Chinese Learner, You Hit the Jackpot
If you are learning basic Mandarin, either as an absolute beginner or as a learner with a bit of Chinese already under your belt, welcome to what may be the best collection of freely accessible web-based learning materials that the internet has to offer.
Hold on a minute. That's quite a claim.
So let's back it up.
Here's what you'll find on MandarinMe.com, just for starters:
- The complete learn pinyin video course to master Chinese pronunciation - This is a series of short video tutorials delivered by an experienced Chinese teacher covering all the sounds of Chinese and their pinyin representation. Using interactive instruction involving drills and quizlets, the course gives you a great foundation for correct Chinese pronunciation. It's free.
- A cool media player with dozens of fresh dialogues ready to play - Optimized for devices of any size, our media player delivers over 50 basic animated Chinese dialogues to help you master everyday Chinese speech and train your ear to understand basic Chinese as it is really spoken. All this pre-intermediate level stuff...free.
But apart from dirty hands, there are some essential ideas regarding the how of learning Chinese that I am offering to share here, which will help guide you on how and why to use any materials, here or otherwise, that you employ in your learning.
Don't Waste Your Time
There are a surprising number of ways to waste your valuable time by studying the wrong thing or the wrong way. And there are a surprising percentage of learners who unknowingly are willing to engage in some of these ineffectual processes.
For example, the study of individual words and memorizing their equivalent in your native language is a sad waste of time if your goal is communication. (Is there any other goal?)
Language is not made up of words in the same way that a house is made up of bricks, as tempting as that analogy might be.
Language is an interconnected system built around interdependencies. It is hugely complex. And there is a way to approach it, there are sure ways of grappling with the system, that will much more directly give us the results we desire.
Our mind is a wonderful processor, that is well suited to the high complexity of language. Give it what it needs and beneath the level of consciousness it can do a lot of the work that would confound your conscious mind.
The rich language chunk - be it a phrase or a sentence - when met with the right attitude and cognitive approach, will gradually yield its fruits and contribute its part to your gradual mastery over the big system.
If we want to master a complex skill such as speaking and listening to a foreign language, we would do well to consider the ways musicians raise themselves to levels of excellence in their domain that like language learning involve mastery of physical abilities combined with extensive internalized 'knowing'.
- Musicians expose themselves to real music from the very beginning.
- They listen extensively. And repetitively.
- Musicians learn whole music pieces or compositions.
- Those who gain the highest proficiency revisit pieces again and again, demanding more proficiency from themselves according to their development.
- Musicians practice scales over and over to improve technique.
Interesting enough. But how does all this apply to how to learning Mandarin?
Good question. And I hope that you are rightly interested enough in how you can chop off years of language learning time to reach your goals to seek out the answer. And to do so means to begin with understanding the the fundamental theorem of language learning.
So much to do, with so little time. Let's get on with it. You're in the right place.
- Learn PinyinLearn pinyin with a series of video tutorials that include interactive speaking exercises. Each tutorial introduces and aids you to master a small set of sounds. Go through the series of about 20 short videos and you will have covered all the sounds of Chinese, and gained a strong basis for Chinese pronunciation that will serve you well as you go on to learn the language.
- Learn Basic ChineseLearn basic Chinese with over 50 simple Mandarin dialogues containing practical language and displaying common customs essential for basic communication. Animations are included to bring the simple conversations to life.
- IntermediateLearn intermediate Chinese by listening to scripted dialogues that explore culturally relevant topics, or go for more challenging texts excerpted from authentic materials and media. Enjoy listening with high quality audio and a media player customized for studying Mandarin.
- AdvancedGet advanced Chinese listening practice by listening to authentic Chinese texts. Include are both the text and mp3 audio recording, presented together in a responsive media player.
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