Friday, July 16, 2021
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Learning Mandarin Chinese Is Easy You Just Think It

Scorpion in Mandarin is xie1 zi. But she said xie2 zi, which means shoe.

Its a process, not a destination. Youre not aiming to speak perfect Mandarin so you can be an interpreter for the United Nations or a secret agent for the CIA (unless you really are trying for that, in which case, cool!). Youre aiming to experience Chinese in all its majestic beauty, language, food, people, culture and all.

Tone 2: Rising Tone (shang) /

If you feel like learning Mandarin, let your heart feel it, embrace it, then do it.

Leave all judgments at the door. Leave all criticisms where you found them. Take up nothing from your past so that you are ready to receive in full in the present.

Tone 4: Entering/Stop-Final Tone (ru)

Rapid Learner Review: An In-Depth Look at Scott H. Youngs Rapid Learner Program

We are now coming into the final days of month two, so its time for another video! In this video I stuck to the topic of my travel plans in Japan, so I edited it to stay on that topic. As such, my italki teacher Yuri didnt get a chance to show how good she is and how well she can communicate with learners – sorry about that! Ill take a break from uploading Japanese videos next week so that I can keep focused on improving my comprehension to interact with natives better, (which will be more of a theme next month, as me doing most of the talking has been the theme this month) as well as finally tidying up the last of my basic vocab and grammar issues so that I have a solid level to improve from for the final weeks of the project.

Out of compassion, Nansen wanted to become a guest in this professor. He knocks from everywhere but there is no door. And even if he breaks down a door, there is no room. The professor was so full, he cannot even enter within himself. He sits outside of his own being, just on the steps, unable to enter.

d. Listening to Chinese songs.I listen to some of my favourite Chinese/Taiwanese artists because I think Chinese is really beautiful. You can learn a lot by listening to popular Chinese songs. On top of that, try karaoke! Dont let embarrassment of messing up or your frog-like voice prevent you from a fun evening out with a small group of friends at the local Chinese karaoke bar. Its truly entertaining and a great way to learn the language.


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The professor looked to be in a hurry, but Nansen said, I will prepare tea for you. You look tired. Wait a little, rest a little and have a cup of tea. And then we can discuss.

Are you a classroom-textbook-contextual-teacher-student learner? Perhaps signing up for Mandarin classes at your local community college is a good option.

f. Visiting and travelling throughout China or Taiwan.Absolutely fun and a wonderful way to experience the country itself, backpacking through China or Taiwan will leave you wanting more. Besides being forced to speak Mandarin (most locals do not speak English and even if they did, it can be quite broken and minimal), realize that simply by being in the local element, you are already learning, every single minute, every single day.

Once upon a time, there lived a Zen master named Nansen.

Do not assume you know everything. Do not assume you know anything until youve tried things out yourself.

c. Watching Chinese movies or TV shows.Though I dont watch TV, this is one of the best ways to continually hear Chinese being spoken. You need to hear it, hear the proper tones, hear it in context to the storyline and in relation to the human connections being made, in order to really encompass more of the language as a whole. Just reading about Chinese wont make you start speaking it like a native. You need to hear it too.

The moment you stop learning is the moment you start dying.

Are you a one-on-one private learner? Perhaps finding a tutor to speak Mandarin with is a viable option.

You learn through trial and error, through experiments, through experiencing, through self-exploration. Empty your head with preconceived notions of what learning Mandarin ought to be, so that you can fully receive.

There is always room for improvement, sure. But is that all we aim for? To have absolute perfect tone, pitch, accent? Or is it to feel at one with the language? To feel comfortable speaking it, conversing with the locals?

Are you a drop-me-on-the-Great-Wall-from-a-helicopter-and-see-if-I-survive type of person? Aka deep and immediate immersion? Then perhaps living in China (or Taiwan) is a preferred option.

Nansen smiled to himself while watching the professor and thought, This man is too full, so much so that nothing can enter him. The answer cannot be given because there is no one to receive it. The guest cannot enter into the house there is no room.

So, if I write a sentence in pinyin (the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet) to say, Hi, my name is Benny. Youre very pretty. I would write it as, Ni3 hao3, wo3 jiao4 Benling. Ni3 hen3 piao4 liang4. Which, by the by, you are. Dont you just love how that worked out?

The professor then said, Stop! What are you doing? This cup cannot hold any more tea, not even a single drop. Are you mad? What are you doing?

Nansen started boiling the water and at the same time looked over to the professor. While the water was boiling, he saw the professor was boiling within, too.

I am reminded of a beautiful Zen tale which I want to share with you here:

Not only was the teakettle making sounds as the water boiled, the professor was making more sounds within, chattering and continuously talking. The professor was preparing himself what to ask, how to ask and from where to begin.

Nansen invited the professor into his home and said, Wait a little.

Mandarin is primarily spoken in mainland China as well as Taiwan (R.O.C.). You will also notice at your citys Chinatown (if you have one) that the owners and workers there will speak either Mandarin or Cantonese, usually.

You know yourself best. You also know how you learn new languages the best.

Realize this kind of negative talk is self-defeating and that you areyour own worst enemy.

What Nansen was saying to the professor was, Empty your head. I am ready to pour.

This is how you learn. This is how Mandarin is actually easy, rather than difficult. This is why you can and WILL do it.

e. Teaching English while living in China or Taiwan.Many foreigners enjoy teaching English in these places, where they are supported by the organization or school they are teaching for, as well as taking Chinese classes all the while. This is a great way to combine immersion in the country while still supporting yourself. Various programs abound, depending on the city/province/country you want to teach at. Google Teach English in China or Teach English in Taiwan and start your research from there. On top of that, ask your friends whove done it for their opinions, experiences, thoughts about it. But dont let their views solely determine your decision to apply and go. Do it only if you want to do it.

Tone 1: Level Tone (ping)

Even if you completely mess up on asking where the bathroom is, the locals will probably be able to decipher bits and pieces of your jumbled Mandarin, enough to point you to the hole in the ground (squat toilets) before you pee your pants and look like a fool.

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There also lived a professor of philosophy and he was walking wearily in his travels and came across Nansens cottage.

Spoken language itself is made to be an active communicative dialogue between two or more persons. People dont speak to each other solely because its the hot language of the month, its a business advantage that one needs to have, its the only way to stand out in the piles of university applications, and so forth.

Learn by doing. Learn by trying. Learn by making mistakes but not letting those mistakes stop you from continuing on.

Do you say to yourself, I am tooold/young/fat/skinny/rich/poor/educated/uneducated/white/black/gay/straight/hairy/hairless/sheep/goat to be learning a new language [or insert any formidable-sounding thing].

Fun-loving Irish guy, full-time globe trotter and international bestselling author. Benny believes the best approach to language learning is tospeak from day one.

b. Going to Chinatown and eating at the local restaurants there.You know the ones. Its the places with menus all in Chinese and nothing is in English. Most of the patrons are Chinese folks too. These places are usually good options and have tastier, more authentic foods. Go there.

People mistake learning for what they did while in formal education. This is a short-sighted viewpoint, for learning is a daily process, a daily activity, a daily habit, a daily exploration and discovery.

Time for a mission update! Last time I updated was after a few days in Manila when I had decided to go down south. I made it to Cebu, and went straight to the very south of that island (around Moalboal) to get some time by the sea (I hadnt been by the sea for […]

And even if you dont, try out all thevarious learning methodsout there. See what works. Its never too late to start learning a new language in whatever medium you prefer. Never.

Start speaking your target language from day 1 with confidence!

Napoleon Hill wrote in his bestselling bookThink and Grow Rich, There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge.

First weeks in the Philippines video tour of my beach cottage

Unconventional language hacking tips from Benny the Irish polyglot; travelling the world to learn languages to fluency and beyond!

How I prepared for the French C1 exam

Nansen poured the tea into the cup. The professor became uneasy as Nansen continuously poured the tea into the cup. It was overflowing; soon, it would be spilling onto the floor.

a. Hanging out with your Chinese friends and asking them to speak Chinese with you.Even a 5-minute conversation with simple greetings is better than nothing. A good friend who doesnt mind speaking with you is all you really need. Treat him/her to a simple meal or bubble tea, chat it up for a while, and if you do that enough times, you may start to realize you can speak more than you thought you could.

Your thirst for knowledge is only secondary to what the knowledge contains. And that is, the potential POWER it has to transform your life, your world.

How can you master French? One way is to set yourself the goal of reaching C1 or C2 level. Ill explain more about that in a moment. So far on this blog Ive usually written about how to get started in language learning. Getting started is one of the biggest hurdles for many language learners, […]

Lets break down learning Mandarin, shall we?

Once you believe you cant do something, cant speak Mandarin without sounding like a bumbling tone-deaf idiot, once you believe in this defeating self-failure, you wont ever be able to grow, you wont ever be able to learn.

So in all honesty,tonesare not the real problem here. Have some faith in yourself!

Tones matter. But dont be limited by them. Have a good sense of humour and take it easy on yourselfwhen you do mess up.

Bennys travel plans for Japan any advice?

Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Esperanto, Mandarin Chinese, American Sign Language, Dutch, Irish

My favourite way to learn a language, and as a result, the culture itself, is to be immersed in the country where the language originates.

Is it possible to become fluent in a language in 3 months?

Here are the 5 ways to get you started saying, Ni hao ma? instead of the usual, Sup dawg. Im feelin some bao zi and bubble tea now, wanna hit up Chinatown? Though that, of course, is also useful, naturally.

Like with any challenges in life, it takes time and habitual practice in order to overcome immersion challenges and thrive on your success over it.

What is your favourite learning medium?

Fluent in 3 months – Language Hacking and Travel Tips

For instance, a friend of mine for her first oral examination at Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), wanted to tell her teacher that she went to Wangfujing Night Market and ate fried scorpions. Verdict: try it sometime. Not as scary/creepy/disgusting as you think!

After she was done with her little conversation, she noticed her teacher had a funny look on her face. She asked, So you went to Wangfujing and ate fried shoe?

I first discovered Scott H. Youngs work several years ago when he shared a post on his blog about how to overcome plateaus. At the time, I was experiencing a significant plateau in music and I was desperate for advice to help me work through it. Scotts article gave me the inspiration I needed to […]

Now, what this means for you is tones matter when learning how to speak Mandarin. One word in Chinese can mean completely different things when you change the tones.

Nansen smiled at the professor and replied, The same is the case with you. You are so alert to observe and become aware that the cup is full and cannot hold any more, why are you not so aware about your own self? You are overflowing with opinions, philosophies, doctrines, scriptures. You know too much already; I cannot give you anything. You have travelled in vain. Before coming to me you should have emptied your cup, then I could pour something into it.

Tone 3: Departing Tone (qu) V

Mandarin, a stress-timed language, has 4 tones whereas Cantonese, a syllable-timed language, has 6. Vietnamese has 6 tones in the North, and depending on other regions, it could have just 5. The Jul-hoan language of Africa has some 30 click consonants. There are many, many moretonal languagesin the world.

Thepractice of speakingMandarin does not need to be like pulling teeth.

Welcome to my new blog Fluent in 3 months! Ive already been making videos over at my main multilingual site Around the World in 80 Mays for some time, and I will include some language learning videos there soon. I have, however, decided to create this new site specifically for discussing my best language learning […]


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