There are many ways to teach languages and everyone has their own opinions on what works best for them. Based on my experience learning Chinese though, the following are the methods that worked best for me and which will be used on this website. By combining several of these methods into one strategy, I’m confident that this system will easily accomodate any learning style.
The best thing about learning through this system is that you get to learn exactly the way YOU want to. Want to slow things down? Go right ahead – listen to the lessons on your own schedule. Review them as many times as you need to. Want to pick up the pace? Go right on ahead – listen to as many lessons in a row as you’d like. We provide you with numerous language tips along the way but there is no one there to dictate what you must do and when it needs to be done – you choose what to do and when you’d like to.Now that you know the philosophy behind our system, here are the specific approaches we take towards teaching the main components of the Chinese language.
Pronunciation - Chinese uses a lot of tones and syllables that we native English speakers are not accustomed to. The best way to learn them therefore is to mimic native Chinese speakers. There will be lots of opportunity to do so as pauses are introduced for you to repeat after the speaker. As well you will hear the voice of myself, a non native Chinese speaker also speaking Chinese giving you another representation of how the language might sound.
Grammar / Syntax – We don’t go heavy into the rules and syntax here since we find them well…plain boring. There are plenty of places you can go to if you’re interested in that. However it is important, so we teach it to you by having you use the language as much as possible. You can take note of rules as you go by but don’t worry too much if you don’t understand them since you’ll slowly get the hang of it with more practice.
Vocabulary - Sorry but we don’t use long lists of vocabulary that you have to memorize. When a new word comes along, we teach it to you. If it shows up enough times you’ll remember it. We teach you enough basics to “get by”. The rest of the vocabulary acquisition will come after knowing these basics. As well, from time to time we’ll also introduce the breakdown in how words and expressions are formed in Chinese. So rather than just teaching you how to say “hello”, we’ll also tell you that the breakdown of hello is “you good”. This helps in remembering it as well as understanding and practicing how such words are used in Chinese.
Language Culture - knowing a language isn’t good enough – you have to know how and when to use it. The Chinese culture is very different from the western culture in many aspects. Things that we do and take for granted out in the west can be quite taboo in China and vice versa. Our premium lesson notes point out these situations to best equip you with the skills needed to succeed.
Idioms – Where possible we include the most commonly used idioms in our dialogue. For example, if you asked someone how they were doing and they replied with “horse, horse, tiger, tiger” would you know what they meant?
Written language – the main focus for this course is on speaking and listening. However we think reading and language are also important. While we don’t focus on teaching them, our premium lesson notes do include transcripts in both traditional and simplified Chinese characters.
I hope that covers everything regards how we go about doing things on this website. For comments and feedback on the above, please Contact Us.