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

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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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#AYearofMandarin

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Clear The List: Language Learning Goals for September 2017

Guten Tag! Hola! 你好!

Welcome to my monthly language learning round up…

German Recap

August was an exciting month for me as I introduced German into my language learning routine. Exposing myself to approximately 10,000 words per-day! It was an interesting challenge that I approached with an open and positive mindset. You can read more about the challenge here Trisha Tests: 10,000 words a day challenge – the outcome.

Whilst doing the challenge I also managed to get to the intermediate section of Flash Academy  – YAY moment. I really do like this app and would highly recommend it. Finally, I have been reading a number of popular children’s books online in German via the fabulous site Amira.

Spanish Recap

I have read “El coloquio de los perros” by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Translated by Interlinear Books. I have also completed the word search section of Spanish Pocket Puzzles.

Chinese Mandarin Recap

I attended the Monthly Mandarin Meetup that I started in my local area over a year ago now. It was really nice to meet other Mandarin learners face-to-face and play some games. We also had some members of the local Chinese community come and join us for a quick chat too.  I have noticed how rusty my spoken Mandarin has gotten.

Recap on Other Language Business 

I hosted an online coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer support and launched the 50 different languages challenge. At the time of writing this, we are at about 30 different languages so far. If you would like to partake in the challenge or simply donate some money to Macmillan Cancer Support check out my post the World’s Biggest Online Coffee Morning.

September Goals: 

September is set to be the busiest month of the year for me so far. Not only is my daughter starting secondary school – feeling very old now. Language learners Journal also turns a year old!

Now for some language goals…

German

  • I recently purchased ‘German in 30 days‘ by Berlitz. It’s a beginners CD and audio-book. I will be using this throughout September.
  • I will continue to use Flash Academy App for about 10-15 minutes per day.

Chinese Mandarin

  • Continue to learn 5-10 new Chinese characters per day via ‘Hello Chinese’ books and Chineasy: 60 Flashcards: The New Way to Read Chinese.
  • Brush up on my spoken Mandarin.
  • I need to do a lot of behind the scenes admin for the local Mandarin Meetup Group this month, booking rooms and promoting. We are hoping to launch our very own website as many of the members do not use Facebook. The face-to-face group will continue to be free and we hope to attract some more members.

Spanish

  • Spanish will be popped on hold this month as I have so many things on the go at the moment and I need to remember to look after myself. Which is an important lesson for us all as we can not pour from an empty bucket.

Language Learners Journal 

  • In September Language Learners Journal will become a not-for-profit social enterprise! With the aim of promoting language learning especially in areas of deprivation, improving confidence, self-esteem and cultural diversity both online and externally. I personally feel it is now more important than ever to learn another language and about other cultures. Especially due to Brexit and as race hate crimes also appear to be on the increase.
  • I will be continuing to offer some initial free 20-minute one-to-one online coaching sessions for those struggling with language learning anxiety and confidence issues.

Join Clear the List!

For more information or to join #Clear the List, click here.