100. The MB Podcast Turns 100! A Special Message From Luke & Phil

欢迎光临! Welcome!

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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.

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10:14 GW-Connector-Except-For-连词-除了

There are two primary contexts where you’ll use the connector “除了”:

Context 1: You want to emphasize that there’s more than meets the eye in a situation. 

除了 + Known Quantity + (以外), (还有)  

Context 2: You want to make a general statement with a clearly defined exception.

除了 + Exception + (以外), Generalization.

Sentence 1:

我除了要完成今天的工作以外,还有另外的事情要完成。 – Level 22
Wǒ chúle yào wánchéng jīntiān de gōngzuò yǐwài, háiyǒu lìngwài de shìqíng yào wánchéng.
Apart from having to finish today’s work, I have another thing I want to finish up.

You might say this to someone who wants to see you later. That person likely already knows that you have work to do, so that’s your “known quantity.” However, they like doesn’t realize that you ALSO (还有) ‘another thing to finish up.’ 

Note: 以外 is optional, but we’d recommend using it to give you more time to think of the second half of your statement.

Sentence 2:

最近几年,除了有些特别想要宝宝的人以外,不少人都不太想生宝宝。 – Level 22
Zuìjìn jǐ nián, chúle yǒuxiē tèbié xiǎngyào bǎobao de rén yǐwài, bùshǎo rén dōu bùtàixiǎng shēngbǎobao.
During the past several years, very few people want to have children except a few who especially want to.

This person wants to generalize: Very few people want to have babies. However, there’s a glaring exception: The people who especially want to. Sure, this is a bit obvious, but this is a grammar lesson for heck’s sake! 

Sentence 3:

除了衣服,还有别的东西要拿吗? – Level 24
Chúle yīfú, háiyǒu biéde dōngxī yào ná ma?
Apart from clothing, do you have anything else you’d like to take?

Here, once again, we have a known quantity from the speaker’s perspective: You want to take clothes. What’s unknown is if there are ALSO (还有) other things you want to take. This is why the “除了” structure is often used in questions like this one.

Sentence 4:

除了那些新陈代谢特别好的人以外,所有经常吃麦当劳的人都会变胖。
Chúle nàxiē xīnchéndàixiè tèbié hǎo de rén yǐwài, suǒyǒu jīngcháng chī Màidāngláo de rén dōu huì biàn pàng.
Apart from those with exceptionally good metabolisms, everyone who frequently eats McDonald’s gets fat.

Once again, the speaker wants to generalize that everyone who eats McDonald’s a lot gets fat, but they recognize that some people don’t seem to get fat no matter what they eat. Therefore, the throw in the exception at the beginning and then make their generalized statement.

The world is full of rules that have exceptions, so you’ll undoubtedly find 除了…以外 to be highly useful. Keep it up!

16:44 Comments & Emails

Ric Santos from Email

Dear Luke and Phil,

Sorry for the late reply. One of MANY good things about the Mandarin Blueprint which I benefit from is that both Luke and Phil ” have been there and have done that”.  They even go beyond just that. They have empathy for the rest of us, and they set up this MBP to help us learners correct our mistakes, and avoid new ones, provide new techniques and help us get to 90% success. All this –  because they saw where their mistakes were, how they wrong methods they took, and now they resolve to help us AVOID them. With the MBP I can even track my progress.

I am not a newbie in Mandarin, I am a returnee learner for a couple of years ( on and off, free-you-tube picker of wonderful tips and tidbits, lot’s of easy lessons…) I have hundreds of words in my arsenal, I just do not know where I place the bullets (words) so I still cannot speak mandarin! I freeze before I can speak Mandarin to someone!

Hopefully, with this method, I can achieve speaking Mandarin…by following step by step the Anki cards prepared by MBP, and by using the Hanzi Movie method efficiently. I am pursuing my desire to learn Mandarin and speak it fluently in the coming months with the MBP.

To Luke and Phil and the MBP Team,  thank you for the hard work, making it easy to follow you.
Ri

19:01

Tammy Liu from Email

Hi Luke and Phil,

I wanted to share my thoughts about the course with you as I’ve been enjoying the course! A little background about myself: I’m nearly fluent at speaking and listening but know probably less than 100 characters in Chinese because I immigrated at a young age but kept contact with my relatives. I’ve been trying to learn characters with various methods throughout my life from Chinese grade school books to searching up family conversations in the dictionary and made little progress. I dream to be able to read Chinese books and one day wow my family by reading Dream of the Red Chamber or feel more like a native when I visit China.

I’m very glad I came across your course because I’ve found that it’s an easy way for me to make progress since the material is all there in a digestible way that’s laid out for me (it’s so much easier to watch videos than read a book in silence when starting off). I admit I was skeptical at first, but recently it feels like I’m finally getting the hang of things and learning more characters I previously didn’t know about. I skipped most of the pronunciation course, but now I wonder if there are parts that would be valuable for me to watch as most of my habits are from experience and habit rather than understanding.

I do have some feedback about the course that I think could improve the experience as well!

– It’d be awesome if there was a way for people like me to get a condensed version of the pronunciation mastery course or even clearer guidance of where to start Mandarin Blueprint for someone in my position. It felt awfully dry at first until I started encountering characters I don’t recognize!

– In some of the earlier videos, the logo tends to obstruct the characters which makes practice rather difficult. I think this has been fixed for the Foundations course, but I imagine it’d be rather inconvenient for a new learner to try to decipher the video and learn at the same time.

– It’d be really great if there was an autoplay feature. Sometimes the videos are quite short and for a longer studying session it can feel like a lot of my attention is on finding the place to click for the next video.

Overall it’s been fun, and I’m really looking forward to how much more I’ll learn and how close I can get to achieving my Chinese goals! I’m also happy to share more feedback anytime in the future. Take care and thank you for creating this course!

Cheers,

Tammy

24:56

Christopher Thompson on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 能力

So, for this sentence…

你觉得长相重要还是能力重要?

…there doesn’t seem to be a comparison word. That is, something to indicate that I need to choose which is more important, just which is important. As another example, if I asked…

你觉得这个男人高还是那个人高?

…would the implication be that if both men are tall, is that I am asking which one is taller?

27:58

Christopher Thompson on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 外国人

A couple of questions about this sentence…那你知道那些有名的外国人?

First, I see many sentences that begin with 那. The 那 seems to have no necessary grammatical purpose, but works, I guess, like “so” in English. Sometimes “so” implies a connection to a previous statement. For example, a friend tells me that she was at a party last night, I might say, “So you are a little hungover this morning, eh?” because that conclusion follows her statement.

On the other hand, I might approach a group of friends and ask, “So, what are you doing?” which simply softens the question. Is that about right?

Second, what about 知道 in this sentence? Is this a different “know” than the one in 我认识你? Is it like the difference between “conocer” and “saber” in Spanish? In Spanish you use the first for people, meaning you recognize them, they are familiar to you. You don’t use the latter for people, but for the subject matter or skills.

So you might say that you 知道 celebrities, meaning you know their names and faces, but you are not friends with them, but 我认识你 means I actually know you.

30:42

William Beeman on It’s a Word! 他

Hi, Would you explain the double use of 了 in 我在他家里住了一年了 (and many other sentences)? This seems to be a standard construction in Mandarin, and it would help to know more about the grammatical logic governing its use. It can be learned “rote” but better to know how it works.

32:43

Micaela Ellison on It’s a Word! 下

I’ve always found it helpful to think of a calendar, especially a list view type you might see in planners. But any calendar works. You look up in the list to see a previous day and down the list to see future days. For a hanging calendar, you would turn the page from the top to see last month and flip up the bottom of the page to see next month.

34:51

Christopher Thompson on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 公斤

Would a correct response to the above question be…?

那不关你的事!

36:32

Christopher Thompson on It’s a Word! 听

I think I read somewhere the combination 不听话. My sense was that it meant disobedient (as in, “doesn’t listen to what I say”) so…

我的儿子很不听话

…would mean…My son is (very) disobedient.

Right?

37:46

John Morrison on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 关系

I found this last sentence: 不过,我真不喜欢小天这个人 very interesting. Can you explain how this pattern is different and very helpful in understanding Chinese grammar? Thanks.

39:08

Christopher Thompson on Level 21 Complete

I agree with most everything Luke and Phil said in the video above as well as what Al (泰光) Roy (王) said in his comment below. I frequently encounter stuff I don’t understand, but I usually try not to worry about it. As children, when we were learning our first language, we encountered input all the time that was beyond our understanding, but we got it eventually and even that input that was incomprehensible at the time contributed to our eventual mastery. In case this helps others, let me share what I do. Every time I am working in MB I have extra tabs open on my browser. First, I have Google Translate. This way I can copy and paste something to hear what it sounds like (even a crappy computerized voice) or remind myself of the pinyin and maybe get another (also usually not great) translation. I also have a tab for typing in Chinese (https://www.archchinese.com/type_chinese.html). This allows me to try to create sentences myself that use some new character or bit of grammar.

I also usually have a Google doc open so I can add questions for my Chinese language partner (from Lexody). This combination really helps, as does having Anki open for looking stuff up we have already covered, and, of course, posting questions here. Phil and Luke do an excellent job of responding to questions! 非常感谢哥们儿

46:50

John McCann on Level 14 Complete

As I have now completed level 14, I am beginning to struggle less with learning individual characters. I know the sentences are simple, but they help me to “unlock” a word or two I may have forgotten along the way, and I have also picked up a lot of sentence structure, so much easier than studying Russian, French or Italian! And I do a lot of individual character reviews in addition to Anki, but my speed is picking up!

47:20

Tristan Knotts on Level 19 Complete

The video mentioned that these levels still have the level completion videos and emails, unfortunately I haven’t seen either in quite a while. I found those to be some of the most motivating aspects of the course. Would love to see more emails/videos in the future.

49:14

Nathan Holiday on ANKI DECK(S) INSIDE – Level 6 Complete

In the early stages, I used homer simpson for my prop on 口 instead of the big lips, and I didn’t realize how often this one was going to come up. I also have a couple of other ones that I want to change, but I’m not sure if it’s a great idea. In the grand scheme of things, it’s still pretty early, so my question is what’s your take on changing props, and going back and re-encoding?

50:09

Jacqui Vinters on MAKE A MOVIE 兄

Can I ask how does xiōng differ from gēge?

51:29

Charles Segal on The Phase 3 Blueprint Expansions

Are we supposed to be able to fill in the blanks of the sentences before moving on – or is comprehension the goal? What about the tones? Without pinyin my tones are all over the place.

The recorded dialogue helps, but I can’t remember them every time.

54:05

Richard Krause on ANKI DECKS INSIDE – Now Just LOOK at how SOLID that Foundation Is!

I probably have come in at the rear of the “race.” Starting from near-zero Mandarin knowledge (albeit surrounded by 汉子 in SE Asia for 24 years), I have averaged fewer than 2 characters a day. I took up Mandarin Blueprint on a whim (thanks to a recommendation) with very little confidence in making it this far. Thanks to Luke and Phil and your team for your endless content (will I ever catch up?), well-organized platform and virtual coaching. I have been motivated to study every single day and MB was especially wonderful to have during the COVID-19 lockdown period. After a short “rest” (with 250 ANKI cards a day to whittle down), I will be pleased to soldier on.

55:27

Irene Ong on Make a Movie 玉

Does it mean that as we progress along, we can drop off the set when making the movie? Will it make a difference if the character can stick in our memory?

57:10

Dom Thomson ANKI DECKS INSIDE – Level 42 Complete

30 characters today – a new record!

58:34

Christine on 用手机还是去银行寄钱

Aaannd… can read and understand it after all. Wow… awesome.
Just reading it at less than a snail’s pace for now… but still!

1:00:34

Matt Shubert on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 干杯

This word almost got me into trouble when I first visited my Chinese partner’s family in China…we all had big glasses of 白酒 and I thought “干杯!” was equivalent to “Cheers!” in English, which of course is just a single swallow of the drink and not draining the whole glass. I was informed later that it tends to mean more like “Bottoms up!” and you’re all expected to drain the glass…her parents gave me a hard time for that one!

1:01:27 Movies! 

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

1:02:45

Ramona on Make a Movie 思

My S- character standing in front of the entrance of my childhood home holding a Rubik’s cube (田) in one hand and a beautiful red necklace in the shape of a heart (心 ) on the other hand.

So, dear Ramona, what would you pick? The cube or the necklace? The necklace, right? Like any other typical girl!

So, dear S-, you CONSIDER me a typical girl.

1:04:44

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 读

Dumbledore has fallen on hard times since the end of the Harry Potter series. He has shown up in my childhood home kitchen wearing a trench coat and is opening each side to display the many Harry Potter books he has to sell my family. His pitch is that parents need to encourage their children TO READ, and these books will do just that.

1:07:01

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 件

Jessica is in Sharon’s backyard. The Rock is there as well, and a cow. The Rock is naked, because he has misplaced all of his ARTICLES OF clothing, and has placed the cow in front of him for modesty. His clothing is scattered across the yard. Jessica gathers each ARTICLE up one by one and hangs each ARTICLE on the cow’s horns so that the Rock can dress again.

1:08:13

James Braun on Make a Movie 乐

Props: factory (厂), giant maple leaf (朩)

There is a large factory in the backyard of my -e set. Inside the factory, auditions for an American Idol-type reality show are taking place and I am one of the judges. The first contestant is my l- actor who starts singing the song, “Afternoon DELIGHT.” It is incredibly off-key. The camera captures the eye rolls of me and the other judges. Just as he is finishing, a giant maple leaf falls from the ceiling and lands in front of him. “Stop! Stop!” I say. “What is that maple leaf all about?”

“Nothing, really. I just thought it would enhance my act,” he says.

“Get out of here. You are awful and not going to the next round.”
He walks off, very disappointed.

The next contestant is my yu- actor, who walks in, looking dazed
and very confused, as if she doesn’t know where she is. She sees
the maple leaf, picks it up and stares at it, twirling it in her hand.

“Excuse me,” I say. “What kind of MUSIC are you going to sing today?”

“Hmmm, I don’t know,” she says, “What kind of MUSIC do you want me to sing?”

I roll my eyes, thinking, “It’s going to be a long day.”

The camera shows the factory from the outside, lights going out.
That’s the end of the reality show episode.

1:11:27

Christine on Make a Movie 夕

Ok, I will take a stab at this. Shelley, my Xi actress, is busy practicing Kung Fu with a Samurai sword outside my childhood home entrance. It is getting dark since it is becoming evening and she is frustrated since she can’t see a thing. Up walks Mr. Spock with special eyedrops he brought along from outer space. He drops it in her eyes and she suddenly can see in the dark, so she can keep on practicing in the evening.