toward fluency

131. Pushing & Pulling Toward Fluency

Podcast Duration: 00:50:59

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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.

131. Pushing & Pulling Toward Fluency

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0:04 Comments & Emails

Heather Renfrew on Welcome to Phase 2 – Chinese Words

I made it through phase one!

After making it through phase one I decided to check myself. I wanted to make sure I was actually understanding the method, hitting my goals, and still enjoying myself.

I mostly understand the method. I’ve only had to “reshoot” 2 scenes. ( One reshoot was because I just couldn’t make myself put horns on Bob Marley for 半.) I still tend to add an extra prop here and there, but I’m making a real effort to stop doing that.

So far I have had no “zero” days. I hit Anki and Kajabi every day. I have decided to drop the training wheels. I will no longer be writing any parts of my scenes down on paper. I mostly do Kajabi while I’m on break at work, so it’s convenient to write the info in my notebook and then put it in Anki the next day. I’m not in a hurry, so I’ve decided that even if I only make it to one character per break, I will put it in Anki instead of my
notebook. I just figured out how to edit Anki on my cell phone app. It’s actually easier than my desktop.

I have been making my way through your podcasts on Spotify. I’ve made it through most of the recent episodes and all of the interviews. Over the last three nights, I made it through podcasts 1-25. I work in a high decibel environment so one noise-canceling earbud underneath my ear muffs keeps me from being in my own head all night. I must say, your graciousness and patience are extraordinary. You answer so many of the same questions over and over again. And you’re happy while you do it. I’ve gained quite a bit of info by checking out the podcasts. I’m glad you guys have kept doing them.

I’ve been using your courses since January 25th. It took me 10 days to complete the Pronunciation Mastery course. It took me about 4 weeks to get through Phase 1. I’m delighted with my progress, and I’m still having fun.

Thank you both for all that you do.

–Heather Renfrew


Jedidja Bourgeois on Simple Final O: Introduction with 哦 ò

What is the proper tone for o meaning Oh! (哦) I think it’s fourth but not sure.

– The phone keyboard input seems to indicate it’s fifth tone (o) but I can’t quite tell. Also not good enough to pick out the tone from the audio 🙂

– The image above (the PDF doesn’t have it) says it’s fourth tone (ò)

– Google translate shows only second tone (ó)

– Bing shows both second (ó) and fourth (ò). Looking at the sample sentences, fourth (ò) seems to match more closely.


Soren Korsbaek on Vocab Unlocked from 料

Just a quick one to flag one of the sentences I don’t understand. The structure around the second part of this sentence: “要想这些猪长得胖长得好,料千万不能少。”

If I take the last part in isolation, Google Translate gives: “Don’t miss it”

I see the contrast of 千万 and 少 of course. I guess it’s a way of expressing they have to eat a lot of fodder (not sure if right English word)?

Soren Korsbaek on Vocab Unlocked from 料

This is the general issue I’m having. When I know everything but can’t work out the meaning even when researching, all I can do is to mark the card as Good and hope I’ll get it next time. There’s no point getting stuck in an ‘Again’ loop. I think I’m the only one experiencing this though as it’s my impression others ease through the course at this stage.

Soren Korsbaek on Vocab Unlocked from 料

Ah I thought 千万 was just meant to mean a lot 😀 I can see Pleco has the “Must” definition as well which I should definitely have thought to check. I use Google Translate as purely a quick way to see if it’ll help me to make sense of the sentence as quite often I still can’t despite knowing all the characters. Would you recommend not spending effort to try and understand sentences despite knowing all the all the characters and instead just move on, and if so, likewise tick these as ‘good’ when doing
Anki-reviews under the condition you could guess the character but still couldn’t grasp the meaning?


Jack Brady on Make a Movie 词

Shouldn’t ‘ci’ be a woman?


Kairi Shikari on Vocab Unlocked from 跳

In the sentence 房间里很安静,连心跳声都能听到 is the 连 a measure word or is it playing the role of something like ‘even’ as in ‘even a heartbeat can be heard’?


John Nomura on BONUS: Connector – Expressing Exceptions with 除了

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 Do people really talk like this – with so many double negatives?

不少人都不太太想生宝宝 – literally – not small number of people all not want too much to have a baby

很多人不想生宝宝 – this would be so much easier to understand


Alex Sumray on Vocab Unlocked from 笔

Is it more common to use the full – 笔记本电脑 , or does context clear it all up anyway?


William Beeman on Vocab Unlocked from 永

Hi! Can you explain the difference between 永不 and 从来; and 永远 and


Jonathan Glazier on 差 in Context

Chà character 差 means poor (quality) and difference right? I get confused because the character is described as meaning poor and
yet the sentences all relate to difference? soz it’s been a long week.

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.

Christopher Millsap on Vocab Unlocked from 息: 休息 – 休息日

Here’s an idea that resonated for me for “Day off”: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!!!


Jeff Bryant on Vocab Unlocked from 可: 可是

A CUSHY place for your butt


Jeff Bryant on Vocab Unlocked from 定: 一定 – 决定 – 不一定

决定 To coin a new term from the old TV show :”judge JUDy’ING” – to come to a final decision

Rick Angleland on Vocab Unlocked from 定: 一定 – 决定 – 不一定

For 不一定, Sportin’ Life singing “It Ain’t Necessarily So” from Porgy and Bess. Or one of the bible scenes the song mentions.


Jeff Bryant on Vocab Unlocked from 安: 安全

Don’t give an INCH WHEN safety is at stake


Julie Hentschel Lund on Vocab Unlocked from 行: 不行 – 行不行 – 行了 – 行为

不行 – (K)im Possible from Disney. If you omit the k and put them together it spells impossible. So there is both a visual cue and a meaning cue.

Julie Hentschel Lund on Vocab Unlocked from 行: 不行 – 行不行 – 行了 – 行为

行为- A lot of famous experiments within psychology/behaviorism: Pavlov’s conditioning; Bandura’s Bobo doll experiment; or Watson and Little Albert experiment. I use pictures of the experiment.


Jeff Bryant on Vocab Unlocked from 死: 吓死

In the Big Bang theory, there’s a scene where Sheldon is learning Mandarin and says this exact word when someone scares him. 哎呀吓死我了!


Jeff Bryant on Vocab Unlocked from 题: 问题

I QUESTIONed him how it WENT, HE said there was a PROBLEM


Jeff Bryant on Vocab Unlocked from 现: 现在 – 发现 – 现金

发现-I’ve just DISCOVERed the next great FA-SHION model


Jeff Bryant on Vocab Unlocked from 直: 一直

一直 I have an ITCH to ALWAYS go STRAIGHT


Jeff Bryant on Vocab Unlocked from 真: 认真

认真 She’s very SERIOUS abour heR ENGINE


Daniel Stern on Vocab Unlocked from 起: 一起 – 起来 – 起飞

First line of the PRC National Anthem

起来 不愿 做 奴隶 的 人们
Qǐlái!! Búyuàn zuò núlì de rénmen!!
Arise, ye who refuse to be slaves!

44:07 Movies! 

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

Hank Elliott on Make a Movie 涨



Actor: ZH male
Set: -ang- Tanglewood
Room: the lawn
氵 – Fountain 弓 – Bow 长 – Long

My son-in-law JEREMY is on the TANGLEWOOD LAWN showing off how to the classical music concert crowd just how SWOLE he can get when he works out. He is shooting a VERY LONG BOW from a WATER FOUNTAIN. He looks so JACKED as he pulls the string tight. Then he takes a drink from the fountain and SWELLS up and fires the arrow even further, GULP, SWELL, TWANG,………. THUNK!! He’s always tryin to get swole!


Hank Elliott on Make a Movie 弹

弹. (TWO DEFINITIONS in one story)


KEYWORD: Bullet/ To Pluck
Actors: My Daddy/ Tom Cruise
Set: Andi’s House
Room: Bathroom/ Kitchen

Daddy is in Andi’s BATHROOM firing his BOW at the TOM CRUISE in the KITCHEN. He is firing BULLETS from his BOW which is unusual, but so was my Dad! Each time a BULLET strikes the KITCHEN, TOM CRUISE bends over to PLUCK the BULLET up from the floor exposing his TAN lines in a bright flash of white and TAN. Over and over and over this happens till it’s so fast no one can see or hear a thing else…each rapid loud DAN sound is followed by a flash of white skin TAN. Dan/Tan, Dan/ Tan!!!

16 March, 2021