Monday, July 13, 2009

Mandarin Chinese Learning Resources

Here are the Mandarin/Language study resources I've found:
- There are over 1000 lessons at different levels. Based in
Shanghai, so I suspect it is Shanghai flavoured Mandarin. - Spoken Mandarin at a slower rate of speech.
- a spinoff from the Confucious Institute. Do NOT purchase this product. Like the Confucious Institute site, it is badly organized and difficult to understand. Also, although it is quite new, don't buy the printed materials. They used Flash 7 and you will be unable to run the included CDs on any recent installation of Flash. Tech support is limited. They only support IE. There is limited material available on the site once you get in. No explanation of what you are trying to learn. For example, in the first unit of level 3, they are trying to teach the difference between you4 and zai4, two ways of indicating repetition (of saying 'again'). To teach the difference between the two, there is 2 example sentences, one with you4 and one with zai4. That is it. No explanation, no other examples, nothing. You are far better off with purchasing content from another site such as ChinesePod. They have better explanations (if you like explanations) and huge amounts of example sentences (if you prefer to learn by induction.)
- this is a pretty new site, I think about 6 - 8 months old. You can
get a trial subscription to try it out. It seems to be very similar in
design to ChinesePod, but more focused on written work, and not as
much support on the site. Based in Beijing.
- This site is even newer. It's a partnership of PopupChinese and
another company. It's progressional based. ChinesePod and PopupChinese
produce lessons at different levels and you can learn them in any
order. This site seems to focus on a gradual progression of lessons.
Based in New York, with hosts from various places.
- has a variety of videos, and possibly other material that I haven't found yet.
- seems to be progressional audio lessons. Based in Taiwan.
- More podcasts. It looks very similar to ChinesePod or PopupChinese.
- on line learning materials, level based instruction. Has various streams, professional vs student, which affect the topics studied and the vocabulary learned. I have not yet tried it.
- Chinese Online Contemporary Chinese
- videos in Chinese.
- BBC in Mandarin
- annotates Chinese characters with pinyin.
- written stories with assocaited MP3s.
- videos

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