Can you learn a language just by living in the country?

Many people believe that they can learn a language or 'pick it up' simply by spending time in a place where it is spoken and being around the language all the time.  Is it possible to learn a language through ‘osmosis’ or through total immersion? The answer is both yes and no. Let’s look at the no part first. If you travel to a country with no basis in the language and make no effort to study the language actively, and just count on ‘picking it up’, then it is unlikely to be very 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

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