MandarinMe is a site chock full of goodies for learning Chinese.
The basic level materials (I call them levels 1 and 2) are video tutorials, simple dialogues, and instructive articles that my wife, a Chinese teacher, and myself compiled over the years to help learners get a good handle on practical, basic Chinese, useful for everyday communication. They are free for you to use.
The intermediate and advanced items (levels 3-5) consist of items that I have assembled from a variety of sources in order to help myself improve my own Mandarin skills. These ones required a paid membership if you want to join me in using them, but you are free to browse them before signing up. I'm actively adding to these materials these days and expect to continue doing so for a while.
For starters, you can take a look at any of these resources depending on your needs:
- 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.
- For Beginners: 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.
- For Intermediate and Advanced Learners: More scripted dialogs plus authentic texts playable in the media player.
Apart from these, there are also some essential information and concepts regarding the how of learning Chinese. You can find some of these articles here.
Don't Waste 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 ineffective activities.
A good practice is to favor language chunks over single words.
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 at all levels of learning - from beginning to advanced - we have to take language as it occurs naturally, and not overly abstract it.
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.
If you're curious how this all might tie into learning Chinese, you can start with learning about the the fundamental theorem of language learning.
So much to do, with so little time. I hope you find the resources here to be helpful in your exciting journey to Mandarin mastery!
- BeginnerLearn basic Chinese with the pinyin video course and 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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