The Mandarin Language

Introducing Chinese Mandarin...

Here's a breakdown of what you get...

  • Easy to Follow Chinese Video Lessons
  • Designed for English Speaking Adults
  • Downloadable Lessons
  • For Absolute Beginners
  • Speak Mandarin Chinese Fluently

What is China?

For a long time, sinologists seemed to agree that the name “China” derives from Qin - the  dynasty led by the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, who was the fist to united China back in 221 B.C. Nowadays, it is thought that the original pronunciation of Qin was quite different from today’s, making this unlikely source. Instead, “China” is sourced back to Persia, where first the porcelain and only later the country got its present day name. 


Chinese people themselves call China 中国 (Zhōngguó) or “Middle Kingdom”, which originally described the central, or royal states that occupied the region prior to Qin unification. Another name is 华 (Huá) which comes from 华夏 (HuáXià) the first dynasty in Chinese history. 


To the outside world, China is known as The People’s Republic of China. It has been established a little over 60 years ago by the Communist leader Mao Zedong, on October 1, 1949, to be precise. Before that, the country was known as the Republic of China (1911-1946), ruled by the nationalist party, who overthrew the last emperor of Qing dynasty in 1911.


Administratively, China is divided into 22 provinces, and considers Taiwan its 23 province (although Taiwan is being independently governed). Besides that, there are five autonomous regions (each with their minority), four municipalities (Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing) and two special administrative zones, namely Hong Kong and Macao. The term, Mainland China, is a geographic term used to refer to the 22 provinces and the 5 autonomous regions and the 4 municipalities. China is a single-party state, government by the communist party and the present leader Xi Jinping.



What is Chinese?

The first written Chinese language 中文 (ZhōngWén) can be traced to around 2000 BC when, for the purpose of fortune telling and divination, characters were written in the oracle bones. Today, 汉语 (HànYǔ), or the language of Han, is also known as 中国话 (ZhōngGuóHuà) “Chinese speech” (spoken Chinese). In overseas Chinese communities, especially those of Southeast Asia Chinese language is known as 华语 HúaYǔ, while in Taiwan it’s called “the National language” or 国语 (GuóYǔ)



What is Mandarin?

China is extremely large and, of course, populous, and for people to be able to communicate all over the country, using just one language, a standard variant of Chinese was established. So, today, when we talk about Chinese, we usually mean standard Chinese also called Mandarin 普通话 (PǔTōngHuà) or “common speech”. Mandarin is the official language of China and is based on the pronunciation of Beijing and surrounding areas. The name “Mandarin” comes from the Sankrist term “mantrin” which means “minister”. 


Mandarin is spoken primarily by the ethnic group called Han 汉族 (HànZú) which makes up around 92% of China’s 1.35 billion people. The other 8% of the population are represented by the remaining 55 minorities which speak a variety of languages such as Uyghur, Tibetan, Dai, Mongolian and Korean. 


Chinese is also spoken by the overseas Chinese - around 30 million people - spread throughout the world. This makes Chinese, or rather, Mandarin, the language with most native language speakers, which is also the reason for making it one of the six official languages of the UN. 


Important Dialects

Mandarin is the native dialect of about 71% of its people and is also spoken by educated speakers of other dialects. In Shanghai, for example, people speak the local language Shanghainese, but since schools are taught in Chinese, most of the population is bilingual - speaking both the local dialect and Mandarin.


Apart from Mandarin, there are several important dialect groups, such as as: Wu (including Shanghainese) that is spoken in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, Min (Fukienese) spoken in Fujian Province, Taiwan and Southeast Asia, Yue (Cantonese) spoken in Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong and Kejia (Hakka), spoken in Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces. All the dialects read and write the same characters for the same meaning, while their pronunciation differs greatly. All of them have tones that signal different pitches for each syllable.


The four tones

Chinese is a tonal language. In Chinese, each syllable (or character) has a tone, and in Mandarin there are four tones (plus the fifth, unaccented one). In the Pinyin Romanisation, the mark above the syllable indicates its tone. Some of the words are unstressed, or toneless, with no mark.

1st tone: continuous (high pitch)

2nd tone: rising (starts at the middle pitch up to the high-pitch)

3rd tone: low, circular  (mid-low pitch, then falls, then up to the mid-high pitch) 

4th tone: falling (starts at the high-pitch, falls to the low-pitch)



Tāng (汤 soup) Táng (糖 sugar) Tǎng (躺 to lie down) Tàng, (烫 hot, scorching)

Dā (搭 to construct) Dá (答 to answer) Dǎ (打 to hit) Dà (大 big)

Mā (妈 mother) Má (麻 hemp) Mǎ (马 horse) Mà (骂 to scold) Ma (吗 question particle)




What Are Chinese Characters?

In Chinese, words are made up of one or more syllables, each of them represented by a character in the written form. Each character looks like a square-shaped box written in various strokes. The earliest characters were pictographic - simplified pictures of objects. Gradually ideographs symbols, were used to express more complex ideas and abstract ideas. 


Most of the characters nowadays are made of two parts, of which one carries the meaning, the other carries the pronunciation. Each character contains a radical (or the character can be the radical itself). There are 214 basic radicals. For the basic literacy one should recognize somewhere between 2,500-5,000 characters (which is less than a tenth of existing characters - up to 80,000). 


Traditional and Simplified Script

Simplification is a process where complex characters were simplified to make writing easier by reducing the number of strokes - thus increasing the literacy rate. They simplified script has been used since the 1950s and 1960, and is officially used in PRC and Singapore (but not in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao).


Several methods were used to simplify the characters, for example, one was to replace the original component of a character with a component of fewer strokes, but which had the same sound as the given character. For example, characters 认 (Rèn) and 识 (Shí) which, together mean “to recognize” 认识 (RènShi) have been simplified from their original 認識. The simplified component 人 Rén has the same pronunciation as the original 忍 Rěn (despite their different tones). The same goes for 识, where 只 Zhǐ has replaced 戠 Zhí. 


Another method was to simplify one section of the character, for example: the simplified 亲 Qīn only used the left component of the original character 親 Qīn. Radicals underwent simplification too, like the radical 言 Yán which is simplified as讠Yán. 

How Does Chinese Sound ?

Characters carry the meaning, but not necessary the sound, that is, the pronunciation of the character. This of course has its advantages, allowing for speakers of different languages like Japanese, Chinese, Korean, to still use the same characters, but pronouncing them in their own languages. For learners, of course, this does represent a difficulty, for they have to internalize the correct pronunciation of each character. To speed up the process of doing that, alphabetic systems have been invented that represent the sound (the syllables) behind each Chinese character. Most of these systems are made up of Roman letters, that’s why they are called Romanizations. We will talk about three most influential ones, mainly Pinyin, Zhuyin Fuhao and Wade-Giles systems. 



拼音  (PīnYīn) or more officially: the Scheme for the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet, has been officially used in China since 1958 and is now the most widely used Romanization system used  in classrooms, textbooks, computer input systems and dictionaries around the world. In Pinyin system, each syllable is composed of initial consonant sound and final vowel sound. Altogether, there are twenty-three initial sounds, followed by thirty-six different final sounds (these are either just vowels, or a combination of vowels and consonants). The syllables also come with the tone mark (as we’ve mentioned, one of the four, accented tones, or the fifth, unaccented one). Throughout this presentation, we’ve been using Pinyin alongside the characters.


Zhuyin Fuhao

注音符号 ZhùYīn FúHào, lit. “transcription of sounds” is also called the bopo mofo after its first four letters (b, p, m, f). Instead of basing on alphabet, this system was inspired by the Japanese “kana” which uses symbols (simplifications of simplified characters) instead. The advantage of this system is that it bases only on Chinese and doesn’t suggest any particular English (or other language’s) sound values. This system is still used in Taiwan where children, and foreign students, learn to read with Bopo mofo written vertically alongside the character to indicate its pronunciation. 


Wade-Giles System

As the name suggests, this was an invention made by two Cambridge scholars Thomas Wade and Herbert A. Giles at the turn of 19th century. For many years this system was the most commonly used Romanization in English language publications on China. Its main characteristic is that is It distinguishes the plain initial consonants from the aspirated (g from k, d from t, zh from ch etc. in the pinyin system) by placing an apostrophe after the latter: kuo versus k’uo, for example, or chung versus ch’ung.

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  • Tony Watson

    April 17, 2014

    I wish someone had told me about the tones!

  • Helen

    April 17, 2014

    I really want to get into learning Mandarin again but find it challenging and need to set aside devoted time fif continuity

  • Svetlana

    April 17, 2014


    I want a free dictionary 🙂

    1. Living in NZ, there is no problem to come across a Mandarine speaker. The problem is that they don’t want to hold conversation in Chinese.

    2. I notice that many Chinese teachers tend to teach “pinyin” instead of actually Chinese, which puts my linguistic independence on hold.


  • Don

    April 17, 2014

    I have really enjoyed the free lessons you have sent to me and am really looking forward to learning more. Hopefully I will be able to get more serious about learning Mandarin and will be able to devote more time in the future. Thank you so much for what you have taught me so far and good luck in your future pursuits. xie xie

  • Robert Duncan

    April 17, 2014

    The tones are interesting

  • Colin

    April 17, 2014

    I know about the tones, because they’re a basic element of the Chinese language, but what gives me some trouble is being able to distinguish them in speaking. However, I suppose that’s something that will improve as time goes on, as I acquire greater familiarity with the spoken language.

  • Sandy Spinks

    April 17, 2014

    Your lessons are excellent and the most helpfull of anything I have seen.i do have trouble when I am with a group of people as I have found I people I am with seem to speak mixed manderine and Cantonese but that,s something I will contend with.Thank you for your help.

  • LB

    April 17, 2014

    I am doing OK with the tones, but am finding it difficult to remember the words I have learn’t. I try to associate the words with something familiar and this helps, but it is difficult to think of an association for some of the words.

  • Gerry Naujok

    April 17, 2014

    Pronunciation is the biggest difficulty for me, sounding out like in English does not provide the correct sound.

  • Paul Grigg

    April 17, 2014

    Pronunciation of PINYIN Some phonetic English equivalents would be very useful. Also the ability to practice speaking into a computer program & get immediate feedback.

  • Dr. Pete

    April 17, 2014

    Typing Zhong Kuo characters seems mysterious. I tried looking it up on google how to do it; however, it looked really hard. I am mystified how my friends in China can send me messages in Chinese characters. Not only that my old Five Thousand Dictionary by C.H. Fenn was compiled before simplification of characters happened, not to mentioned that I was trained in Wade-Giles back in 1967-69. Therefore, looking up characters for me can be a time consuming ordeal with often a colossal waste of valuable study time.

  • Christopher Lancaster

    April 17, 2014

    The most difficult thing about learning Mandarin (Chinese) is how to pronounce the words you learn.

    It is an exciting language, challenging to learn but rewarding when you begin to understand the language and even more exciting when others (Chinese people begin to understand you.

    Tones are also challenging to learn and use.

    I do believe it is the language of the future though.

    • shantnu

      May 9, 2014

      Hey Christopher, it’s too easy to speak and write chinese. For any assist u can contact me. This is shaan from India.

  • Jim Kahl

    April 18, 2014

    Lac of people to practice with

  • Bruce Wigzell

    April 18, 2014

    The biggest problem I am having with Mandarin is my memory. I do not get enough practice speaking to remember. Also all the different words that are spelt the same in pin-yin but with different tones I find confusing. Just need the practice.

  • Brian Eaglesham

    April 18, 2014

    My biggest problems are as follow.



    Memory retention

  • Barry Tozer

    April 18, 2014

    I an enjoying learning mandarin lessons and my “short term” memory allows me to get 100% on the tests after I have completed a lesson.
    However, revision is the problem. After two or three weeks I forget the words I have previously learned and thought I knew. The notes would be improved if there was a full glossary at the end. I spend time looking for words from previous lessons because I can’t remember which lesson they were in. Any ideas to help my retention of words – vocabulary – would be helpful.

  • Colin

    April 18, 2014

    I am struggling with the tones.

  • J R Anderson

    April 18, 2014

    Time and then motivation are the biggest issues I have in preventing me from doing, fully, something I really do want to achieve.

  • Haare Tukariri

    April 18, 2014

    When the lessons end, so does the contact with Mandarin. It would be great to find a local speaker who will associate with me and share his language.

  • Jeff Beacham

    April 18, 2014

    I have been studying for just short of one year now. I live in China for half of that time and my biggest struggle is the common people talking language. Well that and the way things sound different. Chi as in “Hao Chi” for delicious now sounds like “hao tsi”.

    Other very simple words in daily life, like switch on or off, turn on the or of the lights, for example, are some that we take for granted but miss out on learning.
    Words and sentence structuring also would help greatly to make it easier to broaden what we are learning. It will also teach us to construct our own sentences and therefore make our own conversations.
    I also have memory retention issues, but the only way to beat this is to immerse yourself into the language. It can be difficult if you always fall back to English speaking without re enforcing your Chinese vocabulary daily. Maybe we can form a Skype group within our organised class of learners and speak with each other face to face for practice.
    My wife says forget your fear of what you sound like, you will never learn until your mistakes have been corrected.

    well that was my two cents worth,

    • clay thompson

      April 18, 2014

      hey jeff i do want to get to china aswell sometime soon i hope i would love to hear more about it if you have free time to share sometime and emails im happy to hear all your two cents worth lol?

      • Jeff

        April 22, 2014

        Clay, any time. I recently married mt fiancée and since august last year I have lived in China for 7 months. I return only because of the old L class tourist restriction on the visa. That all changes now. So, if you want to have some chat time, sure, we can do this. I am in Australia until June 10.

  • Tien Lim

    April 18, 2014

    I had a few lessons with you and I fine that tone is my biggest problem, anyway that I can improve on it.
    Thank you.

  • Joe DeMarco

    April 18, 2014

    I love the language! Getting the tones and pitches correct is one of the challenging things about it. Practice is one of the keys.

  • Dennis. Andrews.

    April 18, 2014

    Having the time to sit and study is a big problem. On the net is not practical for me. A book study program you can look at or a DVD I think would be a great idea.

  • Sarah

    April 18, 2014

    I am only on my second lesson and am enjoying it so far. The tones I understand but getting them right is another matter. I am struggling with finding the right amount of time to practice and memory of the longer sentences. Any tips?

    • Rui Zhi Dong

      April 23, 2014

      Hi Sarah,

      Keep an eye out for an email on this 😉

  • Othmar Beerli

    April 18, 2014

    Ni hao Richard
    I have had a few lessons at confucius Institute
    The thing i struggle most with is to remember the characters association with the pin ying.
    Thanks Othmar

  • clay thompson

    April 18, 2014

    i have a chinese girlfriend and the biggest problem i have learning manderin is finding the money to do the whole course (oh and prononciatons but i feel better blaming money) lol i have enjoied the lessons i did for free and my gf loves fact that i try to speak some all the time with her

  • dennis

    April 18, 2014

    hello-finding time to learn is a problem-thanks for lessons

  • Tina Chao

    April 18, 2014

    I wanted to have free dictionary to find out it is easy for me to learn Mandarin.

  • Paul corbett

    April 18, 2014

    The tones are difficult.a particular difficulty is when words spelt the same have different tones


    April 18, 2014



    April 18, 2014


  • Andrew Donald

    April 18, 2014

    i’ve been learning for about nine months. i think i’m making some progress with listening and speaking. my biggest problems are with reading and writing. learning to recognise, retain and then write characters is very difficult. pinyin is a problem because i started to read and write in pinyin, and of course that’s no use in real life. i find i have to be very careful to initially learn to write each character correctly, including stroke direction and order, otherwise i just memorise my mistakes.

  • sergio

    April 18, 2014

    Hi,I fund the difficult par for me is pronunciation, like the word ( here).on the cd,sound diferent then you tube.

  • beau mccarthy

    April 18, 2014

    I am finding the pronunciation and the pinyin to the be the most challenging. .. whenever I’m practicing I’m always getting them mixed up

  • Vinney Manna

    April 18, 2014

    Like everyone else I find the tones are the hardest part to accomplish..
    I also appreciate all the lessons you have been sending me…Finding time to study is getting difficult too..

  • David G Cox Esq.

    April 18, 2014

    These lessons are awesome, verging on brilliant. I find it hard work finding time to learn Chinese. I’m looking forward to making new Chinese friends I can practice on.

  • Paul withrow

    April 18, 2014

    Not having a dictionary and grammar book. Also having a hard time recognizing characters.

  • J. DeMarco

    April 18, 2014

    I’m enjoying the learning experience. The most difficult thing to get a handle on is the tones and pitches.

  • Allan

    April 18, 2014

    I like to understand the origins of the characters to help me remember them, and for this the traditional form is more useful than the simplified. I try to research the origin of each character as it is introduced, and prepare a little story about it that helps me remember both the usage and the form, and sometimes also the approximate pronunciation, for example 我 – ‘I am a warrior with halberd and victim tassels’.
    A problem is that the most-used characters, and those first introduced in lessons, tend to be the more complex, made up of the simpler but less-used components.

  • Will

    April 18, 2014

    learning the characters is very challenging

  • Stephen McGoldrick

    April 18, 2014

    A great teaching aid. As with learning any new skill practice makes perfect..

  • Paul Modjeski

    April 18, 2014

    a good way to learn Chinese Mandarin.

  • Nadeem Ishfaq

    April 18, 2014


    • tony james

      April 19, 2014

      google translated?

  • Lisa

    April 18, 2014

    I am currently struggling with making some sentences (the structure of it) and writing good Chinese stories and essays.

  • Jamie Chase

    April 18, 2014

    The most difficult part to learn Chinese seems to me is the four different tones as well as the different meanings coming with them. It’s really hard to mimic these four tones sometimes.

  • Norman Turner

    April 18, 2014

    I have found the pronunciation not to bad,eg very nice to meet you
    Jian Dao Ni Hen Gao Xing my version Jen Dowl Ne Hun Gol Sing,. I have talked to some with Mandarin Knowledge and they said it was very close. that is why I am taking up the second version of video’s to broaden my sentencing of sentenances witrh (Richard) ,Rui Zhi Dong

  • Joseph

    April 18, 2014

    I have a teacher and when I practice I pronounce the words incorrectly but I don’t always hear my own mistakes…. then I build that into my memory and makes all sorts of trouble.

    Also when I listen to chinese I am very very slow at translating the words in my head… I have to repeat the words to myself (but many times REPEATING the word) is the same as saying YES!!!

  • Clem

    April 18, 2014

    My biggest problems are pronunciation and tones and also making enough time to practice

  • Tony Stephens

    April 18, 2014

    The course is brilliant and I love that you can just go over the lessons with no pressure.
    I find myself going over and over them. I have lost count of how many times I have done them now.
    My biggest hurdle is not having someone to spend conversation time with. There are many words rattling around in the head but conversation and structure is required.

  • Jaime Lee

    April 18, 2014

    I’m having a hard time reading pinyin

  • Marianne fraser

    April 18, 2014

    For someone my age……….the wrong side of 50 🙂 remembering correct pronunciation and getting the tones right is proving to be difficult without special tutoring. The Oxford dictionary looks like quite the handy helper.

  • Dennis McNulty

    April 18, 2014

    My three biggest problems learning Mandarin:

    (1) Remembering the correct tones and phrasing them right in the correct sequence (also different regions of China emphasize different sounds)

    (2) Differentiating different words but similar sounding when listening.

    (3) Remembering simplified forms of Chinese characters (don’t have the same problem with traditional forms of Chinese characters as learnt Japanese first, which Japanese kanji are generally similar to)

  • Elke Josephs

    April 18, 2014

    Hard to to get the right pronunciations and tones right but I want to learn.

  • Fiona Tran

    April 18, 2014

    My first language use the alphabet so I’m struggling with writing Chinese. I believe the characters depict physical objects or abstract notion so understanding Chinese culture would help with memorising the characters.

  • Murray

    April 18, 2014

    Hi I have great problems because
    1) I am learning Cantonese and Mandarin together
    2) Trying to remember the Characters
    3) I am tone deaf
    4) My wife is fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin, but speaks both with Cantonese tones and lastly but not least
    5) I don’t have much time or energy

  • Lyn

    April 18, 2014

    Hi i am having problems with the different tones/also the way of pronounctian
    I also fing learning the characters is very challenging.I would find your dictionary very helpful as i need all the help i can get.I also find your lessons very helpful but i need to practice/practice & more.

  • Leone Vandyk

    April 18, 2014

    Finding that my pronuctiaton is wrong and cant get to practice before i say it

  • John

    April 18, 2014

    I like learning the lanuage,but i wish i could learn the tone.

  • Peter Johnstone

    April 18, 2014

    My biggest problem is remembering the words and their meaning mainly because I don’t get a lot of time to practice. I also found that I struggle to learn verbally, and need to have both verbal and written to even go close to remembering. I now have a Chinese wife and hoping the combination of her and your dictionary can assist

  • jack

    April 18, 2014

    Vocabulary.there is so much to learn now later it will be comprehension.
    So I’m going thru the lessons quickly, not worrying too much about the finer points and just as long as i can do each quiz, I go to the next lesson. Once Ive learnt most of the words in a level I’ll do the level again with some foundation vocabulary with more accuracy

  • Denise

    April 18, 2014

    I know the pinyin (most of the time), I don’t seem to be able to remember characters. My main issue is trying to understand what is being said to me. I can pick out a few words and guess but them have to think really hard on trying to answer in Mandarin…

  • Ibrar

    April 18, 2014

    i love chinies people but i don’t know mandarin language.
    so my wish i can speak mandarin language

  • David Marshall

    April 18, 2014

    Hi I am just taking in all these lessons one by one. I do not advance to the next one until I am totally able to understand and speak. Therefore I am now many lessons behind. But when I am finished I will be able to use the limited language enough for me to communicate with my Chinese lady. This way I do not forget. I find that the Chinese do find my pronunciations confusing. But that is life. If they speak some English then the problem is over come and they understand what I am trying to say and they correct me. It would be nice to have a recording of all words in the lessons so that when I am in the gym I can learn why exercising. Thanks Richard you are doing a great job.

  • tony james

    April 19, 2014

    If the student really wants to learn then it full time at College/University as I can read and understand Pinyin and some characters’ but listening and talking with Chinese speakers is difficult. I can get taxis, shop supermarkets talk about the weather all trivial things but if I am at an airport its only English!

  • Mazen

    April 19, 2014

    Hi…the most difficult thing in learning chinese language is when i try to change the sentence from the English to Chinese and also i have problem in listening…thanks for your effort

  • Kathleen Whyte

    April 19, 2014

    I would love the free book it would help me I am taking Chinese lessons at uni

  • Kathleen Whyte

    April 19, 2014

    I am taking Chinese at uni and finding it hard this would help me

  • 罗思成 ,马克

    April 19, 2014

    The thing I find hardest when speaking Mandarin is understanding the regional dialects. Mandarin spoken n Chengdu is so different from that spoken in Beijing.Some Chinese people can’t understand a word I say whilst others in the same city assume Chinese is my first language and rabbit on at full speed.

  • David L D'Amato

    April 19, 2014

    I have used your free lessons and started to speak the words. I have some difficulty because I have no one at the present to talk to. I wanted to learn some words for the friend who I met online and hopefully she will be here in the summer. So far I was doing good till you came up with the different tones which makes things alittle harder but I’m trying hard to get it down. I do appreciate all that I have learned so far. Thank you

  • Dwight Lawson

    April 19, 2014

    I am having trouble with the pronunciation and sounds. I know it takes practice and I am working at it. Thank you for the free lessons and I am determined to make significant progress in learning Mandarin over the next year. My goal is to be able to communicate in Mandarin to my real estate clients. It is a fascinating language.

    Dwight Lawson

  • Gordon McSeveney

    April 20, 2014

    Trying to remember all that I have learned the previous day and all the different tones to use when speaking, it’s not easy learning from books by yourself, but I learn at least 1 new word every day.

  • Manuel Meitin

    April 20, 2014

    It’s very usefull for travelers to have a Chinese dictionary.
    It can help in conjuction with basic lessons to understand the most essential communications with people on street.

  • Eeraj

    April 21, 2014

    Having a real conversation with someone would go a long way in improving my Chinese. I think if you can put out some supplementary audio/video tests and conversations on your web site, it would be very helpful in bolstering the learning.

  • Ahfat Dorothy

    April 21, 2014

    I’ m very happy to learn mandarin with you Richard. Ido not have much time .your way suits me well .i go to china twice a year for business, that’s the reason i want to learn mandarin. My daughter is learning mandarin at school.

  • Rick

    April 21, 2014

    I ant to learn Chinese as quicly and easily as posible.

  • David Hinckfuss

    April 22, 2014

    I’m finding it challenging to discipline myself to regular practice everyday.
    If I have anymore problems I’ll let you know.

  • Harry

    April 22, 2014

    To remember all the words and small sentenses you learn as a beginer, without practisin with sombody i found it hard to remember.

  • Marx Sekgomanyane

    April 22, 2014

    Ni Hao

    I have always wanted a Chinese dictionary but I could not find one in my country. I would really appreciate one.




    April 23, 2014


  • Sue

    April 23, 2014

    Hi Richard
    Thank you very much for your course in the Mandarin language. I started then came to a halt but am now determined to speak conversational Mandarin by mid 2015, with your help. I wasn’t practising enough so have joined a Mahjong club and am enjoying the game and the interaction very much. I am told my pronunciation is very good but I do take time translating the Chinese to English, forming an answer in my head then replying in Chinese. Practice, practice, practise! Also getting the words into the right sentence order, which is different to how you would place them in English.
    Thanks again for your great course, Sue

  • Colin McGrath

    April 29, 2014

    Nǐ hǎo Richard,

    My biggest difficulties are:-

    1. Understanding mandarin when it is spoken to me;
    2. Pronunciation of pinyin words; and
    3. Grammar rules, in order to make a sentence that is grammatically correct.

    Zàijiàn from Col

  • PAUL N

    May 1, 2014

    All the examples mentioned by others

    1. Understanding conversation with Chinese individuals
    2. Getting the tones working with the language
    3. Grammar Rules

    As a beginner I am sticking with the basics and will try to copy the toning from Chinese friends as I carry on my learning.

  • bob g

    May 1, 2014

    Remembering – as an older student, I find it difficult to remember words and their meaning, or lists of tones, or how to put together meaningful words in a sequence . . .

  • Paula ISGROVE

    May 1, 2014

    I worry so much about saying it wrong that I dont say anything in Mandarin lol Its frustrating!!

  • Alan G

    May 1, 2014

    I am learning to write simplified Chinese characters and practice most days, it is a slow process but what I find difficult is that one character on its own has its meaning but when it is put with another it is often totally unrelated and has a different meaning. It is also difficult to grasp that there are so many ways of saying the same thing and when you put them into a statement which modifiers do you use. I am hoping one day it is all going to become clear and I will understand.

  • Helen Waterfall

    May 1, 2014

    I learned Japanese at high school, and the constant practice and reinforcement was definitely beneficial to learning. I want to learn Chinese, Mandarin, and am studying this at home however I find it totally different to any other language structure especially with the tones, which is why I struggle. I am still determined to learn Mandarin, and I think I need all the resources I can get to help me stay motivated and current.

  • Bryant

    May 2, 2014

    I think committing to doing the actual study on a daily basis, is the game changer. I find other things attempt to cause me to falter, especially when other priorities compete for my time. A reminder of the sort that is on phones is a good idea, though the human factor to do it is the challenge. Secondly having the pin yin with the characters and English translation at the same time is very beneficial in teaching correct pronunciation.

  • Ben How

    May 3, 2014

    Finding time to learn


    May 3, 2014




  • Vijaipal G. Singh

    May 8, 2014

    Please send me your bookslets, dictionary etc.,
    I am keen to learn Chinese Language and know about Chinese Culture.
    Looking forward to your response
    With best wishes

  • Robyn

    May 9, 2014

    I want to learn mandarin but I find that getting the characters mixed up. I really need a dictionary too. Please keep me posted of programs that you offer or any resources that will help.

  • Vijaipal G. Singh

    May 12, 2014

    Please send me a Chinese Dictionary at the following address:

    AUCKLAND 0600

  • Raymond Ong

    May 24, 2014

    I would like to learn more mandarin. I need speaking and listening practice so that I can converse confidently in Mandarin.

    I am also currently learning how to read and write chinese too. I have some knowledge of the traditional characters but I am finding I have to re-learn some of them because there is a simplified version of them.

  • tony

    June 25, 2014

    sorry but I can not understand this post and if anything to do with mandarin!!!!!!!!

  • Jeff

    June 25, 2014

    Not to fill this up with more SPAM, but the last couple of responses I believe are just this. I have seen these types of replies on some tech forums I use, one for computer the other my motorcycle. It took some time to stop them and they were a damn nuisance. A shame they have to be so inconsiderate and interfere here also.
    I hope all the good people who want to learn do not give up and continue to use and write in here, the rewards are great and community can be helpful.


  • Rui Zhi Dong

    June 25, 2014

    Hey guys!

    Sorry about that — I have deleted the SPAM comments.

    Jeff is right — unfortunately spammers have found this page and decided to spam it. I will monitor the page more closely.

    Thanks to everyone for their contribution 😉