About learning Chinese:
About the Mobile App.
My name is Adam Menon. I am the founder of this website. I came to Taiwan in 2003 to teach English, and learn Chinese in the process. I created this website in 2006 as the resource I wish I had when I first started learning Chinese.
I’m not doing it by myself though – I have used native Chinese speakers to help design the lessons and for all the pronunciation. Along the way, feedback from users like you has helped improve the site even further.
As a student of Chinese myself living in Taiwan for three years, I was frustrated by the teaching methods I found – whether books, tapes, CDs, websites, podcasts, classrooms etc. While some of them excelled in some areas they failed miserably in others. A LOT of time and money was spent (much of it wasted) trying to learn this language. The problem I found was that many of the resources available that are created by native Chinese speakers don’t necessarily work well for native English speakers. In the process however, I did learn what methods DID work really well for us non native Chinese speakers and what methods didn’t. I hope to take all this research and experience and put it into this website. By combining my knowledge with that of native Chinese speakers, I hope we can provide you with an invaluable resource for all your Chinese speaking needs.
I am a native English speaker and spent several years trying to find the best way to learn Chinese. I’m hoping to put my experiences into a form that you can relate to. I found that sometimes it was hard to relate to the methods that the PhD professors who had learned the language for decades were using. Instead I wanted something simple that anyone could start using regardless of their background. So now I’m relying on YOU, the user. Our website is constantly evolving based on the feedback given by learners just like you. Techniques and resources that work are kept and those that don’t are thrown out. Compare this with textbooks or other systems using decades old techniques that haven’t been updated with the times, that were created by people you couldn’t relate to. Which form of learning would you rather use?
We are based in Taiwan. As our entire operation is online, we have a decentralized system with teachers located in different parts of Taiwan, who provide online classes and feedback on exercises.
About learning Chinese:
Mandarin Chinese is the language spoken by the most number of people on this earth – more than 874 million native speakers at last count. Compare that to English which is spoken by a mere 309 million. Chinese is also the world’s oldest language – dating back some 3500 years. I assume that by visiting this website you already have your own personal reasons for wanting to learn Chinese. Whatever they are, we hope to help you attain your own personal goals by using our system.
Mandarin is the official language of China and Taiwan and is one of the official languages of Singapore. That is the form of Chinese that we focus on on this website. While there are certainly variations in dialects found between what you might hear in Beijing versus what you might hear in Taiwan or Singapore, what we teach on this site can certainly be used in any of these places. We have taken effort to involve consultants in our dialogue preparation from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to make sure that we focus on the universal aspects as opposed to any regional variations. Where these variations exist, we try to note them for you.
Our Premium subscriptions also offers a chance to sample Chinese written scripture. You can see transcripts of our lessons in Pinyin (English alphabet), simplified Chinese (as used in mainland China) and traditional Chinese (as used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and overseas communities). We highly encourage those of you interested in learning how to read Chinese to explore these options as it’s a great way to test your understanding!
The main aspect of our course is that it is progressive. This means that each lesson builds upon what was taught previously. Vocabulary that was taught in earlier lessons is reused in later lessons, so you’re constantly getting repetition and practice.
In addition, the course tries to immerse you into the language. Later levels of the course are fully taught in Chinese, but this is all Chinese that was taught in earlier levels, so you’re forced to keep up.
Compare this with other courses that teach in distinct levels, with no form of progression from one to the next.
The How we teach page explains more.
The first 9 lessons of our course teach you the basics you will need to know, such as how to introduce yourself, greet others, how to count, how to use money and how to say dates. This provides you with a proper basic foundation. From lessons 10 on, each lesson begins with a short dialogue that reviews vocabulary taught earlier while only introducing a few new words and concepts.
By following this “gradual” format you are constantly reusing high frequency vocabulary in different contexts which allows you to easily remember it. Lessons from higher levels feature more indepth explanations and conversations almost entirely in Chinese, along with articles, videos and other materials to keep your Chinese progressing.
Yes and no. While some aspects like the various tones that are used or the thousands of characters used in the written language may be a turn off to some, if you get past that, the rest of the language is a LOT simpler than English which makes up for the hard parts. Our course uses a novel approach of combining listening (through the podcasts) with speaking (by giving you opportunities to repeat and respond to what is being said) and viewing (through transcripts of every lesson) to make it much easier to see what tone is being used in each word. As for the written language, those interested in learning reading can also benefit from our Premium transcripts which display Chinese characters next to their English equivalents. By taking the time to view both side by side you may find yourself recognizing written Chinese without even knowing it!
Absolutely. Many people falsely believe that great intelligence is required to learn a new language. That is not true. There are many cases of severely mentally handicapped people being fluent in multiple languages. We use a novel approach to our system that doesn’t involve strenuous memorization of vocabulary lists or studying of grammar rules. All we ask is that you give us less than twenty minutes of your time each day following through the steps in our How to Use section.
To get the full benefit of this course be sure to take advantage of the additional resources made available to premium subscribers.
The written Chinese language does not use a phonetic alphabet as we do in English, so to make things easier for you, this website uses Pinyin, which is the standard form used to transcribe Chinese sounds into a Latin script. Tone marks are used to show you which tones to use when pronouncing words. Learning and understanding Pinyin is a great way to learn Chinese without having to learn to read the thousands of Chinese characters out there. While the Pinyin pronunciation differs from English in some cases, it can be easily learned by following the dialogues and the Pinyin transcripts included with each one. Pinyin will be used in all transcripts of dialogues and new vocabulary that is introduced in the actual lessons.
While we don’t explicitly teach how to read Chinese, we do include them in the Vocabulary section found under each lesson, as well as in the flashcard and word bank tools. One great way to learn Chinese characters is by seeing them next to their Pinyin counterparts. We hope that by frequently seeing them together you’ll slowly be able to recognize the characters on their own without needing to look at the Pinyin. I learned a lot of my reading doing just that – by looking at street signs in Taiwan while waiting at a red light. The name of the street would be written in Chinese with the Pinyin translation right underneath. What a great way to learn!
We have also included both simplified (used in mainland China) and traditional (used in Taiwan and overseas communities) characters so you can appreciate the differences between the two sets.
Additionally, online review tools introduce the new characters for each lesson, along with their stroke order. You can then practice writing them out using the included PDF writing sheets for each lesson.
View the latest pricing information on this page.
You can choose between one time purchases of lessons and transcripts, or a Premium Online subscription, which also gives you access to:
1. Complete word for word transcripts.
2. Chinese characters (simplified and traditional).
3. Review tools.
4. Access to the Review podcast feed.
What payment methods do you offer?
Yes. Premium online subscribers have access to individual lesson content for all past lessons. Bulk downloads and lesson downloads by level are available for purchase separately. Note that this access only lasts for 30 days.
You will see a Cancel button your member page dashboard.
Easy. If you would like to try out our online tools, anytime after you create your subscription, you can cancel your subscription, which will cancel the recurring portion of your membership. You will still have complete access to your membership for the duration of your membership period. Your account will automatically expire at the end of this period.
In addition you can purchase transcripts for a single level which lets you download all the PDF files and review audio for that level for a single price.
Downloads are one time purchases that let you download content to your device, so you can access them later, without having to return to the website. These are best for users who plan to learn away
Lesson MP3 files contain the full lessons, along with the explanations. The review audio only includes dialog and article summaries, allowing you to quickly review earlier lessons, without having to listen to the explanations again.
Yes, there are discounts for purchasing 3, 9 or all 21 items together. Look for bulk download options on the purchase page.
You get lifetime access to download purchases. So you’re welcome to only download the material you need now, then come back later to download other items.
Yes, you get lifetime access to your previous downloads. So if you need to download old material again, you are welcome to do so at any time.
About the Mobile App.
The app features lesson audio, transcripts and flashcard exercises for each lesson in levels 1 and 2. More levels will be added in the future.
The first 3 lessons of the course are offered for free. Additional lessons can be purchased from inside the app.
App purchases are one time, for lifetime access to the content.
While you need an internet connection to initially download lesson content you have purchased, once the content is in the app, you can listen to the lessons, view transcripts and do the flashcard exercises, all without needing an internet connection. This is perfect for plane, train and bus rides.
As the lessons do take up space on your device, you can delete older lesson packages to make room for new downloads. You can always redownload older content back to your phone if needed.
If you have purchased a transcript download for level 1 or 2, you can login to the site from inside the app to access the lessons there. Premium subscribers can also redeem download credits for app level downloads. You earn 1 credit for every 3 months of subscription you have purchased. Contact us if you would like to redeem such a credit.
The mobile app has the lesson audio and transcripts for the first 120 lessons of the course (levels 1 and 2). The benefits of the app are that the lessons have been formatted for your phone and can be used offline.
The website subscription gives you access to more lessons (420) and more features (word bank, activities, exercises) but requires an internet connection.
Note, you can also access the website from your mobile phone, if you prefer using the additional website tools and content.
If you originally made your purchase from inside the app, go to the “Buy” screen and select “Restore Purchases” from the top of the screen. You will need to login to the same account you originally used to make your purchase. The content should then be restored to the app.
If you originally made your purchase on the website, then login to your website account from the app, to restore your content.
If you still have questions that we haven’t been able to answer for you here, please Contact Us with them. Thank you!