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Best Method to introduce a Novice to Chinese?


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So I'm a native English speaker, currently studying Latin, Spanish, and a bit of French, but I want to break out of the romantic language mold and try to study a Semitic language like Aramaic or Far Eastern Language like Chinese. The problem is that i don't even know what resources to start with. The languages are constructed very differently since they're not even in the same family as the languages I'm accustomed to, right? Could anyone point me in the direction of some goo beginner resources? Thanks:)

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  • 2 years later...

I can recommend some great resources for Chinese. Before you do anything like trying to learn some of the grammar rules or building sentences you're going to have to learn the tones. Mandarin Chinese has 5 tones, one of which is an oddball but you'll learn that pretty soon. 

                                                4tones2.jpg

I recommend these videos to help you understand how the pitches should sound. 

 

After that you'll want to learn how the consonants should sounds. 

pinyin.jpg

It looks like a lot but all that's really changing is the vowels behind the few consonants in the column. This video really helps you understand how they should sounds. Once you have those down you're ready to start learning some words and sentences structures. These websites will help you from here. I also used to take Chinese as an actual course(in high school and college) and have quite the accumulation of Powerpoints and Pdf files so pm me if you want some. If you're still a bit confused after that consult these forums and you'll definitely get an answer. 

 

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On 20.12.2015, 20:27:12, Nekomimi_mode said:

I can recommend some great resources for Chinese. Before you do anything like trying to learn some of the grammar rules or building sentences you're going to have to learn the tones. Mandarin Chinese has 5 tones, one of which is an oddball but you'll learn that pretty soon. 

                                                4tones2.jpg

I recommend these videos to help you understand how the pitches should sound. 

 

After that you'll want to learn how the consonants should sounds. 

pinyin.jpg

It looks like a lot but all that's really changing is the vowels behind the few consonants in the column. This video really helps you understand how they should sounds. Once you have those down you're ready to start learning some words and sentences structures. These websites will help you from here. I also used to take Chinese as an actual course(in high school and college) and have quite the accumulation of Powerpoints and Pdf files so pm me if you want some. If you're still a bit confused after that consult these forums and you'll definitely get an answer. 

 

Great introduction. You can find some more useful resources right here on linguaholic.com : 

http://linguaholic.com/topic/710-online-resources-for-the-study-of-the-chinese-language-mandarin-chinese/

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  • 1 month later...

Aramaic, I read somewhere, is very easy for a Native English speaker to learn quickly and would have been very useful in studying biblical history. 

However, as this forum sub-section is dedicated unto the study of all aspects of Chinese Language and culture, I'm obliged to reveal the best single method for a novice, or anyone really, to learn Chinese. 

Now, the above contributions are all well and good, as is attending a popular class in a well-known University, but the one thing I can advise, from my own experience, that makes learning this language fun, inexpensive and easy is to marry a cute, happy Chinese girl with a wonderful personality!:wink::D  

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  • 2 weeks later...

@melocasa: As someone who's studying languages currently, I'm sure you know that a big part of learning is exposure. So, I'll detail my usual approach for any language.

 

General Plan

1. Locate good Dictionary (book or website will do)

-Drill vocab on a daily basis. 

2. Find a site or book detailing basic grammar rules.
-Learn and use one sentence structure on a weekly-ish basis.

3. Find some movies, CDs, podcasts, etc. to listen to (you don't need to comprehend everything, just listen and get used to how it sounds, I'm sure you've done something similar for your studies of French&Spanish.)

-Listen to an hour of this material a day. And make sure to re-listen to it multiple times throughout the week. I guarantee you'll find stuff you missed on the first listen through.

4. Goto Youtube and type in "[Insert Language of Choice Here] 101" (or something to that effect) and watch.

-These little lessons will be good for filling in what a dictionary/grammar site can't do.

 

Now, since I've studying Chinese for some time, I know of things you can look up that're good for the beginner. 

Chinese Plan

1. Mdbg.net

-Best dictionary I've found so far. There are others, but none as easy to use. At least in my experience.

2. http://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/A1_grammar_points

-Name says it all. Look for what you wanna know about and read.

3. [On youtube] A. Zhong.tv, Chengduraphouse and 湖南卫视芒果TV官方频道 China HunanTV Official Channel.

-Zhong.tv and Chengduraphouse have music videos and the like. Pretty much any media out of the PRC/Taiwan has the chinese characters as subtitles with it. Listen and read along if you can. Pause the video at certain sections and identify the words you know and ones you don't. 

-Hunan TV Official has, well, television shows. A popular one is "BabaQunar?" (Where are we going, Dad?). Watch and see what you can't pick up after some vocab drills and whatnot.

[On Netflix] The Kid With the Golden Arm, The Last Tycoon, Empresses in The Palace, The Defender, etc.

-Start with these movies in Mandarin and go from there. Watch once with english subtitles and again without. Do it scene by scene if the entire movie seems a bit daunting. 

-"The Defender" has a scene or two where mandarin is spoken alongside cantonese. Great for practicing identification of the differences in both. I don't speak a lick of Cantonese but I can tell when it's being spoken within just a few words. 

4. "YesLingo" and "ChineseClass101" have some good stuff. Plenty more out there, just gotta look and see.

5.(Bonus!) Download Anki (which can be found at Anki.com), follow their directions for importing flashcards from their site and grab a good Mandarin Chinese set. There's more than one and it's great for daily vocab drills. You can do many other languages with this to!

 

Also bear in mind that we here at Linguaholic have compiled whole lists of stuff to use. I'd browse through what's been compiled and see what works best for you. But I hope my tips have pointed you in the right direction. At least in a general sense.

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  • 1 year later...

The direction of some goo beginner resources? 
IMHO, it shouldn't be a concern if you are just beginning. There are so many apps, YouTube series, books and websites like the administrator listed above you can choose from. Just pick any one source and stick to it. If you want to build a solid foundation, I definitely recommend you to learn Mandarin with a native Chinese teacher.  
For a total beginner, having a professional teacher or at least someone with experience to give you a solid foundation is a must. For example, practice in pronunciation is of great benefit. At advanced stages, classes, or at least access to a teacher, is useful in ironing out specific problems that are not always covered in depth in textbooks. Then, as time goes by, you rely less and less on your teacher, when eventually get to the level which you can do it all by yourself.
With a good teacher and a decent program, students learn in progressive steps ( Pinyin, Chinese character, basic sentence structures, tricky particles…), and can identify specific issues to work on. The teacher also gives feedback (compliments, encouragement and criticism), and the classmates help others learn. These would support regularity in your learning a little better.
One final question you may have is, “Where can I find a Mandarin tutor?” eChineseLearning is an online Chinese school with a variety of convenient, tailored course options worth considering.

Hope it helps.
 

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