Category Archives: mandarin

Mandarin of the week

Starting today, each MondayI will post a word or phrase in Mandarin that you should know. Let’s start off with an easy phrase, and it’s only one word!

How to say “hello” in mandarin

It’s spelled like this—–> Ni hao

It sounds like this ——> “Nee Haow”

And is looks like this –>mandarin-hello.gif

That’s it for today’s ‘Mandarin of the Week’. Please let me know if I mis-spell/mis-translate anything or if you would like to suggest a word or phrase of the week. Thanks.

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5 Reasons you must read this blog!

1) Learn insightful and interesting information about China’s past, present and future!

2) After reading Crouching China for a year, you will know everything about the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics!

3) Learn a new word/phrase in Mandarin each week (this starts next week)!

4) Hear about others’ experiences traveling, living and being from China!

5) Read book reviews on traveling in China (this way you can skip the boring ones)!

Hearing not seeing

I procured a copy of Pimsleur’s Mandarin Complete Course 1. As I said before, I like the Pimsleur series. It’s audio based, which usually isn’t a problem for me. I can pop it in the CD player and listen to it on my way to work. But Mandarin is so different from any other language that I’m used to, I’m having a trouble hearing the words right. I need to see how they are spelled phonetically in order to pronounce them correctly. The one downside to Pimsleur is its only audio, there’s no work book to go read along with. Which leads me to to the following conclusions:

1) I need to hear how the words are pronounced

2) I need to see the words I’m trying to say

3) I will probably have to take a language class if I’m going to be ready by the time we leave next year.

I will continue to keep everyone posted on how my language studies are progressing.

Learning Chinese with an iPod

John B. recently commented on my how to learn a language article about ChinesePod.com. He suggested I check it out. I was intrigued and signed up for the 15 day trial right away. And I must say, I am impressed. ChinesePod was started in 2005 by several foreigners living in China. They experienced first hand what words and phrases they needed to communicate and turned that knowledge into 595 lessons starting at a beginner level all the way to advanced. I signed up to get a daily RSS feed which sends one lesson a day to my blog reader (Google Reader, if you want to know). Today’s lesson was how to say “what meat is this?”. I have the option of downloading each lesson to my computer and put it on my iPod (if I had one) or listening to it through my computer.

Another thing I like about the ChinesePod is that the website shows the written words your are saying and how to pronounce them. For us visual people, it is immensely helpful to not only hear but see the words we are saying. And of course, you are able to download the lesson in a PDF. Here’s a page from the site that explains how lessons work.

ChinesePod members also have the ability to blog and talk with other members. This is a great way to further your studies. I haven’t experimented with this part of the site yet, but I like that it’s an option as I continue to learn the language.

Question: Has anyone else had any experience with this site? Are there similar sites out there? Let me know your thoughts.

How to learn a new language

language.jpgI would like to have some level of proficiency of Mandarin before I get to China. I have studied Spanish, Greek and Italian in the past with various degrees of success. While researching Mandarin, I came across Tim Leffell, author of Make Your Travel Dollars Worth a Fortune: The Contrarian Traveler’s Guide to Getting More for Less and The World’s Cheapest Destinations. Having just discovered Tim, I have not had the chance to read either of his books (but I will soon). What turned me on to him was an article he wrote on the different ways to learn a second language. Here are the various methods he discussed:

1. Community College or Language School Course—$50 to $600 per course
2. Rosetta Stone Language Software $195 to $245 per course
3. Pimsleur Language System $230 to $300 per course
4. Language Books—Free to $100
5. Music, TV, and Movies—Free to $20
6. Word-a-Day Desk Calendars
7. Post-its and a Pen—$1 to $3
8. Web Resources—Free

1. Very good way to learn, though quite expensive.
2. I’ve seen these ads everywhere but have not personally used the software.
3. I’ve recommend Pimsleur for the same reasons Tim’s says; I have the Italian version.
4. Books can only take you so far, you need to hear pronunciation.
5. This is a good supplement but without the basic fundamentals it won’t get you too far.
6. I like this idea and am looking for one, not sure if anyone makes a Mandarin version.
7. Even better idea than #6.
8. I found two free websites here and here. I’m sure there are others out there.

All of these methods can help in learning a language. The best approach would be a combination of some or all of the methods.

Here is my question: Have you tried to learn a language? What study method did you use? Are you still as proficient as when you were studying regularly?