A Beginner who is in need of assistance!

March 05, 2011, 03:37 AM posted in General Discussion

Hey, so I am trying to learn mandarin on my own for now! I am not able to take any Chinese classes nor is their any native Chinese speakers near me. I am literally on my own personally. I do not know much about mandarin and I don't really know where to start. I have been looking at Cpods tone lessons. I have gotten through the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd tone. I am having a bit of trouble with my 2nd and 3rd though. (If you are willing to skype and help me learn the basics, if need be I can help you with English as I am a native speaker . My e-mail is casey-200@hotmail.com)

Okay so where do you guys suggest I start at? I will just need to learn how to speak/talk chinese for now and do not need to learn the characters right now. Should I try to remeber the Chinese alphabet and pinyin? My goal is to become fluent in mandarin Chinese. In a few months I will be taking college classes on this langauge. Thanks


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May 10, 2011, 11:31 PM

Hey Casey, my advice is to be patient. It definitely takes awhile before things gel. Relax and listen to the lessons that interest you. At one point I was spending too much time on one set of material so I made myself move on. Someone here recommended 80% accuracy and then moving on. I think this is good advice otherwise the lesson becomes boring.

Since you are going to take a class soon I would just wait until then to study the pinyin chart. I took one class at a community college and it was great! I had already spent time on a couple of audio courses which helped get me going but having an instructor is really motivating. Too bad the class isn't offered anymore!

Now, I have a Guided subscription and my teacher, Amanda, assigns me 3 lessons a week. This has helped me so much! Before I really felt I had no direction. I didn't know what lesson to do next. As it turns out I don't think that matters so much. My favorite part of any lesson is the expansion sentences. I figure I need to know all the words sooner or later!  My usual Chinesepod study method is to

listen to the lesson

make a list of the vocabulary words I don't know. I also check the expansion sentences for new vocab. (I use  a sheet of paper folded in half the long way, pinyin in one column and English in the other. I review this when I have a few minutes, such as during lunch.)

Read the comments to pick up any more vocab or interesting stuff. Do the exercises. 

Since I have a 45 minute commute and my car has a cassette player I record the dialogue, new vocab and expansion sentences onto an audio tape. I listen to the tape and repeat the words and sentences out loud. I also print out the sentences so I can read them out loud.

I also download lessons, dialogues and the audio reviews to a mp3 player and listen when I can. I listened passively to lots of different Newbie lessons for a few months and suddenly they made sense and seemed easy.

There are so many ways to study it is great fun!

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May 11, 2011, 11:53 AM

As great as it is that you have taken an interest in Chinese, but it will take lots of time, effort, and patience. Characters are nothing like English and thankfully for most learners, you guys only learn Simplified, much easier. 

But as linda suggests, be patient because you will need it to learn this language. And it will be very rewarding once you get the hang of things. She also gave you some great tips as to where to start. And if you are planning to take college courses, you will have to learn the characters eventually, so why not just learn them at the same time as you learn the pin-yin? 

I strongly suggest you look up a pin-yin chart and also utilize Youtube as well as other resources available. You can find a gargantuan amount of tools online to help you learn the basics on your own. Youtube probably has something to help you practice listening to tones too. They have videos for almost everything these days. 

Setting some time for studying would be a great way to start learning. 

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May 14, 2011, 12:54 PM

hi , I  am a Chinese girl,and maybe we can make friends with each other,and i can help u with your Chinese.

my yahoo mail is :yuwuhen900811@yahoo.cn or txy_0911@yahoo.cn

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May 14, 2011, 12:58 PM

and my msn:yuwuhen900811@hotmail.com