About Me

厦门炮台

Hi, my name is Chris Parker. I’m 27 years old, and I’m here to share my passion – learning Mandarin Chinese.

People always ask me why I wanted to learn Chinese.

For some reason, I always find it difficult to give a decent sounding answer to this question, so I’m going to give it a go now.

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by ‘the world outside’. I always found it ‘boring’ to just think about my own neighbourhood, or the things happening around me.

As a child, my walls were covered in maps and I got lost in atlases. I learnt to recognise all the flags of the world. I was fascinated by the exotic and the unknown.

This naturally led me to be interested in languages. At school, I took all the language classes I possibly could, in French, Spanish and German (I don’t remember any German now). I begged the only Russian teacher in the school to give me classes in lunch break.

When I was choosing what to study at university, I knew it had to be a language: I was addicted. But French and Spanish weren’t so exotic to me any more. I wanted a new challenge and a new high. It was between Arabic and Chinese, and I went with Chinese. I was lucky enough to be accepted by the University of Cambridge.

中国国旗Chinese has been a big part of my life ever since. I started learning it, aged 17. I took trips to China every summer. After I graduated, I taught English, I worked as a Chinese translator and interpreter, and I taught at a university. I’m currently working in online media and I live in Beijing.

Learning to speak Chinese takes time and a lot of commitment – I’m still learning new things after more than 7 years. But I’m here to share with you the message that speaking fluent Mandarin is within anyone’s reach.

I really hope you like the site and I hope that my story and experience can inspire you as you move ahead on the road to fluency in Mandarin!

 Articles I have written for other websites:

Fluent in 3 months – How persistence can get a beginner learner to expert level
The Polyglot Dream (Luca Lampariello) – Think in another language without translating
Lingholic – How to Become a Fluent Speaker of a Foreign Language
Digmandarin – How to Improve Your Mandarin Chinese Pronunciation
Chinese-tools.com – 5 encouraging things they don’t tell you when you start learning Chinese
Lingholic – Learning Mandarin Chinese – myths busted!
Learn Mandarin Now – How to Learn Chinese: Learn Chinese the way 50+ professional bloggers do
Learn Mandarin Now – How long does it realistically take to learn to speak Mandarin Chinese?
Interview with Lingsprout – Becoming fluent in Mandarin with Chris Parker

Chris Parker Tianjin TV

Appearances in the Chinese media (in Mandarin):

Tianjin TV – Discovering Chinese magic
Tianjin TV – Talking about marriage customs around the world
Tianjin TV – Discussing drinking cultures in different countries
China.org.cn – Talking about life in Beijing, knock-off goods, and different Chinese dialects
China.org.cn – ‘Online Valentine’s Day’, expressions of love from around the world

  • Raffaele Vairo

    Hi Chris, that’s Raffaele Vairo, Italian young man from Florence now living in Lima, Perù for work. I begun study Chinese in 2006 in Florence, but I gave up the reason being that in this course we got a lot of information about characters and their meaning, but no conversation; so I got bored and quitted, because I couldn’t say anithing. Now in Lima I have found a very good school where the writing practice is as important as the conversation! We write, read, speak and listen. Now I am glad to have recuperated my previous knowledge of basic Chinese and at the same time I am very willing to go further on in the study of this language. I hope we can exchange experiences about learning Chinese. If you are interested, we could also speak and exchange experiences about other languages. I would be very glade to receive your response as soon as you can.

    Thank you for your attention and take care!

    Ciao!

    Raffaele Vairo

    (raffaele.vairo@yahoo.it)

  • Pastor Jerry

    I ALSO FUN IT!

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  • bryan becker

    Thanks Chris you are wonderful , I wish I followed your path when I was 18 , your so lucky to live in China ,also your voice is great to hear the tones . I wish you more oceans of love an luck in your life ….Bryan

    • Thanks for your encouragement! I’m glad you are finding my Chinese learning resources useful 🙂

  • 意 陈

    我是中国人,but i want to learn English.could you help me ? thx

  • Doreen

    Hi Everyone, Chris!
    You made my day when I happened upon your site. Am taking a Mandarin class but am frustrated by the way it’s being taught. I want to speak, not read/write or at least not in that order. I’ve tried twice before to learn Mandarin but gave up when the teachers were totally focused on writing not speaking. Well, here I am to try again, precisely because it IS more difficult than other languages I’ve studied. Your background interest in all languages reminds me of my own, it’s very exciting to meet a kindred spirit. Now or never, wish me luck and with your help I’ll finally learn some Mandarin. I’m only 67 years old!!! Doreen N.

    • Hi Doreen, thanks so much for your lovely comment. It’s great that you have become motivated to learn Chinese. I hope you find a style of learning that you like and that my materials on this website and on my Youtube channel are be useful to you. Chris

  • Sara

    I’m learning korean and mandarin at the moment. I noticed there are bunch of words and concepts in korean that are borrowed from chinese which makes learning very easy 🙂 Good luck

    • Hi Sara, you’re right, there are a lot of words in Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese that are related to Chinese dialects. These three languages are the ones that are the most closely related to Chinese. It can be quite useful for us learners!!

    • 李玉

      Korean words nowadays contains 60% words borrowed from Chinese .It was invented about 500 years ago.Before that ,they use Chinese as official language.100 years ago,officials still prefer to use Chinese.Same to Japan, Vietnamese.

      • SEANYHU

        Actually after the invention of Korean alphabet, the scholars and officials from upper class still refused to recognise it for they would be laughed at by court of China if they were found using such strangely simple characters in diplomatic occasions. Therefore, until the foundation of republic of Korea who officially recognised Korean as Official language, all official documents and history of Korea was written in Chinese.

      • 倪董谋

        It’s important to distinguish between “language” and “writing system”. The Korean language existed long before it came into contact with China. I think you’re talking about the writing system here. Same with Japanese, and Vietnamese.

  • Wahyu Gayatri

    Hello! My name is Aya, a final year student majoring Chinese studies. I’ve been learning mandarin for almost 4 years and still learning. It’s hard, but very interesting as well. Now I have to improve my Chinese pronounciation. Thank you for making this portal, Chris. It must be very useful 🙂

    • Hi Aya, thanks for visiting my site and good luck with getting your Chinese pronunciation right. It does take a lot of time to iron out all the little mistakes when you talk, I’m still working on it as well!

  • 李玉

    Hi,哥们儿,既然你中文这么好,你可以考虑一下看点经典的文学作品,对于你汉语水平和修养的提高,都有极大的好处。比如《红楼梦》啥的,基本上是白话文阅读起来难度不大,一定要看精装版,绝对是一种享受;而且还有电视剧版本,电视剧一定要看87版的,看完这个小说之后你就会对中文华丽的辞藻有更深的了解,红楼梦也有英译版的,但是辞藻有些表达只可意会不可言传.

    • 我看过红楼梦和西游记的英文全译,但一直没有时间看中文版。我也买过87版红楼梦电视剧的DVD,也还没看。最近都没有时间看电视剧… 以后有时间的话再看。

      • 李玉

        这么厉害,真是刮目相看啊!不过,中文原版的效果肯定会让更你惊叹的。西游记可以直接看86版电视剧,红楼梦就建议你先至少看到第30回再去看电视剧版,那个时候你心中的人物都已经大概成型,再看电视剧,有助于理解书中内容和以后的继续阅读,也有利于你欣赏电视剧的展现,而且看电视剧的时候一定要先耐着性子看完前10集

      • Qingyang Sun

        有时我会怀疑钻研非通用语种的意义在哪里。我本科学的是意大利语,但是找不到喜欢的工作,现在还是在英国研究英语教育就为了能有个稳定而且有意义的工作。那些能将各国经典著作翻译成别的语言的名家非常厉害,但是做这样的学问也是寂寞的,具体情况我不清楚但是感觉翻译一本书得到的收入相比付出来说大概是相当微薄的。译成一本书也很少有人会知道译者的姓名。如果经济回报很少,如何才能对语言的研究乐在其中?非通用语言的学习未来发展情况又会如何?

  • titanulai

    看西游记一定要看吴闲云的《煮酒探西游》

    • 谢谢你的推荐!

      • Vincent Zhang

        你好,Chris!关于《煮酒探西游》,我没看过这本书,但是在网上看到不少评论都认为其中对传统文化的误读非常多,甚至有人曾对书中的多个观点逐条反驳,所以对于这本书争议还是比较大的。现在经常能看到像这种对古典名著的所谓解读,我的建议是批判地看待,不可尽信。并且你毕竟是外国人,我有点担心你被这些书误导……如果真想看的话建议还是选择像《易中天品三国》这种被广泛认可的,应该靠谱一些。

        • 好的,看什么都要用批评的思维,半信半疑,历史总是有万种解读…

      • Vincent Zhang

        对了,我在国内一个网站看到了你的视频,非常佩服你能把中文学得那么好。我自己本科也是学语言的,学的日语,跟你一比真是自愧不如呀~~加油!看好你!

  • Andy Wang

    我很佩服能流利说中文的外国朋友,这直接刺激我要更努力提高英语流利程度和学习西语的热情。哥们,你是我的动力!

    • 最主要的是时间的问题,如果你每天学习半个小时外语,进步会非常快..

      • Vincent Zhang

        这样直接能评论吗…?测试一下……

  • Miranda liu

    兴趣的力量是无穷尽的,我也很喜欢学习不同国家的文化,虽然从初中就开始学英语,但一直只是为了考试,两年前为了工作认真练习英语听说读写,兴趣自此而生,每天坚持1-2小时练习,现在不但工作上面的英文沟通没有问题,而且于今年四月一个人出国旅行,用英语交流,结识了不同国家的朋友,成就感倍增,兴趣也越来越大。我对口音的要求不是特别严,只要沟通无障碍即可,每天在不断积累词汇,慢慢的口音也会像您一样,越来越接近Native speaker.

  • Bryant

    hi Chris Parker:
    我很佩服你可以说流利的中文, 因为中文被认为是世界上最难的语言。 我很想用中文和你语音对话, 大家一起学习中文,互相进步

  • Zong Hao Ran

    hi chris!你很厉害 我正在学习英语 希望有一天能像你说汉语一样流利。

  • Jorge Pablo Arribas Miguélez

    Hi Chris! I’m learning chinese since October and your blog is really useful and interesting. In the OSL here we have to learn simplified characters, but I’m learning traditional chinese characters because it will be easier to learn afterwards the simplified ones. However I’m usign several App and I have a question regarding the order of traces: Is the order in traditional and simplified characters the same? I would like to know this because in some books the order differs from the order in other books. Thank you very much and I encourage you to continue with this amazing website 😉

    • Hi Jorge, glad you like the blog! Yes, the basic principles for the order of the strokes in traditional and simplified Chinese are the same. Some of the characters are exactly the same in both types of Chinese, so they would also be written in exactly the same way. A very small number of characters can be written in a couple of different ways, (eg the last two strokes of 我) but most of them can only be written in one way.

    • There are some small differences, even for the exact same characters. This is due to a wide variety in writing habits and different educational bodies making the rules on each side of the Taiwan Strait. Three radicals that come off the top of my mind are 戈, 必 and 忄. In the long run, I don’t think it matters. As Chris mentioned, the basic principles are all the same.

      If you write using stroke orders that are common for any native speakers, you should be fine regardless of whether they’re in Taiwan, HK, China or overseas communities.

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  • Ady Butnaru

    My review on this Course.

    Hello,

    I decided to learn Chinese at the beginning of last year. My wife is Chinese and I thought it s important to learn the language to be able to talk to her family. I have been traveling to China for several times. Somehow the year has gone and because of my “lack of time” I realised that I did not learn anything. Once at a party I noticed that some friends already started to learn Mandarin. I felt I need to catch up. Since last December I reserve few hours per week to learn Chinese. I tried many programs like Rosetta stone, Pimsleur, YouTube channels and so on. Pimsleur is the classical audio course, Rosetta is a fun way to learn, not to difficult but with no explanations. Both a bit pricy and with not so much grammar/any explanations.

    Once on YouTube, I saw Chris talking fluent Mandarin. I was impressed on my wife s remark ( She s Chinese) that His Mandarin is more standard than some native Chinese. I watched all his videos and I subscribed to his newsletter. I got many tips and many free lessons. Finally I bought the course because I wanted to explore more.

    Using this course I first understood the Tones which is not an easy task but here you have plenty exercises for it. I also learned the basic principles of drawing characters.

    Here s what I like about the course:

    Survive in Chinese is in my opinion a course for the active learner, for someone who needs answers, for someone who is curious “why” and “how” .

    Along the videos/mp3 lessons you will have a kind of feeling like a Live classroom, having the teacher in front of you but then you can control the time and set the place.

    the premium version is quite similar to what you get in the free newsletter, with the difference that the premium is the full course, here you have much more quantity and you can take it gradually from the first unit to the last one. You have as well more options like mp3/pdf support for all course, which is super handy when you are on the way. More features which I like about this course:

    -You can download all the lessons in to your phone/pc/mac

    -The entire course is in 3 formats: video, mp3, pdf.

    I recommend to watch the videos when you have time, and listen the mp3 when you are on the way.

    – You get many explanations which you don t find on many other software.

    – It s few times cheaper than other programs and easier to understand (in my case)
    – you can always ask questions via the blog or E-mail and you will get a quick answer/advice from Chris.

    -you can make quick your first sentences in chinese

    – it s a must have for any beginner.

    I wouldn’t say it s the only way to learn, but definitely it fills all the gaps from the other programs I have subscribed.
    There is no software that will teach you the language using just that tools provided like there is no injection that will make you smart over night. it takes a lot of work as well, and even combining many methods/websites/courses. In any case it s good to have a structured guideline to follow and I think this course can do that very well.

    • Hi Ady, thanks so much for your comments and feedback, and for sharing them here with everybody!

  • Daniø Bergmann

    Am i able to do the HSK test after the full chinese course?

    • Hi Danio, thanks for the question. My full course is not specifically designed to train people for the HSK tests, but it should get you through at least HSK 1 and 2, and it also includes a lot of extra vocabulary that will be very useful. The aim is to get you to a functional level where you can use Chinese to communicate for everyday situations in China.

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