Clear the List: Mandarin March – Language Learning Goals

My focus in 2019 is Mandarin Chinese, #AyearofMandarin. Here are my learning goals for March! To keep me focused and motivated this month I will be introducing monthly themes and taking part in the Yoyo Chinese Challenge and the 90 day My Language Challenge.

Full transparency: From time-to-time we do use affiliate links for paid products on this site. This means Language Learners Journal gets a small commission for some (not all) referrals. It doesn’t affect the price of anything but doing so has helped to maintain, improve and keep this site ad-free for over 3 years. We appreciate the support, thank you.

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Week 1 – Food and Professions

Week 2 – People & Pets

Week 3 – Places & Directions

Week 4 – Shopping & Transport

Chinese -Mandarin

Vocabulary – I have been vocabulary building with uTalk and LingoHut. Both services cater for a wide range of languages! I’ll also be using Memrise on a daily basis too.

Grammar – I am working my way through BBC Talk Mandarin.

Reading – My daughter and I are using the Chineasy method to help us recognise Chinese Characters.

Listening – I’ve joined the My Language Challenge pilot, which will act as a 90 day booster. The first mini-challenge will focus on listening skills. I’ll be using Pop-up Chinese, that has audio for all levels. I am also taking part in the Yoyo Chinese Challenge.

Speaking – I am having regular lessons on Italki with an amazing community tutor. In 2016 I founded the Hampshire Mandarin Meetup. It’s now facilitated by a friend who has done an amazing job at promoting and getting others interested in learning Chinese. People from the local Chinese community also attend! I’m going to swing by a few sessions this month and get involved with some of the amazing activities they run.

I am really looking forward to the Women In Language’s event this month! In the UK language learning is now more important than ever yet the amount of students studying languages is in decline! There are some amazing guest speakers all experts in their fields. I’d highly recommend checking this out. Men are welcome too!

Other resources I’ll be using this month:

Chinese in 9 weeks from Domino Chinese (via Udemy and their website).

Mango Languages

Join Clear The List + Share Your Goals!

1. Share your goal post whether it includes your aspirations for the month or year. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted.

2. Link back to this post.

3. Follow the hosts: Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages and Shannon from Eurolinguiste.

4. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: Please visit the site of the person who linked up immediately before you and leave them an encouraging comment! By hosting this linkup, we’re hoping to create a positive community where we can all share our goals. If you do not do this, you will be removed from the linkup.

5. Share on social media using #ClearTheList.

A Year of Chinese Mandarin…

This year Language learners Journal Founder Trisha Dunbar will be focusing on Chinese Mandarin. Although there are a number of different Chinese dialects including Cantonese and Shanghaiese. Mandarin is the most spoken language in the would with 1,000,000,000+ speakers and rising. It forms part of the Sino-Tibetan language family.

Full transparency: From time-to-time we do use affiliate links for paid products on this site. This means Language Learners Journal gets a small commission for some (not all) referrals. It doesn’t affect the price of anything but doing so has helped to maintain, improve and keep this site ad-free for over 3 years. We appreciate the support, thank you.

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Learning Chinese Mandarin means that you will be using both the right and left sides of the brain!

The language has four tones, plus a neutral one. Getting the tones right is an important factor…

… it can make all the difference between referring to your mother as a or ( – meaning a horse)!

A language without an alphabet!

Chinese has no alphabet! It is made up of a series of characters.

To help western society better understand there is the Pinyin system. This helps to spell out the sounds of Chinese using Roman letters. It is used as a helpful written aid to guide Chinese pronunciation.

You can follow Trisha’s journey from a false beginner to HSK 2 and beyond on Twitter and Facebook or Check the Mandarin Board on Pinterest.

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10 reasons to learn Mandarin Chinese

  1. Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world. If you can speak it then you can communicate with nearly a billion people worldwide!
  2. China is an economic superpower and a major trade point.
  3. China has a fascinating and rich history and culture.
  4. It is easier than you think! There are no verbs, plurals, tenses, subject-verb agreement, OR conjugations.
  5. Chinese could be regarded as one of the most logical languages in the world!
  6. Speaking and reading in Mandarin Chinese is a great workout for the brain as it uses both the left and right hemispheres!
  7. The Chinese love to hear Westerns ‘attempt’ to speak their language and can be very supportive in helping you learn.
  8. Traveling or doing business abroad? As well as China, Mandarin is spoken in countries such as Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, Philippines and Mongolia.
  9. Make new friends! Learning Mandarin gives you access to communicate with many people and connect on a deeper level, not just in Asia but across the world! Almost every major Western city has a growing Chinese community within it. Being able to communicate with those in your neighborhood and exchange students at your local university will help to connect communities, as well as foster lifelong friendships.
  10. Self-development. Being proficient in Mandarin will certainly boost your CV and make you stand out among against the many other applicants. Even if you don’t actively need the language for work it shows that you have commitment, focus and an understanding of another culture.

Recommended Resources

Here are my most highly recommended resources for learning Mandarin Chinese. The resources below have played a crucial role to my own learning of this beautiful language.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step;  Chinese: 千里之行,始於足下; pinyin: Qiānlǐ zhī xíng, shǐyú zú xià.”

Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu Chinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)

Italki – is an excellent resource and one that I regularly use to help me learn languages via Skype lessons. These lessons offer flexibility that fits perfectly into my busy lifestyle. Lessons can vary in price but start from about $5 for a 30 minute session. Register using this link to receive an additional $10 in credits after you have complete your first paid lesson!

uTalkuTalk is one my favourite resources for learning languages. It uses verbal, visual and fun exercises to teach languages increases your chance of success. Their tried and tested products work by stimulating both sides of the brain at the same time – the visual memory (right brain) and verbal (left side). This dual-coding improves recall and learning dramatically. Adding fun to the mix helps release the neurotransmitter chemical dopamine which keeps you motivated and improves memory recall. A fabulous free alternative is LingoHut.

Easy Peasy Chinese –This book and audio CD (Amazon) is a fabulous resource for beginners and will help you get to grips with speaking, writing and understanding the basics of the language in no time.

The Chineasy Range – An excellent resource for visual language learners. From books to flashcards and even board games. I have used this range to teach my own family Chinese. check out the full range on Amazon.

HelloChinese – Learn Chinese via this awesome app which is similar to Duolingo. There is a paid element, but the free content will enable you to grasp the basics via gamification methods. Although I don’t recommend using this app alone as it is not a replacement for real conversations. It is however a welcome and fun boost to vocabulary and learning the sounds of Chinese.

Learning Chinese? Let us know in the comments section below what resources you are currently using.

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Learning a new language and would like some community support? Come join our free, friendly and supportive group today or sign up for our free-mentorship programme! 

Thanks for visiting Language Learners Journal! If you have enjoyed this article please share it and inspire your friends and family to learn Chinese.



Language Learning Goals: Clear the List in December 2017

Wishing all my readers a

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year! 

As we approach 2018 I have reflected back upon what I have achieved over the year and also the direction I would like to take in 2018 in regards to my own language learning.

2017 Reviewed 

It has been an amazing year for Language Learners Journal. I Started the year as just a lady with a hobby blog and about 10 followers! As 2017 comes to a close the blog has become a business that is venturing towards a social enterprise and I now have a total of around 5000+ followers across different social media channels, 2 books (Mindful Learning: How to Be More Focused and Productive and Positively Productive) and a Mindful Learning course that has become one of the top mindfulness courses on Udemy!

I have done over 100 FREE one-to-one sessions for people struggling with their stress levels, confidence or motivation when it comes to language learning. Plus a few other writers have joined the community and write on a regular basis for me! If you are passionate about learning languages and would like to guest blog please contact me.

On a downside, my language learning did suffer this year as a consequence of the business being born, family commitments and continuing to work in my day job.  I have neglected my Spanish learning. Although that said this year I did add the very basics of German and even Icelandic to my belt! My Mandarin monthly meetup group continues to run in the local community and I am lucky to have a wonderful facilitator who keeps things going for me whilst I do the backstage admin to ensure the group has a booked space every month.

My Goals Language for December 2017

The theme of my language learning this month will be Christmas: Food and Drink.

Chinese Mandarin (Reading & Speaking) 

  • Daily Duolingo + Memrise + Utalk – I am super excited that Duolingo has now added Chinese! Finally, YAY!
  • Chineasy + Flashcards.
  • Read Peter and the Wolf in Chinese.
  • Find a new Italk tutor (or check to see if my old tutor is still teaching on the platform as she was excellent.


  • Utalk + Flash Acamedy App + Duolingo. I am in competition with my daughter on Duolingo and she is currently winning!
  • Listen to all my favorite Christmas carols in Spanish.


  • I purchased an excellent German course on Udemy and I plan to finish this before the end of December.
  • Listen to all my favorite Christmas carols in German.

My Language Goals for 2018 

I am planning to continue with my Chinese Mandarin, German, and Spanish in 2018. In addition, I hope to add some programming languages too! So as of January, I will be introducing Python and Java Script into the equation.

The beginning of 2018 is my 1st anniversary of joining #CleartheList, which is a goal setting network of dedicated language learners. I have to say I really enjoy reading the other blogs and I am inspired deeply by the dedication of this community. I would like to say a big thank you to the hosts Lindsay (Lindsay Does Languages), Kris Broholm (Actual Fluency), Angel Pretot (French Lover), and Shannon Kennedy (Eurolinguiste). The aim of Clear the List is to set and share your language learning goals for a given month and then obviously try your best to achieve them by the end of it!

Thank You!!! 

I just want to say a BIG thank you to my amazing readers who have supported the blog over the past year. My blog has been viewed over 220,000+ times during 2017, which isn’t  a bad amount for our first full year!

It costs time and money to keep this blog running, and these costs can be high. Therefore I want to thank my awesome Patrons who offer some financial support to help keep this site running. If you like what Language Learner’s Journal is about and want to sponsor the website, please feel free to donate – even if it’s just to fuel me with coffee to keep me producing content, giving free one-to-one sessions and help keep the site ad-free, YAY! You can donate anonymously or contact me and I’ll pop your name or logo on our dedicated page along with a link to your site.


Keep Language Learners Journal ad-free and help us invest in better equipment so we can continue to produce awesome content for language learners!


A Gift For You… 

As a thank you for being part of the Language Learners Journal Community my eWorkBook Positively Productive(US Link) will be FREE from 1st December for 5 days only! Download ASAP and if you like my book please leave an honest review on Amazon.

Frohe Weihnachten und die besten Wünsche für das neue Jahr!

¡Feliz Navidad y mis mejores deseos para el nuevo año!


Going forward into the new year what would you like from Language Learners Journal? More blogs, more videos, podcasts. Let me know in the comments section below, thank you…

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