Limited Available Time Class Recommendations

Apologies in advance for any aspect of this question that has been beaten to death before. I really did scan the forum archive but didn’t quite find the answers I was looking for.

I live in Arizona and am married to a Taiwanese woman (6 Years (duration, not age)) During that time I’ve spent about 4.5 months in Taipei in roughly 1 month increments.

I’ve studied two years of Mandarin here in Arizona - where classes are not only few and far between, but are also not very comprehensive, usually only amounting to 3 hours per week. My vocabulary is limited, but by the time I reach the end of a 1 month stay, I can usually order food at a MOS Burger and know when someone is talking about me.

In short, I can’t speak Mandarin, but, I’m not unfamiliar with it in form, grammar and pronunciation.

On my last trip, I began to research language schools, but it was Chinese New Year, and the timing wasn’t right for me to get into any formal schools.

Later in 2005, I will be coming to Taipei again. We’re bringing our soon-to-be born second child over to visit family. I’m theoretically entitled to 3 months paternity leave (although 2 months is more realistic) and am hoping that I can employ my time towards classes. The dates and length of the trip are not yet fixed, I can tailor them around classes if I can find them. As I’m not “working” per se during the trip, I can also take classes on most any schedule.

Although the area doesn’t matter so much as I can get around town fairly well, I stay across Hsiensen (is it XinSheng these days?) Rd from Ta An Park.

Having said all that, does anyone have any recommendations on effective short courses that might fit that kind of bill? (The ones I’ve seen haven’t really addressed the issue of my limited time, hence this post.)

I’ve also noticed that some of the classes seems to only take place when they have enough students and/or the price decreases with more students. Is there anyone out there that might be at a similar skill level who might be interested in taking a class later this year?

Eugene Glover

Huh? You are married to a Taiwanese woman for six whole years and seem quite motivated to study Chinese and yet your Chinese sucks. Your wife is only willing to speak English with you? She’s an Engligh teacher in the making or something?

Yes, that’s right.

Actually, my wife isn’t an English teacher in the making, she’s a fully-fledged board-certified and employed teacher here. But that has nothing to do with it. Besides, elementary education and adult education are two very different facets of the profession.

Learning around the house has not been particularly effective for me. I find I learn languages better in a more formal environment. It also helps me to have someone other than my wife teaching me. She certainly has no experience teaching Mandarin to foreigners, no course materials, nor time by which to prepare a formalized course syllabus, and there are no other students to work with. She’s more effective for me as a tutor when I can find classes.

I can actually understand her Mandarin fairly well, but there is no one else to practice with. I find that identical sentences spoken by others, such as her parents, are much more difficult to understand. The ordinary pressures of house and family, plus a 50-75 hour a week job also make finding the time to sit down on a regular schedule problematic.

I’m also probably a bit better than I expressed, but it does slip considerably without constant use. I know that will be the case even if I do take classes, but each return trip, I pick it back up faster.

These times when I get to visit Taiwan afford me a break from the routine and real, practical opportunities to hear and speak Mandarin. I’m just trying to maximize that opportunity in a small event window. We’re not planning any more kids, so this is almost certainly the last 2+ month chance I’ll get until I retire.

(I just didn’t go into all the details because I was trying to keep the original post “short”. :wink: )

[quote=“gridman”]Yes, that’s right.

Actually, my wife isn’t an English teacher in the making, she’s a fully-fledged board-certified and employed teacher here. .

(I just didn’t go into all the details because I was trying to keep the original post “short”. :wink: )[/quote]

Sorry for the condescending tone earlier. I do admire the fact that the only two months of free time that you’ll have before retirement you’ll spend on learning Mandarin in Taiwan.

Well, a key tool in learning a language is repetition.
You meet her. Insead of saying “hello” you’d say “你好” She would respont the same way. And from there you’d move on. (I do realise your chinese is way more advanced then that). Areyou hungry? Tired? Yes I’m not, Yes I am. And so on, and on. A year or two later, with you studying on the side, will leave you with some decent Chinese. As long as the wife doesnt guess what you are saying and views this as a process of helping you. Other then that, watch Taiwanese TV with subtitles and use software like Rosetta Stone.

I think the poster really wants to know where he can get the most bang for his hour in a Chinese class in Taipei, right?

Most of the small language schools are roughly equivalent. I’ve had pretty good luck at CLI (China Language Institute) up on Anho Road. Pioneer’s branch on Hoping Road (assuming it’s still there; I’m not!) would not be too far from Hsinsheng (depending on where you live on Hsinsheng of course). It’s east of the intersection of Hoping and Hsinsheng. There is/was a small language school on Hsinsheng Road north of Jen’ai, but I did not find them to my taste when I went there briefly. I was looking for more advanced work though so as a beginner/intermediate your mileage may vary.

I wouldn’t bother with NTNU/the Mandarin Training Center/CCLC or whatever it is they’re going by now because you just won’t be there long enough for them AFAIK. You might also want ot consider short-term one on one classes or a combination of group classes and one-on-one work or fairly serious language exchanges.