beginner or intermediate chinese

116. Beginner Or Intermediate?

Podcast Duration: 00:42:04

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The Mandarin Blueprint Podcast focuses primarily on The Mandarin Blueprint Method online curriculum. Creators Luke Neale & Phil Crimmins answer questions and comments, discuss topics related to China and Mandarin learning, and have special guests.

116. Beginner Or Intermediate?

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1:20 Comments & Emails

Ric Santos on ANKI DECKS INSIDE – Now Just LOOK at how SOLID that Foundation Is!

Thank you Luke and Phil for a well-thought-out course – the Foundation Course. You are both very good educators at heart and in practice. Both of you were able to extract from us the best that we could give and the most that we could reach. Like doctors, you also give gradual dosage and warn us of possible counter-indications so as not to get “sick of Mandarin”. You know when to let us fall, commit some mistakes; you treat each of us differently when the circumstances call for it, and you answer most of our questions; you encourage and praise when needed and recognize quiet efforts. Like developers, you keep the door ajar
to attract us to the next level. Like trainers, you constantly challenge us to do just a little more +1. About the intermediate course, you have forewarned us of the vast plateau (and flat-too) that lies ahead. But even if the rugged mountains are behind I hope there will still be gentle streams and plenty of breeze to go with during this intermediate course, before we barrel through again to the tunnel of hard rocks! Thanks for preparing us in the foundation course! I enjoyed it so much.


Gavia Arctica by Community

Hi Luke & Phil! 

I signed up on Hello Talk today!!! What a fun and addictive way to start practising Chinese and see the characters “come alive”! I had learned some Chinese before starting the MB course but had not tried to communicate with anyone during my MB time because I wanted to build a more solid base before I try my skills again in the real world. 

Now I was just amazed how much I could write, probably not correctly but it seems that it was all understandable and it feels great to see that I can read short messages written in Chinese by real Chinese people, I was actually COMMUNICATING IN CHINESE! 

It literally felt like the characters are “coming alive” little by little and there were some longer sentences that I could not understand at all at first sight but after rereading a few times I actually could read everything, guessing the missing characters/words from the context. I don’t know how to tell you how amazing it feels!!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you do, today has been one of those… I don´t know how to call them…. amazing “I can do this!” moments! I have been just patiently following the course for the past four months or so, no time to do anything else than just a few new characters a week and review, review, review – but now that I put my Chinese to a “real world” test again I noticed how much I have actually learned! Even if I already “knew”  from before all of the characters I have studied in the course so far, I didn´t know anything, but NOW I know how to USE them because I have seen them in the context in the course sentences and what a difference that makes at the time of actually starting to test my Chinese in the real world!


Lucy Haley on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 来自

You guys are absolute legends.
Was wondering how you felt about copying the sentences to practice writing?

Also at what stage (I know it’s a while away yet) where you would suggest we start speaking? (eg iTalki)



Ann Bihari on ANKI DECKS INSIDE – Now Just LOOK at how SOLID that Foundation Is!

I’m super excited to have reached the end of the Foundation Course. So stinking cool!! Thank you for creating such a wonderful course!

I’m 56, working full-time remotely, living in Texas, and a little over a year ago I decided to try Mandarin for fun. I started with Pimsleur and Paul Noble on Audible for my commute supplemented with an assortment of apps. At some point, I stumbled upon your podcast which eventually led me to the online course. I started the free trial with the Pronunciation Mastery course on June 1, 2020 and I was instantly hooked.

One of my favorite things — the triggered emails when a course level has been completed. I know it seems like such a small thing, but I really looked forward to them and they would often push me that little extra bit to go ahead and learn 3 or 4 more characters that night just to get the email.

About 3/4 of the way through, the sentences started to overwhelm me in Anki, so I took your suggestion to only unsuspend the red tagged ones. That helped, but I still have a couple of hundred review sentences that are backlogged, so I’ll take this week to get those cleared out before moving on.

I’ve loved reading other’s comments, questions, prop suggestions, movies, etc. Thanks y’all!

I need to summon the courage to find a tutor so that I may practice conversation skills, but I’m a shy introvert with ADHD, so all the things… Does anyone have someone they’d like to recommend?

Looking forward to starting the intermediate course in about a week!


Oscar Haglund on It’s a Word! 怕

In the first sentence, 很 means “very” but in the second it means “is”. They seem grammatically the same, why is there a difference in translation?


Alex Sumray on Vocab Unlocked from 秋

Hi all,
Just wondering;
When do we use 季 as opposed to 天 when talking of the seasons? Ta


季节 jìjié = Season/Period
季度 jìdù = Quarter (of a year)
旺季 wàngjì = Busy Season
淡季 dànjì = Off Season


William Beeman on It’s a Word! 火

Hi, in 我火了,所以我现在一点儿也不想和我妈说男朋友的事 what is the function of 也 in this sentence? Thanks!


Wǒ yìdiǎn yě bùzhīdào
I haven’t the foggiest (idea)

Wǒ yìdiǎn dōu bù xiǎng chūmíng.
I do not want to be famous even a little.


Maxwell Lane on Level 13 Complete

I had a very similar experience, I got a few days behind whilst clearing all the sentences and then worried a little that I doing as many new characters/videos. But I’m now all caught up and getting used to reviewing sentences, the point you made earlier Phil, that when you start sentences is when they are going to be the hardest gave me great comfort and was so true.

I’m now much more efficient getting through sentences, it was quite draining at the start as reading the sentences was quite slow and laborious but my language module is starting to get up to speed now and it was well worth the effort to get here. Great work to everyone else who’s made it this far let’s keep going!


Jessica m on  Make a Movie 土

Any tips on not confusing 土 with 士 (of which, I already know a handful more of these will come like 往 and 住)

28:13 Movies! 

This blog post explains the theory behind Movie Scenes and learning characters.

Hank Elliott on Make a Movie 共

My childhood friend Greg (g-actor) is in the locker room(tone) of my gym (gym=strong= ong-set). He is rapidly trimming his terribly long leg hair(prop, and he is a very hairy guy) with a giant pair of shears (prop). It’s ALTOGETHER gross. He is trimming in time with the piped in gym muzac station playing the Beetles “Altogether Now…” All the guys in the locker room are grossing out ALTOGETHER. The sound of scissors snip snip sniping, combined with the gong-show-like sound of someone banging on the lockers to make him stop become ALTOGETHER deafening. Snip-snip-gong-gong! “Altogether now “…Ahhhhhh


Ric Santos on Make a Movie 低

Wow. Princes Diana 亻went to my childhood home and at the entrance gate she was speaking in a low 低声 voice softly mentioning her family 氏 name 丶(dropped her name) ever so softly to keep a low 低 profile.


Robert Carver on Make a Movie 露

Note I do not condone the events depicted in this scene.
ICE Agent Luke Skywalker (Lu) is in the bathroom at Dad’s house, hunting illegal aliens. He hears a sound behind the shower curtain and uses the force to pull the curtain off the rod, EXPOSING a terrified Frodo Baggins (⻊). With shaky hands, Frodo pulls out a passport (各) and pleads that he’s legal, but Luke again uses the force to summon a solitary raincloud (雨) that pours rain over Frodo, running the ink on the passport and EXPOSING it as fake, thus EXPOSING Frodo as illegal.


Will R on Make a Movie 硬

KEYWORD: 硬 yìng Hard
Actor: yi-
Set: -(e)ng
Room within Set (tone): Toilet
Prop(s): 石 (Sword in the Stone), 更 (Jabba The Hut)

Make a movie:
1. yi- at -(e)ng’s Toilet
2. Jabba The Hut (更) is there is to battle yi- and he is a very very HARD opponent
3. yi- sees the Sword in the Stone (石) next to her and tries to pull it out – but it’s very HARD (硬)
4. yi- finally pulls the Sword in the Stone out after a very HARD pull
5. yi- strikes Jabba The Hut, with a HARD blow from the Sword in the Stone
6. After a big HARD slash, yi- defeats Jabba The Hut


Nick Sims (戴燚)on Make a Movie 其

Qi-Qi (qi-) is practicing her Kung Fu forms in the kitchen (2nd tone) in my childhood home when she is confronted by a clan of samurai warrior Klondike Bars (甘) armed with nunchucks (八); of many different varieties. Qi-Qi gives them a deathly stare and advises THEM, HE/HER, that she is THEIR master. She quickly stuns THEM each with a ninja star (一) to the gut, as the realize that she is not like any OTHER.

1 December, 2020