Around PVHS: Chinese Club

Government/Chinese teacher Siri Horton and student Robert Smith tell us about Chinese culture and language.

Around PVHS: Chinese Club

Alondra Chavez, Journalism

After school, the Chinese Club at Pahrump Valley High School gets together with teacher Siri Horton. Horton started to learn Chinese culture and language at the end of her senior year of high school. Ever since then Horton has known the Chinese language. Her interest in wanting to learn Chinese was because Horton saw China and the Chinese perspective as a “beautiful, deep and complex culture that no one knows about.” Which led her to wonder about a lot of different things she would want to know about the Chinese language. Horton wondered “Why is this giant country here, that has so many people, and no one knows about it?” Which led to her learning it because she was curious, while also letting students have a chance to learn something new that many schools don’t really have the chance to. With that being said, Horton wants the students at school to have an opportunity to learn another language so that they can have something additional to put a college application but yet know something fun and unique. 

Ms. Siri Horton

Horton teaches her Chinese club students the language and its culture. One thing that Horton finds interesting/fascinating in her eye is this specific word called “guanxi” (关系). The word guanxi stands for relationships. Horton’s way of explaining guanxi is “it’s an idea of networking, in which you always have to be putting things into relationships.” An example of this is when you and your friend go out to eat, you pay for the bill, but you don’t split it in half. Afterward, they would repay you, not necessarily in the same way but as another act of kindness so that they can feel comfortable around each other yet if something comes to happen they feel safe and they accept your help in whatever way. Having guanxi makes relationships and friendships in Chinese culture very united.

One of the hardest things for Horton to teach is the tones in the Chinese language. In The English language, there’s only one certain way of speaking because English has different words for almost everything and everyone. In the Chinese language, one word is four different types of words or even more, just depending. You have to show your expression when you speak Chinese because, if not, that one specific word that you are trying to say can be offensive or just incorrect to the whole situation that is happening around you. Besides that, I asked Horton if she could do anything if she had unlimited sources for her Chinese club what would she do? She said,  “I would take summer trips to China if I had unlimited resources, I would do that in a heartbeat.” 

Robert Smith

Chinese club member, Robert Smith says that what interested him in learning Chinese was that “My mom used to be fluent in Chinese but she kind of fell out of it and I just decided to pick it up.” What Smith likes about the Chinese club, in general, is that it’s open to anyone that wants to join. It’s not a conservative club, and it allows people to enjoy and learn about other cultures. Smith says the hardest thing to learn about the language is the tones/symbol because there are high tones, low tones, and flat tones. In the English language, the end to every word ends with a flat tone but in the Chinese language, it’s completely different because the tones depend on how you want the words to come out.

If you are interested in more information about the Chinese club, please reach out to Ms. Siri Horton.