200. Play the Understanding Game & Win Fluency

200. Play the Understanding Game & Win Fluency

Podcast Duration: 01:01:30
Play the Understanding Game & Win Fluency || Podcast No. 200

0:00 Affiliate Link & Reviews

Become a Mandarin Blueprint Affiliate

Leave us a Google Business Review 🙂

Leave us a Facebook Review

4:24 Comments & Emails

Thomas Brand on How You’re Going to Get to Fluency

You describe reading as the one true ‘hack’ available to adult language learners. If we just quickly read for meaning instead of reading aloud or subvocalising, would we still get the benefits of that hack, or would our spoken language ability only improve when we say the words being read?


Masterofpowers by Email

Still working on immersion everyday… Reading wuxia with migaku and immersion everyday with iqiyi. Progress is good and I have a steady habit of immersion everyday for at least two hours. Shadowing for a minimum of 5 minutes each day. In terms of HSK I always ask people, “Do they ask Michael Jordan to take a test for basketball?” Do they ask Michael Phelps to get a lifeguard certification? 如果你真的学到一个特别流利/高级中文水平的话测试考试有什么用这些?其实考试是习得一门语言的反作用. I’m on board with you guys. I may need to reset mandarin blueprint though, I got emotional and basically started suspending certain cards…just stupid. I haven’t done any character study and I’ve avoided mandarin blueprint even though I should be doing like 30 mins a day on it. Let my story be a warning to others. SRS is for long term, not short term gains. meaning that you may be able to handle a high amount of flashcards even for a few months, but that’s the thing, they will catch up with you and bite you in the 蛋蛋. I’m still studying stronger than ever, but I’d like to really master these characters. By the way, Luke, your picture on the HSK test looks like a mugshot. So do all of my pictures in China. Anyway, this was long so thanks if you read it, let me know what you think.

Absolutely. Please share it with others. Really I think if people are doing over ten characters a day, I think they are going to have problems. After the solid foundation in the first 2000, they can go faster for the last few because the more obscure the character, the more specific the meaning. Immersion time and comprehensible input is the most important thing. I’m reading 斗罗大陆,in Migaku and it’s just so much fun. If you are somebody with lots of time, the best thing to do is to spend those hours listening to the sentences and graded content on mandarin blueprint , and then native content. So you list of priorities should look like this:

1. Mandarin blueprint reviews to 0 in traverse

2. Daily set or new characters (5-20) lower amount a day the safer, but don’t go at a snails pace either. Sometimes the Hanzi movie method will stick instantly but other times it doesn’t, and when it doesn’t you will need to review the movie and improve it or make a new one. If you have too many reviews you won’t give these characters the love and attention they need, and then they will become LEECHES. This is bad bad bad.

3. Shadow the sentences and graded content from the level you are studying and the one before it. 10 mins is good 30-60 mins is Uncle Luke level. (This is repetitive, take your dog out for a walk or something)

4. Immersion time- as much as you can handle. Find something that looks cool and just sit there. Incomprehensible input is good comprehensible input is best. You keep up the work on mandarin blueprint and do some Migaku and you will be god tier in no time. Trust the system. Do your immersion. It’s so painfully slow, and it can be terrible, and there will be times you will wish you never started learning Chinese, but when you can really read native content with a dictionary and it’s comfortable, or you can follow the plot of what going on in a show, or you impress a stranger with your native like Chinese you will only have yourself, Luke, Phil, 汉字 and immersion to thank. Good luck guys.

P.S – Also for our higher level guys check out 大叔中文 on YouTube. Their content is the bomb. Has soft subs.


Christopher Weeks by Email

Hi Phil and Luke

This is an interesting one for me. I have also watched your recent videos on the YouTube channel.

Here’s my current situation, which is an update from my last e-mail to Luke around November/December.

I am regularly speaking with a tutor for around 3 hours a week while keeping up with the MB reviews. I have completed the Upper Intermediate Course and all the sentence flashcards are in my reviews for Intermediate and Upper Intermediate sentences. Those reviews are now down to under 100 flashcards again and I am occasionally adding new characters from the Advanced Course if they come up. In my class I now only write characters in my notes, and once a week write a diary entry reflecting on a class or even a 观后感 based on a 动画, if I really like it. I asked my teacher to teach me 观后感, as I enjoy thinking and writing in the language, more so than speaking it!

Sometimes my problem is I know too many characters, but if my teacher starts to write the character, I know exactly which one it is and can finish it. This happened with the 率 in 频率. She just wrote the 丶and I knew exactly which character.

However, my biggest issue at this point… Your pet peeve, the grammar! Especially in my Output.

With my tutor:

Sometimes uses a textbook, but mostly i complete it before class and we spend some time checking if I can use those words or summarize the article/ story. If I can we just move on. If I am reminded of an experience due to that word I just try to tell it and see where the gaps are in my vocabulary and my teacher gifts me the new words. Occasionally it is something quite alien to me like 干脆, 如此 or ,此外 which I don’t hear day to day but might be useful for reading comprehension.

During any conversation, it is slightly one way, with me doing the majority of the talking. During the conversation the tutor is listening, occasionally correcting, but mostly letting me speak. After the class my tutor gives me a list of things I said incorrectly, along with a list of phrases which I couldn’t use or didn’t know before after class. My homework is to correct those or write them which I do completely in 汉字. I also speak the sentences out loud.

From my perspective, so far so good it seems…

However my corrections of my corrections are often incorrect. This seems to be down to just not getting the logic or structure of the language.

Common Mistakes / Culprits- 离合词, missing a 到 after a verb, using 不能, instead of 不了, using 关于 incorrectly, using 如果 in the middle of the sentence.

Some of this I know is down to the different language structure of English, but I feel like I am not translating from English and I am trying to think in Chinese. I am often recalling images in my head and describing that.

So, the good news is I have over a years worth of sentences I have said incorrectly and the correct way of saying it, which I can use for something. I haven’t currently turned these into flashcards due to already having enough Daily flashcards from the MBM.

Available Resources:

I also have lifetime membership to Mandarin Blueprint, Mandarin Corner, Migaku, a lot of dictionaries of Pleco as well as native childrens books, And Chinese movies/tv series subscriptions. I have my Immersion playlist with the sentence files. I have used some Chinesepod before and previously paid for Olle Linge’s Pronunciation Course. I also have three months of one on one classes left at my school here in China and access to a free language partner program if I need it. I haven’t so far due to already feeling I have enough on my plate balancing input and reviewing.

Now you have a lot of the context of my situation, the main question!

What is your advice on how am I able to correct these fossilized grammar mistakes in my oral and written grammar? Is there something I may be doing incorrectly?

Have a great weekend!

Christopher Weeks


jackwyldeck by Email

Yeah the serpents have been strangling me for a long time, especially before MB. Now I’m glad I’m learning how to write characters thoroughly which I’ve never done and I’m trying to listen and repeat native sounding sentences from your audio files but I’m always hesitant to watch shows. The serpents keep saying “but you can just review flashcards and learn a few more movie hanzi movies, don’t waste time watching a show you won’t understand 100% of”. Good to hear I’m not the only one experiencing these. As of tomorrow I’ll become a serpent slayer.


Richard Ashbrooke by Email


Just wanted to share an experiment, but please keep in mind that this is specific to myself only.

I decided to see if I could speed up my mandarin learning by not writing characters and solely focussing on reading and pronunciation. I tried this approach over an 8 week period and what I found was surprising (to me).

My mandarin comprehension went backwards … massively. So much so, that previously learned characters were fading into the distance. I found myself increasingly getting frustrated as I could see my progress diminishing. I couldn’t connect with my props nor my movie scene effectively.

Today, I stopped my experiment and went back to writing characters. What was interesting is that the characters that I was struggling with over the last 8 weeks, in a single session today with writing, I could easily recall.

The process of writing solidified my props, and story. It was as if I was writing down my scene, which in turn, helped to create the wonderment of the character.

As the creators of Mandarin Blueprint, you already know this. As a student, I tried to see if taking the writing step out of my learning would speed up the process. In summary, (for me), the opposite occurred, I was just surprised at how much it slowed down.




Stevie 😁 on What Next?

So so so glad I purchased the all course bundle and didn’t miss out on this Habit Building Bootcamp. All of this has really shifted my way of thinking and motivated me. I already know I’m gonna be revisiting this series again and again to refresh my memory. So much good advice and the time and effort you guys put into all this content really shows.


Kevin Swan 凯文🤠 on 大 in Context

Thanks… while I’m feeling about 2” tall 🙂 , I’d like to explain why I’m trying to understand the details. While it’s true my overarching goal is “communication,” I would like to avoid sounding like the Hulk while doing it. I could grunt while pointing to a donut and anyone around the world would understand that I wanted it. I love 中文 and I’m trying to train good habits.

As I said, I knew the answer would be, “just get more input and stop asking grammar questions!” But I thought if there were some trick or rule that helped me speak more appropriately, I’d like to have known it. Similar to the tone-change rules for 一, which are simple and useful.

I did find the reframing of my goal around “million pieces of comprehensive input” vs understanding how the language works under the hood to be very helpful!



Kyano Maddock on Vocab Unlocked from 层

Hey there!

I would like a bit of help understanding some of the components in this sentence: 高层员工的数量要比低层少得多。

I understand what the sentence is saying. But, I’m just curious about:
– The meaning of 要 in its location in the sentence and,
– What 少得多 means here

Thanks so much! 🙂


Kevin Swan 凯文🤠 on Level 1 – Navigating the Desert

Just to clarify, we shouldn’t be worried too much about this part of the course until we have completed L36?