spoke chinese today

138. “I spoke Chinese today!”

Podcast Duration: 01:22:52

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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.

138. "I spoke Chinese today!"

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22:35 Comments & Emails

Gavia Arctica by Community

Just had to tell this: I spoke Chinese today! Actually had a conversation, about 95% in Chinese, only used a few English words in two or three occasions. I live in a totally non-Chinese environment, so this is really my first time speaking for more than a sentence or two!

It was a HelloTalk friend who happened to be online, we have been writing off and on for a few months and now she called. It was easier because we know a few things about each other, what we work with and family and so on, so it was easier to pick things up from the context and she knows my level so she could adjust to what I could possibly understand. 

Every now and then I did not really understand much of what she was saying at all, but somehow I still thought I got the idea, checked shortly in English a few times “did you mean….” and yes, I did get the meaning from context and maybe her tone of voice, even if I did not understand most of the words. It feels nice that the sound of Chinese feels so familiar by now that I can sort of “pretend to understand it” even if I really don´t – yet! 🙂 It does not matter if I sound terrible or don´t get it all, I´m communicating. In Chinese!!!!

I can´t even describe how awesome it feels and the most amazing thing about it is that even if it was incredibly hard and I don´t have words and don´t understand, it still felt…. somehow natural. As natural as getting up every morning starting reviews in Anki right away and finishing the day making movies and handwriting characters, listening to the weekly MB podcast. Speaking is just the logical next step at some point, naturally. For me it was today, I guess I´ll remember today forever!

Thank you Luke & Phil!


Lynn Ford on Make a Movie 不

I am such a dork, because, several characters we learned so far in level 14, I am over here bouncing up and down in my seat, clapping, cheering “yayyy!!” I am so glad I am learning these ones! LOL, I know them by sight, as many of these I have been staring at on my PM anki cards for a while now, but I am glad to finally be at the stage where we are doing the movie method with them. Seriously I am having so much fun! Not to mention being able to read and understand sentences, it gives me a really big boost in confidence that, 1) This method really does work, and 2) That the possibility of being fluent in this language is not only possible but highly likely at this point. Thanks for all that you and your team do!


Lynn Ford on Vocab Unlocked from 息: 休息 – 休息日

I am using multiple pictures for the word review cards in my anki deck. Is this an ok tactic? I have been struggling with remembering word reviews and so thought about the deferent elements of the characters and have been adding several pics to help. For example 休息 I added a picture of someone leaning on a tree resting and a pair of lungs shaped in a heart. IDK if getting pics that specific will not help me as much or is too easy in trying to figure out the word, but it seems it help me out a little bit more.


Eleanor McComb on Casting Call G- 2/55

I’m not super familiar with mind palace memory techniques, but would there be a problem with me casting my son Gabriel as my G- actor?

My concern is that I know him at so many ages and he will obviously continue to grow (he’s 10) on the other hand I know him much better than any actor I would cast and so he’s well and truly planted in my mind.


Oscar Haglund on Vocab Unlocked from 愿

This is unclear to me 愿你天天开心,事事如愿。


James Snow on It’s a Word! 干

Two questions.

First, how come the course has us making props for some characters, such as 半, and not for others, like 干 here?

Second, I used the scene of a lightsaber cutting off the top of a syringe and sand gushing out to represent 干. I’d like to use sand as the prop for 干, but how may I avoid getting confused when it’s time to learn the word for “sand” since I also will imagine sand in the scene? I guess the question is, how do you avoid confusing props and meanings in a scene?


Susan Walsh on BONUS: STRATEGY is Everything While Learning Chinese

This is my third language – I took French for three years in school (7th-9th grade). Because my first teacher happened to be fabulous, with a unique method of teaching the language, by the end of my first year I was fluent.

Unfortunately, when I started high school, my new French teacher used one method – rote learning. I was so bored by the end of the first month that I knew I wouldn’t continue. I dropped out at the end of the year.

What I did get from my experience is that I love language, and I love the challenge that comes with learning a new language. When I chose to learn Mandarin, I was excited, nervous, and terrified that I’d waste my time and not learn enough to communicate with native speakers.

What drew me to The Mandarin Blueprint was one simple thing – that I would be able to read, write, and speak Mandarin when I was done. After going through 5 levels now, I am beyond excited to learn more, and to know that I am building a solid foundation for the language from the beginning.

Pretty darn brilliant for “a couple of fellas who had enough of the nonsense teaching materials out there and decided to change it.” 😉


Thomas Brand on BONUS: Helper – Turning Adjectives into Adverbs with 地

Very helpful video. I sometimes catch myself gazing at clouds floating by outside the window during lectures, but I was so baffled at why I’d seen the character for dirt inexplicably appearing in several sentences that I sat with rapt attention in the hope of learning why it was there. It makes complete sense now. Thanks.


Anne Giles on 一样 in Context

“我的手机和他的不一样.” << Yes! I was able to read it, too, all by myself! 🙂


Jeff Johnson on 想法 in Context

While I think Christopher’s comment is useful, I’m still a bit confused about something.

It seems like we have been seeing a lot of “subject” 的 “thing the subject owns or is connected to”

But in the last two lessons, we have had lines like “想法的人” . I would have translated that as “ideas own people”. (which I suppose could describe the way some people obsess over a really good idea.) But the translation implies it is “people having ideas.”

So I am curious about the structure there.

I am also curious about christopher’s comment. I suspect I am missing something in my studies since I am not starting to get bits of it like this yet.


Anne Giles on Vocab Unlocked from 哥: 哥哥 – 哥们儿

Google Translate gives these pronunciations:

Gēmen er

Yīdiǎn er

Huì er

Wǎn er

I’d welcome a little audio or video help with these. Thanks if you can help!


Gavin Meakin on Level 17 Complete

It’s taken me a while to get through this level and now that I’m done I’m feeling quite reflective. While I’ve kept up with my daily anki reviews, I’ve found I haven’t been logging in and completing lessons as often as I was in previous levels. Juggling family life, work and other pursuits means I don’t always have the time to sit down, log in and unlock new content. And I’m okay with that. As long as I’m doing my daily anki review and then sitting down and unlocking new content when I can, I’m making progress. More importantly, I can see my progress each time I do my anki review. The more I review a character, word, sentence or dialogue in anki, the more proficient my recall becomes. I suppose this is all part of the MB journey… and I’m enjoying every step. Onwards and upwards!


Bethany Fehr on 休息日 in Context

Trying to figure out the syntax. In the sentence 休息日我不吃面包,我吃, why does the time (休息日) come before the host (我) instead of immediately following it like in 我早上吃面包? Is speaking of a specific day different than mentioning a time of day?


Xiao En on 上来 in Context

In the sentence 我马上上来, will it be grammatically correct and give the same idea if I say 我上来马上 instead? Same with the sentence 上来了一个人, will it be the same meaning and be grammatically correct if I say 一个人上来了 instead?


Matt Shubert on 联系 in Context

Hey guys,

I might have missed this earlier in the course, but is the +上 or +不上 a common way to express if you were able to do something or not? Specifically referring to sentences 3 and 4 above:

如果你 [联系上] 了她

我今天一天都 [联系不上] 你

Is that construction specific to this verb, 联系, or can it be used elsewhere?



kennerminer on Compound Final OU: 走 zǒu,走了 zǒu le,走吧 zǒu ba,我走了 wó zǒu le

Hello! I’m curious about how 在 might fit in as the present tense of “I’m going.” Would 我在走 be a valid alternative to 我走了?


Matt Shubert on 楼 in Context

This is a minor grammar question but I was curious if this sentence:


Could also be:


And have the same meaning? The second one feels more natural to me based on all the sentences we’ve seen so far, is there any difference?


Matt Shubert on 没什么 in Context

For the first usage here, is 没什么 basically equivalent to 没事 / 没事儿? I hear the latter all the time from native speakers but not as much the former.

1:07:19 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.

Al Berley on Vocab Unlocked from 合: 合法

Speed Camera/Sign. You need to watch HOW FAST (hé fǎ) you are going to stay in the LEGAL limit. 🙂


Matt Shubert on Vocab Unlocked from 最: 最好

This was one of the fastest living links in the whole course for me:
“I wanna be the very BEST, that no one ever was!” – Ash Ketchum from Pokemon!


Rick Angleland on Vocab Unlocked from 变: 变化 – 变得

Although 变得 is given here as a dictionary word, isn’t it actually like any verb followed by 得 then a compliment of degree e.g.


Rick Angleland on Vocab Unlocked from 关: 关心 – 关门 – 关注 – 关上

Living link suggestion for 关注 (since I found this word/combination difficult to remember) 关to close something within one’s attention and 注 to pour attention on it


Jonathan Glazier on Vocab Unlocked from 划: 计划

For me the image in the classic American football “huddle” where they PLAN the next play. at the end for the mnemonic i have them shouting a – Gee “Hua” – as the seem to do .

1:13:13 Movies! 

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

Will Raley on Make a Movie 养

养 yǎng To Raise & Support

1. Yi- at -ang’s Living Room
2. A Sheep (羊) is blocking Yi-‘s view of the Living Room
3. She is too lazy to move
4. Yi- gets Kero (介, an anime character) To Raise & Support the Sheep up in the air so Yi- can see.


Will Raley on Make a Movie 阶

阶 jiē Stairs

1. ji- at -e’s Front door
2. A Brick Wall (阝) blocks the front door and ji-‘s way into the house
3. Kero (介, an anime character) comes along and uses his powers to magically spring up some STAIRS
4. ji- uses the STAIRS (阶) to cross over the Brick Wall


Oscar Haglund on Make a Movie 铅

A dune sandworm (口) is sitting in a schoolbench (几) in alchemy class. In front of him is a gold bar (钅). The worm drools on the gold bar and it turns into LEAD. The queen of England walks up and bashes the worm on the head and shouts “you should be turning LEAD into gold, not gold into LEAD”


John Nomura on Make a Movie 派

派 pai4 – one of the definitions for this word is pie. In the bathroom of my ai- set, Paul McCartney’s pie factory (厂 ) that uses his altered family name (氏), is having issues because of
water (氵) shortages.


Ric Santos on Make a Movie 追

“㠯O T” the airport robot, is my prop for 㠯. Outside the entrance (1st tone) of the -ei set, Zhu-actress has a “㠯O T” that is always on stand-by alert to seek, track and pursue(追 ) at her command anyone of the road (辶). For its fuel , all it needs is just a drop of water (丶) from her favorite chaser drink. 追 !Suitors beware !
Hmm…”chaser”…sounds like “chase her” . 追 !

4 May, 2021