China for three years with her husband, James Fallows. She is a Harvard graduate, has a Ph.D. in linguistics, and is the author of A Mother’s Work. She most recently worked in research and polling for the Pew Internet & American Life Project and in data architecture for Oxygen Media.

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