Anita Dai

1 June 2020

Traveling around China in 1993 with Mark was one of the highlights of my Carleton experience.

At Nankai University, he taught a great class on Chinese linguistics that still inspires me today. However, outside of that class, he taught me perhaps the most important lesson of my life. One day, shortly after we arrived in Tianjin, he set me down and had a serious conversation with me. Armed with a tape recorder, he revealed to me something that I had been doing wrong for twenty years. Instead of pronouncing my name “Juan”, which in Chinese means graceful and beautiful, I had been saying, “Zhuan”, which means brick. Somehow, despite growing up speaking Chinese with my parents and their friends, no one had ever had taken the initiative to correct my pronunciation. I guess after a couple of days of watching me introduce myself to people as a brick, Mark just couldn’t take it anymore. Thank you Mark! I’m sure there are other ways I am still obliviously and publicly embarrassing myself, and it would be awesome if you were around to help.