December 09, 2010, 10:21 PM posted in General Discussion

I'm here to learn alittle Chinese before I enter university because I plan on pursuing a degree in US/Chinese relations! :)

I know your basic hello, goodbye phrases. So I am fresh meat. I don't know ANYTHING. Also, I learn better in a one-on-one environment, so anyone who is patient and would like to help me, please contact me! :)))

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December 09, 2010, 11:35 PM

Hi Ponygirl,

Glad you can join us here at ChinesePod.. the simple truth of things is that you are going to need to study the language for 6 to 9 months before you really start to get anywhere.. I guess for a really smart person who has a natural ability for languages, they could get 3 to 6 months before they start getting somewhere.. but yer..

When I first started, I knew as much as you do now.. I think most people know Hello and Thankyou. One-on-one lessons aren't cheap but ChinesePod does do Guided plans that allow you to talk with someone, have them assess your level and then set out a plan (ie. guide you) for you to study.

Just like with learning a musical instrument, first you need to get your basics and muscle-memory up to scratch before you can start to actually learn anything. It's the same with learning language.. first you must get the basics well and truly set.. then you can learn.

This took me around 9 months... though, I was certainly able to construct simple sentences before that time of course.. it's just that it wasn't until around 9 months in that I had a realisation that I had now learned enough basics to be able to learn "properly".

Anyway, good luck with your adventure into Chinese.. I hope we see you around here regularly.


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December 10, 2010, 04:42 PM

你好 Ponygirl,

I'm new too, I started a couple of months ago. I've found that learning children songs can go a loooong way of memorizing some of the basics easily.

I'm living in China and teaching English. Songs are a great way to interact culturally as well. My friends here learned some of the songs on that are on ChinesePod when they were little, just like we learned Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and so on.

Another good way to expand your learning is to get Chinese books written in Pinyin. I picked up a first grade writing book and it's helped with recognizing characters as well as knowing simple words.

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December 10, 2010, 11:54 PM

I think that living in China would be an immense boost to your language absorbing time as well. Of the 2 months I have spent in China, on 2 separate occasions, I have picked up so much more language than I would have without those visits. It's like the difference between chalk and cheese when you are constantly hit from all sides, for everything you see, hear and experience.. it's all in Chinese.. hehe.. it's a huge difference. :)


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December 12, 2010, 05:11 AM

It does make an immense difference.  My family and I are in Taiwan where Mandarin is spoken all the time.  I teach ESL, so many times, the students will explain in Mandarin to each other so they all understand.  And, when I'm just hanging out around them and hearing them speak, I pick up the everyday conversation stuff that lessons don't necessarily teach.  You wouldn't need this type of language to communicate.  I am also finding that when I hear them speak, I hear certain sounds over and over again and then I can ask them what it means.  And, because I've heard it so much, their answer sticks and I've picked up another word.