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Old 04-11-2014, 11:14 AM
 
151 posts, read 223,713 times
Reputation: 188

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I will be in China for two weeks next year. Just for the fun of it, I want to be able to speak some Mandarin when I get there. Has anyone learn to speak Mandarin in a year? Should I just focus on the speech or not? The written part seems very daunting. What is the best way to learn? I am using Pimsleur Mandarin CDs and have done 15 out of 80 lessons.
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Old 04-11-2014, 03:46 PM
 
164 posts, read 220,374 times
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Very easy bro if you are vietnamese, simply go to your local Asian restaurant, they will teach you a little or find some Chinese language tutor in college..
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Old 04-11-2014, 05:32 PM
 
307 posts, read 474,189 times
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Default Learning Mandarin

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattNguyen View Post
I will be in China for two weeks next year. Just for the fun of it, I want to be able to speak some Mandarin when I get there. Has anyone learn to speak Mandarin in a year? Should I just focus on the speech or not? The written part seems very daunting. What is the best way to learn? I am using Pimsleur Mandarin CDs and have done 15 out of 80 lessons.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MattNguyen: Yes, it is possible to learn (read & write as well) in a year. I was a student at the Defense Language Institute learning Chinese-Mandarin some years back. It was grueling, frustrating, daunting, yes...but had a lot of fun! It was a small class of 10 students...and 5 teachers alternating. Lots of realia, props, "acting out" (almost like a drama class), daily dialogues between students plus grilling from the teachers, full immersion approach, situational discussions, writing characters methodically, memorizing all 214 radicals and blending them with other characters and try to make sense out of them; 8-hours a day...for the entire length of the course: 52 weeks. Plus mandatory study period 2 hours every evening. We slept with our earphones plugged to the tape recorder...listening to Chinese language sounds. As we progressed in the course...it only got more difficult. By the 40th week, we were reading Chinese newspaper articles, translating them...and discussing with fellow classmates. We were also required to see a Chinese movie in town...every other week. After we return to class, we were tested on the movie. The films had subtitles but didn't help us; it was in Chinese characters. So the non-Mandarin speaking viewers can understand what's going by reading the subtitles.

May I suggest: Practice with a native speaker as much as you can. Pronunciation is most important. Many words in Chinese sound alike...and even sound the same, save for the tones that distinguishes one meaning for another similarly sounding word. Even so, there are many sound-alikes with same tones...and if not used in the proper context will sound meaningless to the native ears. If you can't practice with a friend...make frequent visits to Chinese-speaking parts of town and hopefully, you find a sympathetic native speaker to help you out. Once you've mastered the pronunciation technique...you have to practice putting words together in sentences. Sounds different when they're strung together.

Listening to Pimsleaur CDs is a good start...but not enough. Now you have to be able to apply what you learned to the appropriate situation in real-life...when you go visit there next year. You have to practice everyday...lesson by lesson, then apply what you learned (essentially memorized) as you go. Get a bunch of stickys...little yellow ones. Write the chinese equivalent and stick them on each pertinent item around your home to help you remember them in Chinese. Then you have to constantly mumble in Chinese...as you go around the house identifying those items. Put those words into action. When you go to the kitchen to wash dishes...say what you are going to do in Chinese. When you prepare supper...do it aloud in Chinese. When you go to the groceries...bring your cheat cards with you...so you can read from them and name grocery items in Chinese as you fill your shopping cart. Sure, others overhearing you might think you're nuts. Ignore them...guess who is going to have fun applying what you learn when you go to China? That's what we did at DLI...until we got to the point where we can't speak English anymore! After a while...you start thinking and dreaming in Chinese. But don't worry...you won't really forget how to think and speak in English.

After many years (and several other languages I picked up in my travels around the world), I am re-learning Chinese-Mandarin. Much of my proficiency in Chinese has been lost..but is now coming back. Need to keep practicing...and mumbling to myself as I go around doing my daily chores. I am also practicing calligraphy. Too bad that since they simplified the writing...it is not longer as artfully sophisticated and beautiful as it was in the old days. But probably easier to learn...according to Mao.
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Old 04-13-2014, 09:18 PM
 
151 posts, read 223,713 times
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Hi FCStraight,

Thank you for your detail and very helpful reply. I have signed up with a local Mandarin meetup group of about 10 to 15 people who get togetther and speak Mandarin. There are at least two to three native Mandarin speakers in there and we will meet once a week. I also joined a Mandarin class which meets once a week for three hours. In the mean time, I will continue to listen to the Pimsleur CDs. Your suggestion of using sticky notes is very ingenious way to learn. I will also look for Movies in Mandarin. Luckily, about 20-30% of Vietnamese vocabulary is borrowed from Chinese so it helps a little bit. Although these loanwords don't sound exactly the same but once I recognized that they are loan words I remember them immediately.
WOLD -

Many thanks,


Quote:
Originally Posted by FCStraight View Post
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MattNguyen: Yes, it is possible to learn (read & write as well) in a year. I was a student at the Defense Language Institute learning Chinese-Mandarin some years back. It was grueling, frustrating, daunting, yes...but had a lot of fun! It was a small class of 10 students...and 5 teachers alternating. Lots of realia, props, "acting out" (almost like a drama class), daily dialogues between students plus grilling from the teachers, full immersion approach, situational discussions, writing characters methodically, memorizing all 214 radicals and blending them with other characters and try to make sense out of them; 8-hours a day...for the entire length of the course: 52 weeks. Plus mandatory study period 2 hours every evening. We slept with our earphones plugged to the tape recorder...listening to Chinese language sounds. As we progressed in the course...it only got more difficult. By the 40th week, we were reading Chinese newspaper articles, translating them...and discussing with fellow classmates. We were also required to see a Chinese movie in town...every other week. After we return to class, we were tested on the movie. The films had subtitles but didn't help us; it was in Chinese characters. So the non-Mandarin speaking viewers can understand what's going by reading the subtitles.

May I suggest: Practice with a native speaker as much as you can. Pronunciation is most important. Many words in Chinese sound alike...and even sound the same, save for the tones that distinguishes one meaning for another similarly sounding word. Even so, there are many sound-alikes with same tones...and if not used in the proper context will sound meaningless to the native ears. If you can't practice with a friend...make frequent visits to Chinese-speaking parts of town and hopefully, you find a sympathetic native speaker to help you out. Once you've mastered the pronunciation technique...you have to practice putting words together in sentences. Sounds different when they're strung together.

Listening to Pimsleaur CDs is a good start...but not enough. Now you have to be able to apply what you learned to the appropriate situation in real-life...when you go visit there next year. You have to practice everyday...lesson by lesson, then apply what you learned (essentially memorized) as you go. Get a bunch of stickys...little yellow ones. Write the chinese equivalent and stick them on each pertinent item around your home to help you remember them in Chinese. Then you have to constantly mumble in Chinese...as you go around the house identifying those items. Put those words into action. When you go to the kitchen to wash dishes...say what you are going to do in Chinese. When you prepare supper...do it aloud in Chinese. When you go to the groceries...bring your cheat cards with you...so you can read from them and name grocery items in Chinese as you fill your shopping cart. Sure, others overhearing you might think you're nuts. Ignore them...guess who is going to have fun applying what you learn when you go to China? That's what we did at DLI...until we got to the point where we can't speak English anymore! After a while...you start thinking and dreaming in Chinese. But don't worry...you won't really forget how to think and speak in English.

After many years (and several other languages I picked up in my travels around the world), I am re-learning Chinese-Mandarin. Much of my proficiency in Chinese has been lost..but is now coming back. Need to keep practicing...and mumbling to myself as I go around doing my daily chores. I am also practicing calligraphy. Too bad that since they simplified the writing...it is not longer as artfully sophisticated and beautiful as it was in the old days. But probably easier to learn...according to Mao.
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:26 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,292,483 times
Reputation: 7587
Learn the spoken language. I don't think you can master the written Chinese. Hardly any westerners are fluent in written Chinese, even those who spent years in China.
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:38 PM
 
6 posts, read 3,933 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattNguyen View Post
I will be in China for two weeks next year. Just for the fun of it, I want to be able to speak some Mandarin when I get there. Has anyone learn to speak Mandarin in a year? Should I just focus on the speech or not? The written part seems very daunting. What is the best way to learn? I am using Pimsleur Mandarin CDs and have done 15 out of 80 lessons.
Hello Matt,
I'm Chinese and I'd like to help if you have any questions that other learners can not help you.
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:08 AM
 
Location: NYC
1,863 posts, read 1,710,185 times
Reputation: 1300
What precisely is the benefit in learning mandarin for a year just to use it for only 2 weeks in china? Before you know it your stay there will be over.

I took mandarin in school for a 1.5 years and learned how to say simple phrases and write simple sentences and I was fairly good in my class. I would not have done well in china. Perhaps if I had lived in china and was learning mandarin there it would have been a different story.
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Old 04-19-2014, 12:20 PM
 
151 posts, read 223,713 times
Reputation: 188
I also have many friends in the US who speak Mandarin. Besides, it is a new hobby of mine, like a challenge. Not unlike someone who spends time on solving puzzles. You can also say it is a waste of time solving puzzles. It keeps the mind sharp. I have an over hour one way drive to work and I am tired of listening to the news (mostly negative) and music. So why not learn a new language?

Quote:
Originally Posted by krichton View Post
What precisely is the benefit in learning mandarin for a year just to use it for only 2 weeks in china? Before you know it your stay there will be over.

I took mandarin in school for a 1.5 years and learned how to say simple phrases and write simple sentences and I was fairly good in my class. I would not have done well in china. Perhaps if I had lived in china and was learning mandarin there it would have been a different story.
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