Why did I make a ‘British Westerner Speaking Fluent Mandarin Chinese’ video?

Why did I post a video of myself speaking 'fluent Chinese'? Some people will say I wanted to show off, some people will say I wanted people to pay attention, some people will be impressed, and as always there will be naysayers and critics. The video is far from perfect, there are going to be a few mistakes in tones, some expressions which don't sound authentic and so on. If I waited until I thought I could make a 'perfect' video, then it would probably never get done. I have been asked Continue Reading

Making Your Foreign Language Study Effective: Active Not Passive Learning

I studied Spanish at school, by which I mean I took classes in Spanish, and I got good marks in all the exams as well, but I never really thought I could speak Spanish well, even after a year or so of taking classes. Amazingly, it took me a few years to figure out why my grades were so high but my ability to use the language was so limited. My experience learning Chinese has been completely different, and not only because I put more time into it. From my experience, I can now explain why I was Continue Reading

How to Look Up Chinese Characters or Words Using a Smartphone App

This is a great little tip that I want to share with everybody. Smartphones are becoming great tools for organisation, learning and study. There are many different applications available for learning languages and many for Chinese. Pleco, however, is one of the best tools available for Chinese learners. It is a dictionary, a text reader and a flashcard tool. Pleco is available for iPhone / iPod Touch and iPad, as well as Android (so it works on my Samsung phone too). I have used this bit of Continue Reading

How To Read Chinese Texts Easily Using Software

Reading Chinese texts is a significant obstacle for any Chinese learner. Beginners will often have worked through a textbook that has introduced some characters, and they may be able to recognise or read a few. They may also have looked through flashcards to get to grips with basic characters. However, learners of any language often find that reading 'real texts' requires so much vocabulary than they have learned at the beginner level, and reading can often be slow or require a lot of looking up Continue Reading

How to Type in Chinese Using Sogou Pinyin

Learning to type in Chinese is an important part of any Chinese learner's to do list. Although of course it takes a long time to get round Chinese grammar and expression, there are a couple of reasons why it is good to learn to type in Chinese early on: 1) By using the Pinyin to enter characters or words, you will become more familiar with recognising characters according to their Pinyin pronunciation, and associating pronunciations with characters 2) If you can type characters or words, Continue Reading

Review of Beginner Mandarin Chinese Courses

I have mentioned that different courses are suitable for different people, and suit different study methods. I am developing my own course, Survive in Chinese, an intensive course for the independent language learner to gain a rapid foundation in Mandarin, however I often like to work through several beginners courses in detail, in order to build a solid base, revise key elements, and gain confidence in using the language. Here are some Mandarin courses that I like: FSI Chinese: A Modular Continue Reading

How to Learn to Speak Fluent Mandarin Chinese – Step 2

Laying a Solid Foundation in Chinese After you are familiar with Chinese pronunciation and how Mandarin is represented in the Roman alphabet using the Pinyin system, you are ready to start the core of your study. There are a number of beginner’s courses that you can use, and each has its strong and weak points. Different courses will be more suited to different people, and I will talk about some in another post. You might like to try a few out and see which one you like. However, at the Continue Reading

How to Learn to Speak Fluent Mandarin Chinese – Step 1

How to Learn Chinese - Part 1 Getting familiar with the Sounds of the Language and Pronunciation Before you start to learn Chinese intensively, you need to be familiar with the sounds of the language. Mandarin has a number of sounds that are very different from English and other commonly spoken languages. It also has 4 tones (four different ways of pronouncing any given syllable). You need to be familiar with the phonemes of the language and the tones (producing them and recognising Continue Reading


Welcome to fluentinmandarin.com – The Website for Learners of Mandarin Chinese This website has two purposes: 1) It is a blog, providing tips and helpful materials for learning Chinese, as well as the stories and experiences of those learning the language. 2) I have developed my own materials for learning Mandarin Chinese that I will present on this website. You can find more about my first project – Survive in Chinese – by clicking the link above. My aim is to make this the most Continue Reading