You guessed it! I’ve found another GREAT web site that is helping me make heaps of progress with my Chinese.
It is www.chineselearnonline.com (or their new site www.newclo.com) and it is a progressive course, which means each lesson builds on previous lessons.
Each lesson has a short dialogue, and then a very thorough explanation of the meaning of each word, phrase and sentence in the dialogue. They also have a second dialogue (a review) in each lesson which uses the same words, and has about the same meaning, so it’s an excellent way of learning/revising.
What I’m finding particularly useful is that they have concentrated on translating in both directions.
The main lesson translates from Chinese to English. The review is the opposite. After playing the dialogue, they ask a lot of questions in English, and you have to say the Chinese in the gap, and then they say the correct answer.
There is also an activity (among many activities) where I have set my options to hear the audio (words and phrases!), and if I understand it I click on one of 5 levels. A student tracking system keeps track of my progress and repeats words or phrases that I have said I have difficulty understanding.
I have been working my way through the lessons, starting at about 20 after quickly listening to some of the earlier ones. I’m now up to 108 (out of more than 400 lessons)! Because I have already been studying for a number of years, I know most of the words that they are using. However, I have a lot of trouble understanding when I hear Chinese spoken. Can’t understand a thing!! 🙁
In every lesson, I listen to the dialogue first, I can hardly ever understand what they are saying even though I know most of the words when I see them written. After I LISTEN to the WHOLE lesson (I try not to look at the written script that is available on the site) I can then understand what I am hearing in the dialogue!! Brilliant!!!
But, I forget it of course. Later on when I listen to that dialogue, I again have no idea what they are saying. However, it doesn’t take me long to work it out, and the more I concentrate really hard on what I’m listening to, the better I get at just ‘hearing’ what they are saying. It is still a lot of work, but hey, I’m getting there!!!
Each lesson is quite short, around 10 minutes. So it’s not too hard to concentrate completely for that long, or if my mind wonders I repeat sections. The dialogue in the early lessons was only 2 short sentences. Now I have progressed to 4 longer sentences. Each lesson has only a few new words, so it is a lot of practice using the same words in different ways.
I’m always very keen to just listen to the next lesson to see how much of it I do understand in the first listening, sometimes I hear a bit, and it feels really good! But after just 10 minutes when I can hear it all, it feels even better. I’m finding time to do up to 6 lessons a day. But I listen to older dialogues often, to make sure I’m not forgetting them.
If I was just beginning my study of Chinese, I think this would be a good site to use, but it is very demanding. But there is no way around that, it is a lot of work to learn a new language!
I like the structure in this series of lessons. I also like the content. It is very ordinary language they are using, in very ordinary dialogues. Compared to all the text books that I have used, I think the language here is probably going to be more helpful to me when I get back to chatting with my friends. I expect to be able to understand at least some of the stuff they say to me, and I will be able to quiz them in good Chinese, about what they are saying, instead of having to resort to English.
The other amazing thing about this course, is that they have native speakers from different parts of China and Taiwan so we get used to different accents. They even explain the different ways of pronouncing things in different parts of the country. In the past I found this very confusing.
Here’s a screen shot of the exercises you can do to help you remember what you’ve just been listening to. BTW, you do have to pay to access everything except the basic lesson (Basic lesson is free!). And, they charge more if you want to do a lot of bulk downloading! I’ve payed just their basic fee, and download only the bits of each lesson that I want, and as I want them. They have done a great job, and I really don’t mind paying for good stuff. I wonder if I will be looking for more lessons from these chaps when I finish their 400 odd that are already there 🙂
Well that’s all you get. I can’t wait to hear what they have to say in Lesson 109.