Chinese class recommendations

How bad is NTNU? I’ve been looking at all these threads and you seem to have a crusade against NTNU.
Here’s my situation:

  1. 0 Chinese knowledge. Thank you, hi, excuse me. That’s it.
  2. I live near NTNU, 5 minute bike ride.
  3. I have flexible work hours, so I can take either early morning/late night classes.
  4. I have a limited budget, NTNU’s regular group class at around 25000 NTD is my cap.
  5. No real drive to learn. Girlfriend and friends all speak English. Office uses English when it comes to work related stuff.

My girlfriend (local) was quick in suggesting NTNU when I told her I wanted to take Chinese classes.
The only reason why I want to take classes is because I feel like a douchebag running around Taiwan expecting people to be able to understand me.

They don’t have good customer service.
Older teachers and administrative staff don’t handle complaints well and will attempt to kick you out for even thinking of questioning their omnipotent wisdom.
Chinese often taught is the Beijing variety cause some students want to learn Chinese here to ‘do business’ in China. Political leanings are very blue holding onto the outdated notion and education that the ROC is the one true china while completely ignoring the Taiwanese variety of Mandarin spoken by the people here.

You will be forced learn utterly useless niche traditional cultural concepts and other cultural things like the Olympics(that one stood out to me) before you are even remotely sustainable, competent and independent in the language. Basic things are not taught. You will know at most a few colours and almost no shapes and when confronted, they suggested I learn basic concepts on the street while they teach me niche cultural concepts.

Exams are one hour and barely cover the work. If you happen to not know those exact characters or concepts or grammar pieces on the exam, you will fail. The learning methods are to be able to regurgitate everything 100% and the system does not account for slower learners or 70% learners. Your test of grammar concepts will be limited to a single sentence, which means that if you so happen to forget any of the characters on that sentence, despite able to demonstrate use of the grammar concepts, you will fail.

Shihda has a problem with its students. Teachers expect you to give them 100% of your time and treat learning like a full time job. I downgraded to regular classes from intensive when I took a job because you know I need to EAT and LIVE. Often, extremely enthusiastic students with money will push teachers in regular classes to go faster or teach at intensive levels without regard for people like me that can’t go faster and need a slower pace. This was also during a particularly bad case of gastroenteritis that lasted about four weeks so… yeah. One of my teachers indulged them and made tonnes of extra reading materials that weren’t part of the curriculum but were tested anyways, increasing the work, school and commuting burdens on top of my, at-the-time health burdens. Complaints fell on deaf ears and students complained I was holding them back, despite them being in the regular classes. Administration attempted to move me out of the class instead of putting the students who want faster learning into intensive.

Harassment claims I made about another student who, in another class constantly berated me publicly for failing to understand a concept fell on deaf ears. Their solution was to move me every time something happened, but I had a job too… If a student complained about me? They tried to move me. If i complained about another student, they STILL tried to move me. When writing reviews about teachers I didn’t like at the end of the semester, I was pulled over and given talkings to.

My last teacher always liked to use literal triangles in learning for words he already repeated. It was awful.

Regular classes force you to spend 1/3 of your time learning useless side things like music or art. One is a Taiwanese class but

A) They’re repeated the SAME WAY every semester and start at 0.

B) The only useful thing, the Taiwanese class, is taught the wrong way using the wrong characters and barely go into detail. @Greves would lose his mind.

You are not gonna like Shihda. They’re only happy if they’re taking your money.


How’s NTU’s CLD? Any feedback?

Me? I stopped learning Chinese when Shihda decided that they would rather kick me out instead of improving their service.

They just care about getting sponges as students. It’s easy and means they do little work.

One day I will start learning again. I’m fairly competent on my own volition and know the characters I need for daily life, but… I don’t care to learn about the olympics, a once-in-four-year event.

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That’s some heavy shit.
Thanks, I think you’ve managed to convince me in skipping NTNU.
I’ll start by self studying first.


The only reason why the locals say NTNU is because a lot of the foreigners go there cause it’s cheap and the area is full of foreigners. Locals have no clue the experience as an adult and can’t relate. The learning style is very asian so the Japanese, Koreans and Vietnamese will enjoy the rigourous rote memorisation without being able to practise with their classmates in upper levels.

Western foreigners often drop off by the fourth book when their visa and money run out. In upper levels, you’re often the only westerner in a class with people who have some native intuition in Asian culture and learning styles. You probably won’t be practising with the shy Japanese guy beside you and any attempt to try to understand this particular feature of a language is like pulling teeth. They are not set up for western learners.

A western teacher could teach you Chinese better cause then they can explain why you put this particle here etc…

Right here. Same thing. They actively try TEACHING US this accent at the school. Good thing I paid attention to my friends to pick up a Taiwanese accent.

Now every clerk asks me why I sound like I am from Taiwan when I go to China.


I’ll give NTNU a bit of credit for not teaching things the exact way they’re said in Taiwan. For example, it’s important for a variety of reasons to know (on a basic level) that 是 is technically ㄕˋ(shì) not ㄙˋ(sì) although it is almost always pronounced the latter way in Taiwan in informal situations. Taiwanese students also learn the “proper” pronunciation of things when they’re in school. They also do tend to teach the Taiwanese versions of words (腳踏車 rather than 自行車) for the most part. There are a few exceptions, like teaching students to say 很有意思 which is not common in Taiwan.

What I won’t excuse is teaching things like 下載 as ㄒㄧㄚˋㄗㄞˋ(xiàzài) rather than ㄒㄧㄚˋㄗㄞˇ(xiàzâi), when it is always said the latter way in Taiwan and not saying it this way could lead to confusion. Better teachers will be careful to let you know this when learning, but not every one will.

I think any formal language program mostly works this way, you have to balance what is technically “correct” and what is actually heard day-to-day. This gap can be closed by a lot of speaking and listening practice in addition to class, imo.

I’ve never heard of a US school teaching a UK accent because ‘that’s where the language originates from’

Meanwhile, foreigners go out to the road and are like

Cesuo zai nar? and then locals sayin, uhh we don’t say it that way here.

I came to Taiwan. I want to speak the local lingo.

If you want Beijing, Zher Shr diannao sharng Diar. Go to Beijing.

What is technically correct? We have US English. Canadian English. UK English. Australian English.

Why can’t Taiwanese Mandarin be correct as well and its own standard?

Indispensible resource for those looking to reduce their accent :wink:

That’s what they do at NTNU for EVERYTHING. Follow an obsolete version of Blue China’s Beijing Dialect.

Sī án, hìⁿ?

At least one local lingo.

I didn’t say it’s because that’s where the language originates from or anything. NTNU also doesn’t teach erhua, I don’t know if they ever did in the past but I have never learned “zai nar” or whatever.

I mean, how do Taiwanese newscasters speak? No erhua, but they do pronounce their zh ch sh accurately. I’d say the Chinese that NTNU teaches is more like a newscaster than a typical Chinese person, but it can vary from teacher to teacher since it’s such a big school.

I’ve also read through that article before, and I’d say for the most point it’s pretty in line with what is taught at NTNU, at least for the parts that are “official”. We didn’t ever learn lājī, it was always lèsè, learning various particles at the end of sentences, even Taiwanese loan words. I heard they change the books every 5 years or so, could they have changed it based on feedback since you were there?

My older teachers did. My books did.

Australian broadcasters don’t pronounce their news like Americans or brits. Why should our news be bluewashed?

Maybe. But they werent so happy to take feedback from students in my experience.

Oh my god, is this NTNU material? Yeah, it’s definitely changed. I can’t speak to your specific experiences with the staff, but it’s definitely much more Taiwanese-ified(?) now.

And on the news thing, idk man. I don’t know why they do it that way, but currently the MOE doesn’t officially recognize the “everyday” pronunciations of things ㄕ/ㄙ(sh/s) as “proper” mandarin, so it probably comes from that.

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Mandarin is not exactly a local lingo… seems like most of the points in this thread make that clear actually haha.

I started learning Chinese from scratch (for free) on Coursera. The course was put together by NTU. The material is up to date and nothing like the ancient video above. Here’s the link:


fluentu teachers mandarin chinese tprs style

By that logic, neither is English or Spanish in most countries. I’m just talking about today.

Not really the same. Mandarin is new, brought by a foreign government and forced on the existing population at great expense (e.g., blood in the streets). There are still older people alive today who remember the time when Mandarin was unheard in Taiwan.

Most of those places that speak English or Spanish today have already done so for hundreds of years, during which the languages were gradually adopted.

TMC focuses on speaking
50% study textbook +50% study to speak Chinese
Group course/1on1 course

  1. We are 2-6 people in small class
  2. Focus on speaking (50% of course time)

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Ok, but at this point, Mandarin is fully entrenched, Taiwanese is starting to thrive again. The population are largely bilingual and Trilingual with Englis. This is good, keeps the mind fresh for longer.