Podcast Episode 120

120. Layers of Chinese Success

Podcast Duration: 01:04:03

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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.

120. Layers of Chinese Success

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2:29 Comments & Emails

Fabian by Email

Hi Luke,

Hi Phil,

From the bottom of my heart, I just want to thank you for this amazing course. 

The first time I started learning Chinese was about one and a half years ago before I visited my girlfriend’s grandparents in Taiwan. Since then, I tried different online courses, apps and even 1on1 online lessons, but I always struggled and had the feeling that this is the wrong approach. It was so frustrating. With all the other learning methods I couldn’t memorize the easiest words, struggled with pronunciation and memorizing the tones and don’t get me started on characters… I was so discouraged but didn’t want to give up! It’s super important to me to learn Chinese to be able to communicate with my girlfriend’s relatives and to learn more about the culture and history.

A few weeks ago, I found out about your course on reddit and signed up for the free trial. The whole concept was new to me and a bit confusing and wild in the beginning. I thought it’s not for me and just another waste of time. But your way of teaching and the enthusiasm you show in your videos made me stick to the course and so I gave it some time and stayed on it.

What can I say? I recently bought the full bundle and am currently at Phase 2 – level 10. Learning Chinese can be so mesmerizing! I finally love everything about the process! It’s so, so, sooo much fun, I’d cry tears of joy! My girlfriend is super impressed by my progress and we have a laugh about the ridiculous scenes and stories I come up with. One of her favorites is Michael Jackson taking a dump on a golden toilet in my best friends living room. Of course there’s an audience watching him, since it is Michael Jackson. But everyone in the audience wears a weird horse mask. As he sits down on the toilet he jumps to his feet as there are razor blades on the toilet seat. In his pain he neighs like a horse and the audience applauds.

Finally, after struggling for almost two years, I have the feeling of being at home!

Last but not least, I have one quick question. I’m interested in also learning traditional characters in the long run. Are there any videos about that in future lessons or do you guys have any tips on that topic?

Keep up the great work!

All the best



Gavin Meakin on Level 13 Complete

Woohoo! Level 13 done! I’m certainly feeling a sense of satisfaction and pride for making it this far. A couple of months ago I could not have imagined how much I’d be enjoying my Chinese study. Thankyou Luke and Phil. Your course is incredible! Onwards and upwards 🙂


Mason Royal on Level 57 Complete


Thanks so much for the course guys. Can’t praise it enough.

Can’t wait for the next expansion!


Micaela Ellison on 白天 in Context

I don’t think I understand the 在 in 哥哥要在白天休息. Is it required?


Micaela Ellison on 开会 in Context

So could I apply the same grammar rule above and use 一会儿 as the unit of time? For example, 我看了一会儿的书 meaning “I read a book for a while.” For some reason, I want to say 我看书了一会儿 but I think that’s wrong.


Becca G on Vocab Unlocked from 会: 机会 – 一会儿

My Taiwanese friend and speaking partner has been trying to help me learn Mandarin the past year(before finding MB) As such, she finds the 儿化 érhuà rather jarring, so I’ve been taught to largely ignore it. This has causeda bit of confusion for me as I’ve gone forward in MB. I know 哪儿 nǎr can be interchanged with 哪里 nǎlǐ, same rule with 这 zhè, but as more of these 儿化 pop up I have to ask is it fairly normal to simply ignore it? Are there many words that will actually need something there instead, like the 里 above, or are most recognizable without the 儿? I can recognize what they mean when heard, but have grown accustomed to not using them myself. Just curious if this happens in a lot of vocab to
come and your thoughts on dropping the 儿?


Nick Sims (戴燚)on 空间 in Context

In the sentence: 孩子需要关心也需要空间。Why is the second 重要 needed? Shouldn’t it be assumed that if you say 也 then the thing that comes after it takes on the first trait? Leaving the sentence as: 孩子需要关心也空间。


Thomas Brand on Vocab Unlocked from 门: 门口

My living link is the Mouth of Sauron meeting Gandalf for the parley outside the Black Gate.


Robert Toms on Vocab Unlocked from 间: 时间 – 中间

For 时间 I used an image of delta (triangle), the scientific variable for a non-specific interval of time.


Pablo Prieri on YOU DID IT!!!

Hello guys,

This 10 section Pronunciation course is amazing and still helping me today.

I would like also to see a video/section about day-to-day fast speech pronunciation.

For example: how Chinese, during fast speech, pronounce “多少钱” = duo’r’qian / “怎么样” = zen yang/ “我们“ = wom’n / “今天” = jian / 不好意思
= bu’ao’yisi, etc.

This quick tips could help us adjust our ear to hear the subtleties (when I learned French, knowing these tips accelerated my listening skills).

Thanks !


John Nomura on Level 7 Complete

yu, nü, lü ju qu xu
Do you happen to know why they didn’t put an umlaut for all six pinyin?


Oscar Haglund on Start “Shadowing” in Phase 4

So I have a question about shadowing.
If I am to speak with a short delay (say one second). Will I be speaking one word while listening to the audio say another?
I have tried this and found it very confusing (kind of like how it is difficult to speak if you hear an echo of yourself).
If I on the other hand speak more or less at the same time (fractions of a second later) then it feels more natural but because I am speaking at the same time I can’t really tell if I am pronouncing it right because my own sound is drowning out that of the recording.


Nick Sims (戴燚)on 别 in Context

You know just reading these sentences gives you so much confidence that you can do this. I know these words and am building more and more confidence every time building up speed and understanding.

56:58 Movies! 

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


Ric Santos on Make a Movie 汇

In the backyard of the -ei set, Humpty Dumpty sits on the fence wall watching the rain water 氵from many streets 匚onverge onto the 匚anal along the wall. It was like coins rushing into the 匚ash box of the 匚ambio / foreign ex匚hange counter of 汇丰银行 ( HSBC).


Will R on Make a Movie 夏

KEYWORD: 夏 xià Summer
Actor: xi-
Set: -a
Room within Set (tone): Garden
Prop(s): 一 (Rifle), 自 (Pinocchio), 夂 (Turtle)

Make a movie:
1. xi- at -a’s Garden
2. xi- meets Pinocchio (自) and a Turtle (夂), who are very unhappy with the current season of year it is
3. xi- grabs her Rifle (一) and fires it into the sky and then SUMMER magically breaks out
4. xi- and Pinocchio then jump onto top of the Turtle and the 3 of them all ride the Turtle singing together
5. They all sing out (in the warm SUMMER weather) the classic Undertones’ song: “Here comes the SUMMER, Here comes the SUMMER,
Here comes the SUMMER” (夏)


Georg Lohrer on Make a Movie 次

Cassius Clay (c- actor) is in the bathroom of my childhood-home. With uses an ice-pick (冫) to destroy the giant credit-card (欠) of his wife. She again has spent too much money. And he have told her not one TIME, or two TIMES, but multiple TIMES that he cannot afford that. Finally she has to carry the consequences.


Will R on Make a Movie 准

KEYWORD: 准 zhǔn Precise
Actor: John Rambo
Set: -(e)n
Room within Set (tone): Living Room
Prop(s): 冫 (Ice), 隹 (Turkey)

Make a movie:
1. John Rambo at -(e)n’s Living Room
2. A Turkey (隹) randomly wanders around the Living Room which annoys John Rambo
3. John Rambo picks up some Ice (冫) which he will use to send the Turkey away
4. John Rambo holds the Ice up and makes a PRECISE (准) aim at the Turkey
5. John Rambo hits the Turkey PRECISELY with the Ice and the Turkey runs away


Will R on Make a Movie 笑

KEYWORD: 笑 xiào To Laugh
Actor: Sissi
Set: -ao
Room within Set (tone): Bathroom
Prop(s): ⺮ (Bamboo wall), 夭 (Heath Ledger)

Make a movie:
1. Sissi at -ao’s Bathroom
2. Sissi walks into the Bathroom to find a Bamboo wall (⺮) in the way of the Toilet
3. Sissi breaks open the Bamboo wall because she desperately needs the Toilet, only to see Heath Ledger (夭) on the Toilet
4. Sissi backs off in embarrassment, while Heath Ledger LAUGHS
5. Sissi then LAUGHS as she sees the funny side of it now too

29 December, 2020