Changing Scripts

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Ep 16: Tanya Crossman: Learning Mandarin Chinese on 3 Continents

April 1st, 2019


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In the Podcast episode, we talked to Tanya Crossman, author of Misunderstood The Impact of Growing Up Overseas in the 21st Century  about her experiences learning and using Mandarin Chinese since she was a teenager. Tanya has a deep connection both to Chinese culture and language but her language story does not stop there. It also includes the languages and dialects she was exposed to growing up in different countries, studying 12 languages thus far, dreaming in “the language that is contextually appropriate” and her love of learning language scripts. Tanya’s insights into the cultural aspects of Mandarin Chinese are as clear as can be, even for someone not familiar with Mandarin Chinese at all.

A special thank you to Mo Sibyl from the More Sibyl Podcast. It was her episode with Tanya that got us connected. If you’d like to know more about Tanya’s Third Culture Kid history or research, this is a great episode to listen to.

In the accompanying YouTUBE video,, I dive deeper into two aspects of Tanya’s interview:

1. At the end of every interview I ask the guest what question I should ask future Changing Scripts guests. Tanya added this question: “How did you learn the emotional part of a language?” In this YouTube video, I reach back into my language teaching experience to remember if I helped my students to do this at all.  

2. Out of Tanya’s 12 languages there are a number of different scripts that she has learned. I am in awe with this because I am still struggling to read AND understand my first new script, the hanzi characters of Mandarin Chinese. Learning this new script has made me really understand the difference between reading a word or phrase and understanding what it means. 

This video was filmed while I was walking around Minhang Cultural Park in a Korean neighborhood in Shanghai, China.

THE NEXT Changing Scripts PodTube will be published on Tue, April 27th. You can follow all of our projects here:

Tanya’s Chinese language and culture blog:

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Music courtesy of Damon Castillo,"I Hope You Figured It Out" song on the "Mess of Me" album

This interview was created with: Steph’s mic is a Samson Q2U, we chatted remotely with Zoom remote video software, the podcast was edited with Audacity, a free, open source audio software, and the podcast sound was leveled (evened out) with Auphonic, a free AI leveling software.