Episode 174 - Consume Enough Chinese and You WILL Be Able to Produce It

174. Consume Enough Chinese and You WILL Be Able to Produce It

Podcast Duration: 00:43:41

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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.

174. Consume Enough Chinese and You WILL Be Able to Produce It

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6:35 Comments & Emails

Patrick Beatty ? by Community

I’m interested in finding study buddy(ies). I’m in USA Raleigh, North Carolina area. So I’m in the USA eastern time zone.

I’ve been “trying” to learn Chinese for a few+ years. My Chinese teacher told me about MB because she has 4 or 5 other student using MB. This was the 2nd. time she told me. So I decided, ok, I will start fresh. This was about June 2021. I am now at level 22, working on level 22 sentences. So I’m not burning up the MB course. For me slow and steady seems good. Though, I envy everyone who is ahead of me.

Before starting I already had pretty good daily study habit. Though MB is helping me make my study habits more effective. The interviews with Christine and Rebecca have stuck with me about their being study buddies. So I’m interested to find some folks interested in helping and encouraging each other with our passion to learn Chinese.


Jack Steadman by Email

Hi MB just wanted to get in touch after your level 16 email, I had a general question about the learning process. I’ve been studying Chinese for a few months now seriously and would ideally like to be able to express myself in even a basic way. I do daily reviews and try to get through the sentences , but just on the pedagogy, when should I realistically start working toward even basic output ?

I have soo much input daily and I read that output should be less of a concern but it feels like a natural step to want to be able to express myself, even in a basic way, but I keep getting a bit stuck in terms of word order , avoiding pinyin and trying to fit time locators in the right place e.g given multiple subjects. Also I’m not sure if this is just an oversight on my part but when it comes to memorising words, are the tones for word phrases always the same as the component words ? My tones are generally ok but sometimes I miss one or two.

I’m not sure if it’s just a transitional stage and even despite the daily anki use sometimes I feel a bit worried about completely forgetting all prior characters I’ve learned especially when adding new ones and increasingly abstract movies. I would like to be able to separate things clearly and not stumble too much, but would you have any advice for someone maybe half way through beginner stage and eager to nail the basics right ?

Thanks very much as always Jack Steadman


James Rogers by Email

Hey Luke and Phil…I have to say that I’m unbelievably happy to have finished the intermediate course. It’s taken from 1st September until 12th March at around two hours or maybe a bit more a day. For a lot of it I managed a level a week…but level 58 has taken 6 weeks to do! I’ve unlocked every sentence which has made it slower but I’ve definitely gained the benefits from doing it that way. There’s a few points about the process and my current understanding that I’d like to share…

A little way into the intermediate course I had a revelation…every language is complex, it’s the tool to communicate our understanding and experience of everything in the world…which is kind of vast!!! I was definitely in the land of delusion when I started learning mandarin, thinking that I could learn a language in 18months. There’s so much colour and nuance to language that it would have to take a lot longer than my ignorance had led me to believe, lol. Just like you don’t learn to play an instrument to a really high level in a year why would a language be quicker. So I needed to readjust my mindset…

The intermediate stage is hard…you still know very little but you’ve put a lot of work to get there. I felt like true breakthroughs were very far between until I started to get outside the course a bit more and could see the progress. I’ve been writing the subtitles out of a film I love and know well in English so I can use it as comprehensible input…by watching and reading the same content over and over until it’s reflexively understandable I feel like it’s helping to build my listening comprehension. What was really amazing was when I found myself being able to write out 5 minutes of dialogue and look up only a few characters! It showed me that the real discrepancy is between my listening ability and my reading ability. Which lead me to explore a bit further…

I looked up the Matt Vs. Japan YouTube channel that you’ve spoken about before. He has some great videos on the difference between reading and listening, especially in connected speech. By watching some of his material and finding out more about the work of Stephen Krashen I started to learn what you mean by language acquisition. I can learn to read and write…but ultimately I have to listen/watch 1,000’s of hours of content to actually acquire the language…which I can’t force on a conscious level. There is no real short cut. I see now why you say about immersion and the role it plays. I guess I needed to understand that at first I should expect to understand very little of native content spoken at speed despite the fact I know 4,000+ Chinese words….and that’s okay, I just needed to clock up the hours and let the subconscious do the work of connecting the dots. Hearing that Matt achieved fluency in Japanese with mass exposure to content, content he didn’t understand at all at first, alongside some study of the writing system was so encouraging.

This was the first time I could see how I would learn the language to the level of fluency I want, which is having near native level conversations about lots of subjects and it being completely free flow…but I could also see the amount of time it would take. So I halved my time on Mandarin Blueprint and started to get into more immersion so as to help me close the gap between my reading and listening. I also started listening to content almost all day long…my wife is so amazing so lets me have it on low in my bone conduction headphones (which mean I can always hear what else is going on around me and even have conversations). This is starting to make a real difference and my comprehension is improving. I love the idea that after enough exposure I would get to the point where I couldn’t not understand a Chinese person, just like I can’t not understand English when I hear it.

I’ve abandoned the idea of bothering with speaking until I’ve finished the Advanced course and my listening improves so I get a lot more of what’s being said. I still speak out ever flash card each day so I am getting speaking practice but it’s not my focus, for at least the rest of the year comprehension is. I feel happy coming to terms with the fact that next year is when I will really start look at speaking more.

I think the fact I can read graded readers at HSK level 5 and know the vast majority of the subtitles of a RomCom film after only 8 months on the MB course is staggering. I know 1560+ characters and very rarely have a struggle remembering any of them while reading, even out loud. I also have fairly good comprehension of any sentence I read with a few exceptions here and there. What an incredible course. I can learn a character now in 30 seconds to a minute…but that’s the easy bit, learning compound words and unlocking sentences takes a lot more time but every day I unlock 20 flash cards so I’m always moving forward.

The dream is for our family to go to Taiwan in February 2024 for 6 weeks to join some friends out there and get fully immersed in the culture and language…I’m really hoping that I will have made some good strides towards being fluent by then.

Thanks so much for all your work Luke and Phil. The course is a game changer, Jimmy Rogers


Alice on Level 15 Complete

Can you recommend any short C-dramas that a newcomer would enjoy? I think more immersion would be good for me.


Nick on What’s Next? Phase 3 and Beyond

You made the right choice (for your customers) changing to a monthly/annual membership.

I find myself motivated to progress so much faster to maximize my money’s worth each month!


Anjulee on 过来 in Context

In Australia, we use “…in a sec…” to mean soon, but not necessarily immediately or right now. For example, “I’ll do it in a sec…” means I will do it soon(ish), but not straight away. That is, I’ll do it once I finish what is currently occupying me.

Can I substitute your English translation of 马上 with the words ‘right away’, ‘straightaway’ or ‘immediately’? Or have you used 马上 with the same intended meaning of being there ‘soon’ as opposed to its dictionary meaning of ‘immediately’?






Lynn Ford on Make a Movie #3050 – 掷

Did I….. Did I just really learn my last character with Mandarin Blueprint? I cant imagine there will be another level beyond advanced. Wow. 3,050 characters. I have cried a lot when hitting milestones on this journey of learning Mandarin. Funny how today isn’t one of those days. I think I am in shock.

I love that the last character I learned is “to throw dice” because MB was a gamble for me to begin with, I really didn’t believe you guys and fought so hard against trying you out in my search for Mandarin teachers. Best gamble of my life. All it cost me was $1.00. At this point in 2021 I did not know any characters at all, although I was struggling my way through the PM course. This has not been an easy journey but it has been a fun one. This past year I have been through some of the worst ups and downs in my life, but from day one I trusted what you guys said, trusted the process, and even on my worst days, days of heart break, physical pain, and loss, I never had a zero day. Not one. I did my card reviews at the very least, and here I am 350days later.

I know 3,050 characters. I am reading whole novels (albeit slowly). Still working on grammar and vocabulary, but making progress. I truly have fallen in love with this language and I know for sure I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for the way you guys presented and rolled out this course. Thank you will never be enough for the gift you have given me, I will be going through and learning vocab as you roll it out. At least I am not leaving MB just yet. I test for HSK 6 in June. I don’t need it, but I do love having measures for myself. I wish I could express myself to you and how I feel, but I think its just too big for me to put into words. Just from the bottom of my heart thank you. I have said that a lot in comments, but I really truly mean it.


Simeon on The 21-Day Habit Installation and Testing System

Just finished the habit building course, and I have to say it was definitely worth getting. It has a lot of good suggestions and ideas that I have decided to implement into my life. It surprisingly has a lot more depth than I imagined, and has helped me in more areas than just Mandarin.

I would recommend this course to anyone seeking self-improvement ?


Kate Gans on 老公 in Context

I used 老公 and my teacher was horrified. She said that is like saying “old grandpa” and I should use 先生 instead. Should I be an old grandma before I use 老公? ?

I watched the loom video above and it sounds like people commonly use the 老 terms. But now I think I won’t use this word with people I know only casually.