when to start speaking chinese

114. When to Speak & Foundation Building

Podcast Duration: 00:48:12

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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.

114. When to Speak & Foundation Building

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1:38 Comments & Emails

Jessica m on BONUS: From FAILURE to HSK 6 Exam in ONE YEAR!

Having found RTH a complete waste (memory collisions used out of context. Very similar keys) and Chinese Blockbuster hopefully but lacking a clear path to applying it, it seems you’ve solved it. I am excited to have you guide me over the intermediate gap where my problem is primarily related to word and character frequency drop off and acquiring vocabulary.

Coming at this after a year, I think your system isn’t for beginners. It seems to me that someone would benefit from 100-200 hours of oral CI instruction first and cold character reading up to at least a 200 character level so they understand how it fits together and then this system will rapidly increase their vocabulary and reading level.


John McCann on BONUS: “How Does What” – Adverbs Expressing Tone of Voice

These grammar points are very helpful, and I periodically go back and review them, Keep up the good work, and they are not too much information.


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

Whoohoo! Just about 6 months to get here. Interesting to see the variations in speed and approach from different people. I am very happy with my progress, and also just want to add my voice to the others to say how awesome this course is. Thanks so much for your hard work on this, you guys rock.


Christian Solem on ANKI DECKS INSIDE – Now Just LOOK at how SOLID that Foundation Is!

What a ride! It took me exactly 100 days to finish the Foundation Course, with no “zero days” (but a few days of only doing Anki reviews with no new characters added when I was particularly busy at work). Thank you to Luke and Phil for a fantastic course! And congratulations to all my fellow students for reaching this milestone. See you all at the end of the Intermediate Course!


Lance Kaufman on Moving Forward: Shadowing

I just came across this article that appears to be from one of you.
I have a hand full of sounds that I struggle with, such as: -iu (i skip the o unless I am hyper-focused on it), yv (my native speaking language partner regularly complains about it, either because I move my lips during vocalization or because I don’t complete an “ee” sound at the end. But I don’t hear all native speakers make the ee ending), -ian (use a sound instead of eh sound). I also have some trouble with keeping my tongue on lower teeth when combining q- or j- with retroflexed consonants. Other than that I feel pretty confidant with pronunciation and tones. I find shadowing very effective at picking up grammar and vocabulary, but after reading your Quora article I am wondering if I am shadowing too early, and at risk of fossilizing my problem areas? One thought I had was to practice “silent” shadowing while I correct my remaining pronunciation issues. Do you have any other thoughts?


Lucy Haley on MAKE A MOVIE 活

Is it bad if I skip other people’s own explanation of their character scripts? I find it helpful when I can’t think of anything, but sometimes I can get confused and start merging parts of their story with mine.


Nacho En on REQUIRED: How We Present Phase 5 Materials

In my case, I’ve been reading all the paragraphs at least once. So I think before to move one step forward I’ll come back and check and study all ’em because I want to be ready for those big stories and I want to do it right, not rushing.


Andrey Yusupov on Nasal Final IANG (YANG): 样 yàng,一样 yíyàng,两个 liǎng ge

All of these intricacies and exceptions/inconsistencies to pinyin pronunciations (there are a lot!) would be solved by teaching students Zhuyin (all sound are depicted exactly as they are). Why don’t we?


Heath Campbell on Make a Movie 者

Is this a little like adding ‘er’ to an english word? eg, carpenter, mugger, lawyer, sweeper and so on.


James Tretheway on ANKI DECK(S) INSIDE – Level 6 Complete

Hey guys! James here, first-time commenter, long time fan. When counting the vocabulary it leaves out certain words, like Kou (mouth) it has ren Kou (Population Or Ru Kou (Entrance) why is Kou (mouth) not counted as a piece of vocabulary on its own?

Just as an add on to this, I just went back and reread your explanation of Chinese characters, talking about how they are morphemes. So is “Mouth” used differently in mandarin than it is in English, in that it can’t be used alone? similar to your description of “Chàng” (sing)?


Jessica m on BONUS: What WILL & WON’T Make You Fluent in Mandarin

“If you sat in front of a chinese television for ten years that would be a very bad way to learn chinese” I agree —Though with the right material it would eventually work. Remember Stephen Krashen presented a case study of a child who learned mandarin watching, he estimated, about 500 hours of cartoons on TV. My spanish teacher learned perfect native american accent english watching TV. It can and often does work. But in Chinese, it doesn’t make you literate. And literacy in Chinese is a real barrier to acquiring vocabulary.


Jessica m on BONUS: This Secret Will Put You LIGHT YEARS Ahead in Chinese

Man-oh-man. I wish my first Chinese school listened to this. They measured success in terms of output and I left with poor comprehension of anything one said to me even though I had memorized a decent amount of vocabulary. I switched to a CI teacher online and worked over the last year on a CI base and wow, what a difference.


Lucy Haley on It’s a Word! 过

Is it okay if we are reading sentences and feeling confused by the translation?

For example, I recognize 马 as a horse in the following 我要过马路 but that obviously doesn’t translate well. I’d assume it’s some cool language/cultural thing with crossing roads and horses or something haha.

Love this course – highlight of my day.


William Beeman on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 觉得

Hi, Can you say something about the use of 还 in 我觉得他比我还聪明? I think of it as “yet, still, etc.” so could the sentence be “I think he is still smarter than me” ?


Dima Karanda on 我家的狗最近不一样了

I’m a little bit confused about this sentence: 不乱吵也不乱叫。 What does it mean exactly and why we use word: 乱?Thank you for the answer in advance.

39:12 Movies! 

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

Ric Santos on Make a Movie 雪

Unlike the rain, after the snow, there is a lot of shoveling 彐 / cleaning to do.


Ric Santos on Make a Movie 矮

Threatened by an arrow ( crossbow 矢), a woman 女 carries a heavy load of grain 禾over the shoulders…and appears short.


Della Fuller on Make a Movie 弟

Donna is in the backyard of my childhood home with Katniss Everdeen. Donna has a samurai sword and Katniss has her bow and arrows of course. Donna’s LITTLE BROTHER is tied up to a stake with horns attached to the top of his head. Both Donna and Katniss are trying to be the first to knock the horns off of Donna’s LITTLE BROTHER’S head. Donna may not have a LITTLE BROTHER for much longer…


Della Fuller on Make a Movie 谁

Sean Connery is in the lobby of Bard on the beach (where I go to see plays). He has a microphone in one hand and a very angry turkey in the other. He is desperately looking around the lobby asking, “WHO has lost his turkey? WHOSE turkey is this? WHO does this turkey belong to?” He eventually gives up with a shrug of his shoulders and asks instead, “WHO wants this delicious turkey?” The turkey gets decidedly angrier.


Will R on Make a Movie 收

KEYWORD: 收 shōu To Receive
Actor: Sean Connery
Set: -ou
Room within Set (tone): Front door
Prop(s): 丩 (USB stick), ⺙ (Mormon Missionary),

Make a movie:
1. Sean Connery at -ou’s Front door
2. A Mormon Missionary (⺙) knocks at the door and Sean Connery answers the door
3. The Mormon Missionary says: “Hello, I would like you TO RECEIVE (收) this wonderful USB stick (丩) full of spiritual data that has been made for you”
4. Sean Connery replies: “RECEIVE this!” and slams the door in the Mormon Missionary’s face


Christine on Make a Movie 洋

I struggled to get an association between a sheep and the ocean, so in desperation I Googled ‘ocean sheep’. I was not disappointed. Here is a link to an ‘Ocean sheep’. My scene is therefore that my sister (my Yi actress) needs to build an aquarium for these little ‘leaf sheep’, which live in the Ocean. She attached a hose (my water drops prop) to the tap in the kitchen of my -ang location and fills a tank to to make a home for these cute little Ocean sheep.

17 November, 2020