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Learning Mandarin

SloSlo Registered User regular
edited January 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey folks, i'm looking at self taught resources for learning them there Chinese languages. I live in an area where there is a a 50% Chinese background population wise, and I figure it's about time to figure out what I'm ordering at Dim Sum. (I am aware of the differences of Cantonese, and Mandarin)

So, I'm coming to you, the internet! I need suggestions for starter books 'n whatnot. Maybe CDs? I hear Rosetta Stone is not really that great for Mandarin as it can't pick up the subtle inflection differences.

Emphasis on spoken, and I might try to fuddle my way down the written some time in the future.


Slo on


  • mightyjongyomightyjongyo Registered User regular
    CD's or audio of some sort will definitely be the way to go as far as picking up the inflections, although a book may help figure out how to pronounce them? Is there a Mandarin-speaking radio station? Constant exposure helps with picking up a language.

    Just to be sure, are you having trouble with hearing the inflections or knowing if you're speaking correctly? Exposure will help with the first, record yourself speaking for the second (or get a friend who knows the language to help).

    Sorry I don't have any specific sources for you, but I hope it helps at least.

  • SloSlo Registered User regular
    My girlfriend speaks mandarin. So I think once I get some working knowledge of speaking from books, I can get exposure. Albeit exposure that will laugh at me. Ive found it really difficult to pick up the inflection in conversation , pronouncing it once I actually know what I'm trying to say isn't horrid. Thanks for the input! A radio station isn't a bad idea.

  • UrQuanLord88UrQuanLord88 Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    You already possess the fastest method of learning, through a significant other! If you're just interested in ordering Dim Sum in mandarin, just memorize the various food names. Cantonese might even serve you better on that front.

    Other than that, you might want to learn memorize the pinyin system. I think it will give you a solid base to start from and it will, at least, allow you to type in mandarin. is a podcast I listen to if you're into those things. They provide lessons at various difficulties.

    If you have about an hour, there's an interesting one about foreigners' experiences learning Chinese. In it, they recommend to start

    UrQuanLord88 on
    Streaming 8PST on weeknights
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    You already possess the fastest method of learning, through a significant other!

    This really is the best option. In school face time with a fluent speaker was the most valued resource. Also, reading kind of goes hand in hand with learning to speak. I'd recommend getting a simple passage, sitting with your girlfriend, and going over it.

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