If I understand this correctly, you are saying to delay the memorization of characters until you have a firm grasp on the pinyin. I’m not sure I agree with this part. With every new vocabulary word you should learn all three: pinyin, tone, and character or it will become more confusing and delay progress later on. I find Chinese to be very visual and it helps to associate which character is being used when you come across a new spoken phrase. You can quickly deduce the meaning of new words if you can visualize the component characters being used.
I’m not a language teacher but I couldn’t imagine trying Chinese with just pinyin first.
I’m also somehow officially ACTFL-Superior on the OPI and WPT (and struggle with HSK 6 reading material, so somehow I can struggle to read but can convince an ACTFL grader of the contrary with my mad writing skilz…), but I would genuinely love to attend one of your classes as an observer, as your methods are what I know to work. Are you in Taiwan doing classes right now?
No, im saying as a beginner, know that word’s sound (and correct pinyin) very well, as in be able to recall it when it needs to be used, and then learn the character for it. Otherwise you end up with “lau SHEE” and “Han how” because you rely on a general but imprecise knowledge of the character’s pronunciation. As you progress and know enough characters to confuse homophones, then you go into characters at the same time as learning the new words. (Or to an extent). This also prevents things like “I know the characters are ‘fire’ and ‘chicken’ but I can’t remeber how to say the word”. If you already know how to say 火 and 雞, theres no difficulty in remembering how to say the word aloud when you see what the characters are. You just say “huo3ji1”
A few months ago I posted a comment here about Mandarin learning materials in which I wrote lingq was great for other languages but not for Mandarin with traditional characters. It’s recently had a major revamp, however, with 60 plus podcasts with transcripts for the Taiwanese Mandarin series plus a lot of other books and podcasts in traditional characters. Most of this is too advanced for beginners, but the 60 “mini stories” now available in traditional could be excellent for beginners/intermediate (I listened to the mini-stories repeatedly when I began learning German, Spanish, and Japanese).
This. This sounds exactly like what the dude is looking for. Take your pick, but make sure to read reviews and search on forumosa. Some are better than others. TMI is worth avoiding. I did one semester at TCA before, it was decent. I’ve read good things about TLI on forumosa.
From personal experience I would recommend going to one with more asian classmates as then you will default to chinese instead of English when chatting, which is great.
I might go to this one. The class schedule lines up nicely for me, but my only concern is taking a course that might be a bit too elementary for me. But at the same time, solidifying my foundation can’t be a bad thing. Any recent experiences?
Shuohao only goes to B2. Its one of maybe two schools I’ve seen in Taiwan that doesn’t pretend to take learners past an intermediate level. That doesn’t mean its bad, in fact it could mean they do a great job of providing foundations, but it seemed weird to me that they would advertise as only going to B2. Then again, most schools that go beyond that dont have teachers that really know how go work with advanced learners, so it’s a wash.
Unless all your classmates are all Taiwanese, you won’t be able to avoid that.
None of them really talk enough for me to pick up their habits and accent. I spend most of the time listening to the teacher.
The main point is, you will not default to English and you will have opportunity to speak Chinese for the whole time you are in class. It’s preferable to the classes i took in TMI and TCA where English was spoken for half the class and the westerners constantly ask why? why? why?
Unorganized. Some staff were morons. Lack of consistency in teachers. No emphasis on reading or writing, they were fine to teach pinyin in my class. What use is that in Taiwan?
Good to know. I need a new place to learn and I had thought about them
Pinyin is fine for me, as its what I learned and I learned it correctly with a standard Chinese pronunciation. Seeing the pinyin works better than zhuyin for me, which might technically make distinctions between “z” and “zh” and “j”, but Taiwanese dont distinguish them, so it doesn’t matter unless you’re typing. And I can type way faster than native Chinese speakers in my QWERTY keyboard.
My first Chinese class, looking back and also from reading @ironlady’s own research on the matter, was probably the best intro to Chinese method you can use — intro the words in listening and speaking with pinyin as guidance for how to say them, then intro the characters once you know what the sounds associated with them mean. Cold Character Reading.
If they never intro characters then they’re just stupid. Classes cost way too much money to never be expected to learn characters in a Chinese class in Taiwan.
Lots of people have many opinions on the matter, but it would seem that @ironlady’s research would indicate that TPRS + cold character reading is more effective. Im sure there is other research out there that indicates otherwise, but I myself am glad I had to focus on speaking and listening for a few weeks before ever being distracted by the characters. Once we got into characters, my tones went right out the window.
I have been thinking about this too. When you are an advanced learner, is it worth going to class or should I just be teaching myself more with reading? Do you continue to take classes?
I did OPI like 10 years ago for grad school and got advanced high so who knows now. I enjoy the discipline that class forces on me and don’t feel I progress much with just reading my interests or talking to the same people in my social circle.
Perhaps I didn’t explain clearly enough. Most schools I have been to have taught using pinyin and characters simultaneously. Which is what they should be doing, its useless to teach you the pinyin without the characters, Taiwanese people do not use pinyin.
I can’t remember exactly what TMI did, I just remember one student didn’t learn a single character over the course of the whole semester. Waste of time.
Remembering the characters for reading and typing is not particularly hard, plus you will need to read / type to live in Taiwan. I see no benefit in skipping it. Writing is a whole nother discussion however.