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Taking Mandarin from A2-ish?

  Tags: Mandarin
 Language Learning Forum : Advice Center Post Reply
11 messages over 2 pages: 1 2  Next >>
Senior Member
Joined 3527 days ago

3335 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 Message 1 of 11
27 June 2013 at 8:04pm | IP Logged 
Hi community,

Even though Mandarin is not listed in my profile and I don't have a log like I do for Georgian and Papiamento, the fact is I've devoted some 15-30 minutes of my life since June 2011. The results haven't been much encouraging up to the moment, though. I'm still at a pale A2 level and don't seem to get any better. I'm considering that I need to learn more and learn better.

This is what i've done so far:

- Assimil 1 & 2
- Méthode 90
- Colloquial Chinese (T'ung, Pollard edition)
- Parlez chinois en 40 leçons
- Beginner's Chinese by Hippocrene
- Basic Chinese by Routledge
- Asimil Chinese 1 & 2 (again)
- Chinese Characters by Alan Hoenig
- Colloquial Chinese (Kan Qian edition)
- Chinese for Today
- Colloquial Chinese 2
- Peng's fun with chinese 1 and 2

Now i'm currently doing:

- Méthode 90 (again, currently at lesson 86)
- Peng's Fun with Chinese characters 3
- A shared deck with sentences

At the "second wave" to Méthode 90 I could finally have a better idea fo grammar and no longer had to look up every other word. Still, the fact the book shows no pinyin at the exercises gave me extra trouble and made me skip some words without memorizing them.

Now I'm probably heading for chinesepod101 and use it as a long-term resource as it has hundreds of lessons. I'm also going to keep on using Anki and I want to finish Peng's third book.

What I need now:

- A book about characters I'd do after Peng's
- Another resource, which could be a textbook with short lessons or native media somehow (there is also the possibility I could combine different sections from chineseclass101)

Maybe I could try native news, but 1 text a day is still too much, unless the site has English too and I can select the text and post at GT to get pinyin.

I really want to watch TV. I found Happy Chinese at Youtube at over 100 lessons, but I'm worried about wasting it while it is still beyond my level, while I could make a better use of it when I was at middle B1. I don't want to repeat resources the way I did with Assimil and Méthode 90 and the way I went through several other beginner's textbooks.

What I wouldn't find useful:

X resources without simplified characters, like FSI, DLI, LL
X resources without PINYIN or OCRed/text characters

What I'm saving for the future:

- Intermediate Chinese by Routledge
- Intermediate Chinese by Hippocrene
- TY Beginner's Chinese Script
- Tuttle CHinese Flash Cards
- Etape par Etape - A2 à B2 du nouveau HSK - really recommended, but it has long lessons and it will mess up my schedule right now
- Schaum's Outline of the Chinese Vocabulary
- CHinese a Comprehensive Grammar
- Streetwise Mandarin Chinese
- Any "readers"
- Any business chinese resources
And several others as much as I need them.

So, I'd like to find a way to add another resource to my schedule (considering it consists of one or two language+culture lessons from 101, two pages from peng's and 1 anki deck, 20 sentences a day), one that will still have the possibility of resorting to pinyn when necessary, as well as a translation, and one that will optimize my access to the intermediate level. All this has to stick at a 45min-1 hour schedule.

Any recomendations, suggestions, advice, complaint is appreciated!
2 persons have voted this message useful

Bilingual Heptaglot
Senior Member
Joined 3310 days ago

869 posts - 1363 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*, English*, German, Italian, French, Portuguese, Mandarin
Studies: Korean

 Message 2 of 11
28 June 2013 at 6:59am | IP Logged 
If you want an honest opinion (I stress the opinion part), I think you have done OK with 15-30 minutes a day in two years to reach A2.

I keep reading time and time again that with a language like Mandarin, working smart is essential, so that makes it harder because most of us really struggle finding out what "smart" is for us as learners. But assuming you did find a good method... that still might not get you over the hump.

Source after source from multiple governments and private language programs insist on the fact that full immersion at some point is required to gain a solid grasp of Chinese. The reason for that is not only the completely alien vocabulary and the characters, but the supreme importance of hearing tones and keeping your word order impeccable. All those things are extremely difficult to improve rapidly and permanently without being in a complete Chinese environment, and studying several hours a day on top of that. It's just the nature of the beast, and there is no soft or gentle way to tackle it.

I guess my point is, you can read and do as many courses as you want, but eventually, you will have to bite the bullet and try to get yourself to a real immersion situation.

I personally am "learning" Mandarin so that I can get money to go to China for a year. The Chinese courses will give the key to open the door, and going to China will be like entering the room where I myself will have to explore all the bookshelves and corners and learn all the different aspects.

It is simply much slower learning a language to a level past B1-low B2 without some serious imput (and considerable output if you want to be any good as speaking it). With a language like Chinese, it is not like you can't progress, but the progress will be excruciatingly slow.
4 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
United States
Joined 5022 days ago

171 posts - 205 votes 
Speaks: English*, Arabic (classical)
Studies: Arabic (Egyptian)

 Message 3 of 11
28 June 2013 at 10:49pm | IP Logged 
--- Edit: (tried to start a new thread)

Edited by Talib on 28 June 2013 at 10:50pm

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Senior Member
ChinaRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4226 days ago

1622 posts - 2297 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Mandarin, Esperanto, Basque

 Message 4 of 11
30 June 2013 at 11:20am | IP Logged 
Two textbooks i've been using have been 汉语教程 and 发展汉语. They all start with a text (or texts), followed by an overview of new vocabulary, then a discussion of grammar points and difficult or new structures, with lots of example sentences. The earlier books at least have grammar explanations in English, later on they switch all to Chinese (except for vocabulary lists).

To learn the characters, honestly my best resource has been the HSK lists at Memrise. It's maybe not perfect, but having everything in one place and already prepared just makes things so easy.

Also, have you considered something like Perapera? I use it whenever i try to read something in Chinese online or talk to people in online chatrooms. All you do is put the mouse over the character you don't know and it'll give you the definition and pinyin. It's all built-in so you don't even need to be connected to the internet to use it.

To be honest, i think the hardest part of Chinese is the vocabulary. When i speak Chinese i really don't have to think that much about formatting the sentence, it's mostly trying to remember words i've forgotten or think up circumlocutions to words i just don't know. Actually, maybe that's why my Chinese still isn't that great, 'cuz i don't think when i speak ;)
2 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 3527 days ago

3335 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 Message 5 of 11
01 July 2013 at 6:15pm | IP Logged 
Thanks for the tips on Memrise HSK. It's better than what I'm using now, I'm just a bit concerned about starting over and over again. I think I need a mouse over add-on too...
1 person has voted this message useful

Joined 2709 days ago

39 posts - 47 votes
Speaks: French*
Studies: English, German, Spanish, Mandarin

 Message 6 of 11
19 August 2015 at 3:24pm | IP Logged 
I'm starting to learn Mandarin with Assimil (currently pp lesson 38) and I find the list of your resources very
interesting. If you had to do it again, what resources would you use and in which order ?
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 2203 days ago

129 posts - 234 votes 
Speaks: French*, English
Studies: Russian

 Message 7 of 11
19 August 2015 at 5:53pm | IP Logged 
As you speak french, you can take a look at, there are a lot of ressources for all levels (texts, lessons and podcasts (called "balado" in the menu), and you just have to highlight the characters to have a definition ( french)

Another link I have in my favorite is the course of Bellassen for beginners, but with the pinyin:Chinois mandarin (the book doesn't have the pinyin)
As it's difficult to find it via Google, I give it here, perhaps it will interest someone.

Edited by Arnaud25 on 19 August 2015 at 5:54pm

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Joined 2709 days ago

39 posts - 47 votes
Speaks: French*
Studies: English, German, Spanish, Mandarin

 Message 8 of 11
19 August 2015 at 6:56pm | IP Logged 
Thanks for your links Arnaud, I put them in my favorites

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