Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mandarin Chinese- first lesson.

Harold Goodman has taken over from the late Michel Thomas, having been taught his method. Today I did part of the first lesson from the Foundation course and was most impressed.

Learning a language as different as Mandarin Chinese, he says, exposes your mind to a completely new discipline. He also says it is quite an easy language to learn. I shall see...

There are four tones in Mandarin Chinese, and in this method each tone is associated with a hand movement: a green thumb which is something level like the chime of a bell; a blue finger pointing to the sky in which the voice rises as in a question; a red V of two fingers where a note falls and then rises again; and then finally a short sharp black note of one finger stabbing downwards at the ground. It was entertaining and fun. More tomorrow.


Blogger Jason Erik Lundberg said...

I think it's very cool that you're learning Chinese in order to go to China. I live in a country where Chinese are the majority of the population, but almost everyone here speaks at least some English, so I've never felt the need to learn. Well, except for "I love you" and "Thank you."

Janet has tried to teach me a few things, but the tones are really difficult for me to grasp. The languages I know are Latin-derived (French, and little bits of Spanish and Italian), and don't rely on tonal articulation, so it's hard for me to distinguish between the different tones. Best of luck!

So is this a DVD set?

Sun Jun 28, 04:41:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Strange, I was thinking of you when the teacher mentioned Singapore in the introduction. I find it quite charming and touching that you've only learnt those phrases, but (and this is only on the basis of the first lesson) think you might find these CDs quite useful, especially learning the tones since he makes you associate them with hand movement.

I think psychologists have found that by mixing and matching parts that use different parts of the brain we learn things more easily. Some people seem to pick things up more easily if they move, others if they sing or imagine pictures...

They are a box of CDs - I'll add a link for There's no writing involved. All you have to do is sit back and relax - and then you have Janet to practise on!

Sun Jun 28, 09:35:00 am  
Blogger Jason Erik Lundberg said...

Thanks for the link, Clare! I may have to check that out.

Regarding what you note about using different parts of our brain to learn, Alan Moore said something to this effect years ago, about how comics or sequential art is the perfect medium for retaining information because it uses both images and words simultaneously.

Sun Jun 28, 03:03:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Aha, I didn't know about Alan Moore, that does sound interesting. Astue man, obviously. Thanks for letting me know.

Sun Jun 28, 04:38:00 pm  
Blogger Jud said...

I learned how to pronounce the names of some residents from the PRC and Taiwan when I was at university many years ago. That was as close as I have ever come to learning the language.

Mon Jun 29, 08:56:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Well you did better than I did, Jud. I used to share and office with a man called Myron. Of course his name wasn't really that - it was something all the Chinese students did before they left their country. They worked through a list of names and chose one that sounded most like their own name. Now I wish I'd learnt his name too - and found out what it meant.

Mon Jun 29, 09:51:00 pm  
Blogger jem said...

I was just talking about language learning the other day. I can't speak anything of anything other than my own English. I wonder if I'm somehow deficient in the skills needed. I'd like to try one day though. I'm ok at remembering individual words in other languages, but it's putting them together that stumps me.

Fri Jul 24, 12:53:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

I'm about the same, Jem. I think because we speak English it makes us lazy. It is fun, and kind of mind-expanding, even if you're not very good - like me.

Fri Jul 24, 03:53:00 pm  
Blogger Michael Chiarello said...


Mandarin Chinese lessons have been designed to provide practical travel vocabulary and a foundation for basic conversational skills through a simple listen and repeat format. Thanks a lot...

Study Chinese In China

Mon Oct 31, 07:06:00 am  

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