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Thu Aug 6, 2020, 11:06 AM

Would love to learn Mandarin online need suggestions

Would like it to be college-level quality to learn both speaking and writing characters. My work schedule changes frequently hence why I'm looking for something online. I have studied it off and on for several years and am just at a strong beginning level. Would like to really learn it though.

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Reply Would love to learn Mandarin online need suggestions (Original post)
TuxedoKat Aug 6 OP
dweller Aug 6 #1
lark Aug 6 #2
cyclonefence Aug 6 #3
wryter2000 Aug 6 #4
Igel Aug 6 #5

Response to TuxedoKat (Original post)

Thu Aug 6, 2020, 11:28 AM

1. i used to use

ihttp://zhongwen.com/

when i was studying at university, it was helpful
also would recommend a Matthews chinese english dictionary if you can find one

i'm sure there are other online sources for correct stroke order of characters
i used one but don't remember which

best advice i could give tho is to find a group to practice with, i've already forgotten most what i learned since i never used it again after leaving school ...

good luck

✌🏼

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Response to TuxedoKat (Original post)

Thu Aug 6, 2020, 11:31 AM

2. DuoLingua is an online program I'm using for Brazilian Portugese.

Don't know if it's the level you want, but it teaches speech, reading & writing and it's very user friendly.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Original post)

Thu Aug 6, 2020, 11:58 AM

3. This isn't what you asked

but a couple of years ago my elderly husband and my elderly self signed up for classes in Mandarin at our local community college, just to see if we were capable of learning anything new.

What a delight! Mandarin (and I assume other Chinese dialects) offered us so many insights into Chinese culture and the ways we thought of things profoundly differently from the Chinese--forward means past; backward means future, for instance--that that alone was worth struggling through the class. We had an excellent (Chinese) teacher who was very patient with the class and because he had lived in the US for many years understood the trouble we had understanding, say, family relationships, that this was one of the most rewarding language classes I've ever taken.

I hope you find a good course!

BTW we were able to learn to speak (and almost read) Mandarin after two semesters, but we instantly forgot everything. I hope you'll have the opportunity to use your new language.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Original post)

Thu Aug 6, 2020, 12:08 PM

4. Duolingo is free

I'm using it to relearn German. I don't know how it would work with written Chinese, though. I'd take a look at it before trying something that costs money.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Original post)

Thu Aug 6, 2020, 09:09 PM

5. A couple of suggestions.

The Practical Chinese Reader was a standard for years. Simplified characters, PRC produced. It's still available, but it's vocab is a bit older. The texts and exercises are available spoken online for download to computer or to phone, but there's nothing interactive.


The PCR has been replaced by the ingeniously titled "New Practical Chinese Reader". Vocab's more up to date. In this case the readings, texts, are also available, I believe, on line, but my copy's on CD. Takes a minute to have the media player or CD ripper render them into something I can transfer to my phone. The New PCR presented a lot of the tone sandhi in more clear terms.

I haven't checked to see if any of the New PCR's exercises are available online. I'm pretty sure the readings are available online.

Most American-produced texts are very expensive. I like very cheap.

For additional reading there was an app on my phone that had glossed readings from current newspapers. You could pay for an upgrade, but while the status of some of the free readings would change there was material for free. Sort of handy, it would let me make a vocab list for review and had it spoken so I could mimic or just listen. I don't know if I deleted it or if my phone did one of its 23 trillion upgrades and detected and incompatibility and auto-deleted it. Maybe the app died and it self-deleted.

I liked the Cheng & Tsui Chinese character dictionary for making sure I got stroke order and something close to proportions right. It's for the "2000 most frequently used characters" but that's good for far more than 2000 words (since a lot of words use two characters and recycle the same 2k). There are perfectly serviceable online dictionaries. Not every word in Cheng & Tsui is that useful; and some useful words aren't in it. That's life.

I kept a copy of "A Practical Chinese Grammar for Foreigners" (Sinolingua) around. My rule for language learning is that any word I'm not at least 99% sure of at first sight gets reviewed and relearned, but anything grammatical that isn't crystal clear within a few seconds of seeing it gets checked. This is an atrocious grammar, but compared to grammars I've had to use for other languages (the late Soviet "academy" Russian grammar stands out as stunningly unusable), it's tolerable.

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