has anyone tried their online courses? If so, whats the verdict?
I popped over and looked at their demo lesson.
A couple of impressions:
On the “structured lessons”, first, I wish they would NEVER write Pinyin next to the characters. You will NEVER look at the characters. This is a common mistake among textbook writers. Romanization should be separate or, at the least, provided as footnotes, etc., depending on the thrust of the course (reading through characters, general fluency, etc.) I hate that they have splashed the Romanization right underneath, especially with HTML and other codings that could be creatively used for mouseover effects and the like.
Second, their usage is VERY mainland. Nothing wrong with that, but I can’t remember the last time I heard someone in Taiwan say “ming2wan3” for “tomorrow night”!
Third, I can’t see where their dialogues are very, well, compelling. Maybe because they’ve chosen to limit the amount of material. Makes it tough to get into things.
On the good side, though, they have limited the amount of material they put in each lesson, which is very good.
On the “functional” lessons, it drives ME crazy how they mix English with Chinese to further the story, but I suppose if they want to tell a more detailed story with little Chinese, they have no choice. As usual, you will never heard Mandarin spoken at this speed or with this accent in Taiwan. I would love to see a site that would present the items slowly and then speed them up while repeating, but…oh well. I like how you can easily “rewind” or “forward” the recording, and the anime, while potentially annoying, do make it more lively, I guess, and set a context.
I am not sure I would pay $70 for one of the courses…how much different are they from the kinds of CD-ROMS that are widely available, I’m not sure.
Mind you, this is just impressions from a quick once-over, your mileage may vary.
do you recommend any text books/CDROMs/websites??
[quote=“wayneowen”]do you recommend any text books/CDROMs/websites??[/quote]I like Rosetta Stone. Not perfect (and not cheap!) but pretty useful nonetheless.
There is a free online Flash demo. Before you use it you have to enter an email address. But if you uncheck the “send me emails” box then they won’t send you any emails.