Our Current Favorites:
- Chinese Pod is now the favorite place for the adult (and teen) learners in our house! There are different levels of learning from working completely independently all the way up to having a teacher call you as often as 2x a week for 20 minutes. Prices range from $15.00 to $300.00 per month.
- Better Chinese This is the program we are using with our younger children. It uses story books, songs and rhymes to teach the children the language. Right now we are using the My First Chinese Words, Kindergarten-Lower Elementary program.
- Fluentflix – For those who are learning Mandarin, Fluentflix is worth checking out. It’s like subtitles on steroids. It has a library of videos at a variety of language levels. As you watch each video, there are subtitles in Chinese characters, pinyin, and English, with the English ones set off vertically so you can avoid subconsciously reading them. Mousing over the subtitles pops up definitions and clicking on them gives you example sentences, and you can navigate the video by subtitle as well if you want to listen to a specific word again. There’s also an integrated flashcard system — here’s hoping they can talk to Pleco Software about some way to sync between the two.
- Cheng Yu Idioms My oldest daughter discovered this site while working on her homework for CHIN 202 at BYU. I have seen sites that tell you the story, but this is the first site that gives you examples of usage that I have seen!
Asian Parent ~~Books, DVDs, CDs and Toys
Popping Pandas sells all sorts of children’s programing in Mandarin Chinese.
- Fun Fun Elmo: A Mandarin Language Learning Program
- Growing Up With Chinese This is a very fun little program for beginning learners! It includes Language points, vocabulary lists, radicals, and cultural spotlight and a Grammatical Primer list. I’m very impressed with this program! …and it is FREE!!
- Happy Chinese is a really cute Chinese language program produced by CCTV. My older girls love it because it teaches more than just “tourist” language. My little girls love it because it is really funny!
- Latter-day Saint Book of Mormon Stories: This is one of our favorite resources. We believe strongly in the power of the Spirit to teach us and so being able to listen to The Book of Mormon stories in Chinese is a tremendous gift! (The characters are Big 5 or Traditional, but that is okay, we are mainly using these for listening purposes!)
- New Testament Stories in Chinese: These are based on LDS theology for the first couple of lessons, but then are basic New Testament stories from the King James Version of the Bible.
- Learn Chinese Every Day * is one of my favorite blogs. Every day you learn a new character and pre-recorded sentences (with pinyin and characters) are available for listening. My favorite thing about this site is the pinyin chart. It gave me a huge head start with my pronunciation!
- The Articles of Faith in Simplified Chinese and Pinyin
- Google Translate & Google Translate for iPhone
- Yi Xiu He Shang A cute cartoon out of Japan that has been translated into Chinese.
- Nanjing University
Long-term Chinese Language Training
–This is the program that my husband and my daughter are attending. They are choosing to go through the entire 2 year program, though there are options from 1 semester all the way up to 2 years. A certificate is issued at the 2 year point, but the HSK is also offered 2 times a year as a measurement of proficiency. The cost is (currently Y19,000/year or approximately $3000 USD.) My daughter is only 15 and she was admitted to the University based on the fact that her father would be attending with her. Admission for students traveling independently requires them to be 18 years of age or older. See this page for admission requirements. (Note: Brigham Young University sends their Chinese Majors here for 1 year. It is an elite program and only has 10 students a year participating.)
- Chinese Startalk— Brigham Young University offers a three-and-a-half week Chinese language learning experience every summer. Students must be motivated and be between 14 and 18 years of age (and be in 9th grade or higher.) The application process usually begins in February and ends quickly because demand is high. You will need a transcript showing the child’s grades and two letters of recommendation from current/past teachers. The questions for the teachers are:
1. How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant.2. Does the applicant demonstrate a consistently high level of personal maturity and sense of responsibility?3. Is the applicant dedicated to academic achievement?4. How will the applicant benefit from this experience?5. It is important that the participants attend regularly and complete the program. Do you believe the student with complete the program responsibly?
List of Electronic Resources
- Fluenz was a favorite for a long time in our house, until we decided that we needed to learn to read/write characters. Pinyin is taught in Fluenz. You are quizzed and expected to remember the correct spelling and the correct tone mark for the pinyin! It is an excellent tool for visual learners, i.e. those that remember best when they see the word written in roman characters. I believe that pinyin is necessary at the beginning of the Chinese learning process, so it was not a waste!
- Ling o Mi I just discovered this new tool! I like it because hearing the right tone is a HUGE part of understanding Chinese! I used it for an hour today I was surprised at how much my ability to hear the tones improved!
- Pimsleur Chinese (Mandarin) I We listened to this program in the car. There are three levels available. This is a good program to use if you are an auditory learner.
- Pleco The Essential Companion for Learning Chinese… and YES, I mean that! Buy an iPhone or an iTouch for THIS app! Seriously!
- Rosetta Stone is an excellent product for auditory learners. Even though you are seeing photos of the things that are being discussed, you do not see the words in pinyin. It is a good resource for young children, esp. the homeschool edition that will track them and keep them on the same level until they reach your preset proficiency. The adults in our house also use it for a listening resource.
Need to Know Terms
- The Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi abbreviated as HSK, is the People’s Republic of China’s only standardized test of Modern Standard Chinese language proficiency for non-native speakers, namely foreign students, overseas Chinese, and members of ethnic minority groups in China. It translates literally to “Chinese Proficiency Test.” I am currently gathering word lists and study guides for them and will be linking what I find here.
- GB Guóbiāo is usually the phonetic transcription of the word “National Standards” (国标) in Chinese. Mainland China, which uses Simplified Chinese Characters, uses the GB .
- Big-5 or Big5 is a Chinese character encoding method used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau for Traditional Chinese characters.
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