An online Course for Topic Based Spoken Chinese

About the course

The ideal leaning model should be paired or in a small group so that learners can test each other. It will be followed by weekly or fortnightly interactive teaching on “Messenger” or Skype.

Learning time about two hours a week. The time should be evenly spread out through the week. For example, 30 minutes a day. 

So far I have only done three topics, eating, drinking and shopping. Each topic takes four to five weeks. Each week has one or two main sentence patterns with many substitution exercises. It is important to learn the materials thoroughly and actively, as the vocabulary of the course is built up accumulatively.

Special characteristic of Chinese language

1.       Mandarin Chinese has tones.

2.       In general, Chinese and English sentences are similar: the main sentence construction is in SVO (subject, verb and object). However, Chinese people describe objects and stories in different ways. The general Chinese language logic and the words order are based on two principles.

1.       Chinese always describe background first foreground second, but English always starts with foreground. Here is an example. The book that I bought from the bookstore yesterday was really terrible. The main principle construction for both English and Chinese is the same: The book was terrible. However, the difference is the description of the book. English uses a relative clause to give the additional info of the book after the word book, but in Chinese the word order is like this: I yesterday from bookstore bought DE book was terrible. As you can see the description and background of the book comes before the word book.

2.       Chinese word order is based on a sequence of actions. For example, an English person would say I came here by car, but no Chinese person can understand the logic of that sentence. The Chinese word order for this sentence is I sat in car came here. For example, an English person would say I’ve finished reading that book, but a Chinese might ask the English person how come you finish it before reading. The Chinese word order is I read finished that book, because the action of reading comes before the action of finishing.

Ok, I shouldn’t be too theoretical about the language learning. Anyway, it’s about the practical spoken Chinese that you want to learn. Is that right?

Week one

Try to learn the Chinese pronunciation by starting with Pinyin and Pinyin Practice

In Pinyin site, it has sound files supporting descriptions of Chinese pronunciation. Pinyin Practice site consists of the notes for the pronunciation.

The rest are all clearly marked on the web page. I can change the content according to your feedback. Please let me know if you need more or less.