Learning conversational Chinese quickly - which course?

What are your recommendations for learning conversational Mandarin reasonably promptly? I’d like to get a head start in the 5 months I have before I go to Taiwan.

I’m less interested in learning to read and write, more interested in something which can teach me vocabulary and grammar and how to put it together. Promptly.


You could consider Teach Yourself Beginners’ Chinese by Elizabeth Scurfield. Just realise that it is rather mainland oriented and some things may be said differently in Taiwan. Ms. Scurfield was my teacher when I first started Chinese 26 years ago.

Thanks. I’ve heard good things of the Pimsleur courses - any comments?

I arrived 5 months ago and am only just beginning to feel like I can understand roughly what’s being said (sometimes!). I ,too, don’t want to be reading and writing and would rather become a good speaker however you must learn how to recognize
characters inorder to be able to speak. I realized that now my reading is better than speaking (who would have thought!?) and that my speaking would be a lot better if I memorized the correct intonations with each word. You can kind of cheat by memorizing the Pinyin for every word but make sure you’re pronouncing the word right.The best way to solve that is to learn Bo-bo-Mo-fo characters!

What are they?

i think the best way to learn a language is to be in that country and force yourself to speak it… no?

I was strongely recommane to use “bo po mo fo” (which is just like
ABCD…Z for chinese), but after i met some people and talked with them. I realize, as long as you won’t get confused, you can use either way to learn it (either bo po mo fo or pin yin). But the point is , you don’t mix it up with English.
To learn the daily conversation, the best way is to live here, just so you can listen, speak all in chinese. But to have someone who is “willing” to talk with you in Chinese, is a lot better.
Most language exchange i heard were going bad. I think that’s why people are more thinking of paying a teacher for learning it. But i’m sure there are some language exchange are good. ^^
Without paying, you can go for the language exchange, but of course you have to teach english as feedback for fair.
Without giving feedback, you can pay for a teacher.
Or find someone who like to speak mandarin and hanging out more. ^
^ If you need any help, feel free to ask. *wink

Yes. I’ll be in the country for at least 12 months. But if there’s anything I can do to help the process before I get there, surely that’s a good idea? :shock: