inspiring acheivements of mandarin blueprint members

134. The Inspiring Achievements of Our Members

Podcast Duration: 00:40:18
136. Finishing Your Foundation & Trusting Your Brain

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2:00 Comments & Emails










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0:05 Comments & Emails

Alex Sumray on Level 57 Complete

Wow, mazeltov congrats and 恭喜 to all you fellow intermediate finishers.

I had planned to finish the final 30 characters over the course of the next two weeks, but I woke up today and decided to just rip the plaster off and I can’t really believe I’ve reached this point.

Going to China was never really on my agenda up until a few years ago and even when I was there, learning Mandarin was never something I put much thought into (too hard init).

Then one day, scrolling through Facebook “ah man, bloody ads”. But praise the lord for autoplay. A free trial later and now maybe eleven months on, with 1530 characters down, it’s all a bit surreal and I’m excited for my future Mandarin journey.

I am now more than happy to have a good lie down until the next course comes out (honestly, no rush lads!). A huge thank you to you both, what you have created is an achievement you should be really proud of and I think has opened an otherwise quite impenetrable Chinese made door one of those automatic sensor doors (basically you’ve made the whole thing easy!).

Thank you!


Al (泰光) Roy (王) on Level 22 Complete

“This is Ridiculous to Say, But…

We’re proud of you. Yeah, Luke and I have (probably) never met you and saying “we’re proud of you” suggests that your perseverance is somehow anything other than individual achievement on your part, but I don’t know; it just feels right. I think of the fact that you’ve come this far, you’re reading this email, and I feel joy and admiration at the thought that you’re genuinely bettering yourself.

Take that moment to recognize your success and use it as fuel to keep going.”

Well, Phil: upon reading that, I can attest to it being anything but ridiculous (I know you know that). And while I can only speak on my own behalf, I am sure that my thoughts here are shared by many others when I say that I feel a measure of pride in you two as well; not only because of your (IMHO) groundbreaking work, but because I do get the sense that it truly matters to you that your students succeed with learning Mandarin, for reasons other than only business related – as important as that is.

Your passion and enthusiasm for what you both do, and for what you are helping us do comes across in spades on your videos, to a degree that I believe is impossible to fake and still be believable.

We all have to make a living, and business is of course business; but the human element – the fact that you guys actually care – at the end of the day, that’s what really matters. Just know that as I see things, you are in your own way making the world a better place to be.

Thank you for what you do; you’re definitely on the right track!


Anita Rogers by Community

Hi. I’m a retired business owner, legal editor, and sixth-grade English and Reading teacher.  I jumped into seriously learning Mandarin a few weeks ago as I want to keep my brain active and I wanted something challenging!  Definitely found that in learning Chinese!  I’ve learned many characters and words by sight and can understand a couple of hundred conversational words when I hear them (just a bit of Chinese movie watching has gone on here!)

Here’s my issue.  As a Reading and English teacher as well as my 10 years of reading legal opinions and cases for a legal publishing company 8-10 hours every day, I find that I might need to just concentrate on pronunciation for a while and not get into anything else.  The reason I’m thinking that is that whenever I see anything in Pinyin, my brain just automatically assigns English pronunciation to it.  It’s annoying!  I’m sure most second language learns suffer from this, but it is driving me crazy.  I feel like I’m stumbling around trying to get my brain back to thinking in Chinese.  I don’t want to establish bad habits as I know how hard they are to correct.  Should I veer away from learning words and characters and just focus on the pronunciation unit until it becomes as automatic as English?   Or, should I not focus as much on looking at Pinyin and just on the characters? Any feedback is appreciated.  Even if it is frustrating, I’m NOT giving up!  Stubborn determination has set in, and I will make my brain cooperate!  Thanks!


Chad Erickson by Community

Hi Phil and Luke,

Thanks for the great product. I used to live in Chengdu and have been studying Mandarin for 3 years or so off and on. My current level is HSK 3/600 characters. I wanted to start the Mandarin Blueprint from the beginning so I would be able to build the hanzi movie method techniques necessary for learning words in the future. I already have an intimate understanding of many of the words introduced in Phase 1 and 2 due to pure exposure and repetition the past 3 years. Do you see any downside to me skipping the “make a movie” part for these words? In general, if there are any words that us students already are very familiar with, can we save the time and “mental imagery space” by just skipping the movie making part? 



Marek Kasperski on  BONUS: SRS – The Memory Game

So unbelievably cool. You guys are the masters. What you are saying just works beautifully. I’m convinced… I’m learning.


Eugenia Verenko on Unit 5 Wrap-Up

love how quickly Phil talks through the wrap-ups, and thanks ever so much for creating Anki cards for the whole course (what a huge job!!) <3


Nik Ade on YOU DID IT!!!

You guys are doing such a wonderful Job. I had no idea Chinese had that many pronunciations lol!!


Chris Young on Level 19 Complete

Between the shadowing, Anki review, listening to background audio, etc., I may have to quit my job to have time 😉

More seriously, I’ve found that an initial shadowing followed by a couple of times repeating just the combination of characters where the flow/tone combination tripped me up helped me improve shadowing the full sentence the next time I saw it. Or maybe not until the 3rd or 4th time if it was really tricky.


Raiyan Syed on Nasal Final UANG (WANG): 忘 wàng,爽 shuǎng

It seems like shuang in the third tone indicates satisfaction of any sort.


Anne Giles on Level 9 Complete

I was thinking the same thing. The end of Level 9 is sort of the turning point. Having climbed that part of the mountain, I can see making it to the top. I happily add to other commenters’ praise and thanks, Luke and Phil!


Soren Korsbaek on Cao Chong Weighs The Elephant 曹冲称象 – 98% Reached!

For what it’s worth I wanted to mention that out of these two stories I found “司马光砸缸” really easy whereas for some reason I still struggled a bit with part 2 of 曹冲称象. At least when in the flow of just reading it naturally. When taking it slow, double checking a few things, etc. this one was definitely understandable too – certainly in comparison to how I’ve perceived it previously. Super cool to experience the progress and read the first story as was it your native language!

28:38 Vocab Living Links

This section covers “Living Link” mnemonic techniques to remember Chinese words of two or more characters. Here’s a video explaining the theory behind it.

Bethany Fehr on Vocab Unlocked from 包: 面包

I’m imagining my brother making his lunch: He puts pieces of bread “face-to-face” (sandwiches) and then puts them in a plastic bag.


Clare Murphy on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 的话

One for fellow Brits/U.K. residents “If the ravens ever leave the Tower of London, then…” A nice dramatic visual there. One of the birds did go missing in the past year and some people got a bit twitchy!!


Oscar Haglund on Vocab Unlocked from 拉: 拉肚子

I made sure to include “clipart” in my search. At least that way it can’t be THAT bad.


Jason Pon on Vocab Unlocked from 情: 情况

Mike the Situation from Jersey Shore… always getting into Situations!!!

34:32 Movies! 

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

John Nomura on Make a Movie 实

On the kitchen roof (宀) of my childhood home, I see Sean Connery looking at 2 coneheads (头) and trying to decide if they are REAL humans or not. Something about them is REALLY not right.


Will Raley on Make a Movie 逃

逃 táo To Escape

1. Tom at -ao’s Kitchen
2. Evil Anakin Skywalker (兆) comes to destroy Tom with his lightsaber
3. Tom needs To ESCAPE
4. A Red Carpet (辶) rolls out to Tom and he ESCAPES (逃) the Kitchen via the Red Carpet as Evil Anakin Skywalker chases along the Red Carpet

(Btw how long as that typo for “Excape” been up there? 😛 )


Ric Santos on Make a Movie 绩

i-actress is at -null set’s backyard, gathering wheat after the harvest. She uses a silk (纟) string to bundle the bales (龶) of wheat. For every bale of wheat (龶) that Ji-actress can tie up securely with a silk (纟) string, she gets a Merit (绩) badge made of seashells (贝) . Jì (绩).


Nick Sims (戴燚)on Make a Movie 九

Janet Jackson (ji-) is in the bedroom at Wilson Hall (-u/-ou) combining her martial arts skills with dancing in a new routine. She is twirling a samurai sword (丿), ninja star (一) and Maui’s Fish Hook (乚) NDA dancing to the song “Get Low” by Lil John.


Ric Santos on Make a Movie 研

Yi-Actress in her kitchen (2nd tone) at the -an set, uses the kitchen grinding stone (石) to grind (研) the dull parts of the bottle opener (开). 研 = yán