Chinese class recommendations

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.

Agree with @Marco. Years back I dropped from an Advanced Mandarin class that I took to improve my formal writing when I realised that… well… I was not learning how to write but only memorising sentence after sentence. The teachers were not correcting my mistakes, but simply drawing a red line and writing something that had nothing to do with what I was trying to say, but “fitted” one of the many template sentences in the book. When I argued that this method was not helping, the standard reply was that I “don’t understand Mandarin logic (邏輯)”, which is different from that of us waiguoren. Maybe true, but saying A instead of B has little to do with logic. Not meaning to be racist at all, but I also agree with @Marco that our Western education systems generally put more emphasis on explaining concepts than on rote learning. This, and not just “face”, is the reason why Taiwanese are so afraid of speaking English. I was too, to a certain extent, whenever I had to prepare a composition for that class and sweat for hours finding the right collage of template sentences rather than use my brain and actually “write” it. And TBH, the “template sentence” method is something that I have only seen here.

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Little addition on the “template sentence” method.

I mentioned in another thread that I had bought a Taiwanese coursebook at Elite years back, but eventually gave up learning because it was not useful. That was the reason. The book was just basic vocabulary (numbers, days of the week, etc.) and a sequence of template sentences in “Taiwanese” characters, Chinese characters and romanisation. No grammar points nor explanations of any sort. Depressing.

Anyone know if there are Chinese language schools in shilin? The ones down in Guting are a little far for me

I see tli but it’s way in the middle of tienmu which is far from the mrt.

FluentU is infuriating when it comes to traditional characters. The default for 90% of trad characters is the most illogical choice of all available characters for that sound. For US$30/month, that kind of set-up was a “no-go” for me. I was clicking the “provide feedback” button at least ten times for every video. If I have to do that that often, they should be paying me.

There’s a school in Dazhi: not really accessible from Shilin, but if you have another form of transit (like a car…) it’s not far from Shilin

There’s Soochow University close by

Why not use italki? Last time I looked there were plenty of teachers from Taiwan. Also it’s a misconception that everyone in mainland China speaks the Beijing lingo. People from the southern parts of the country don’t really do that. The biggest difference between Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese Chinese is really the former uses simplified Chinese and the later uses traditional Chinese. Having learned both, I think I’ll go with simplified Chinese anytime.