How to Learn Mandarin Exclusively with Online Resources

6/6/2014

Mandarin Chinese has a reputation for being one of the world's more difficult languages to learn. The language has a wide range of characters and tones that need to be memorized in order to properly read, write and speak the language. Learning mandarin can certainly be daunting, but there are a variety of resources that can help Mandarin students accelerate their understanding of the language. The internet in particular offers a staggering number of Mandarin language learning tools. There are entire Mandarin courses available online, along with private tutoring services, web applications, message boards, language exchanges and instructional videos. 

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How to learn Mandarin using internet resources 


The internet offers something for everyone, and whether you need a comprehensive course or just a bit of extra help, there is a resource that can help you get results. Here are a few of the more effective Mandarin learning tools on the internet: 


• Mandarin courses - Many universities, private companies and even non-profit institutions offer Mandarin courses online. Some courses are free, but most comprehensive courses require a registration fee. The good news is that the price tag is often far less than that of a Mandarin class in a traditional classroom setting. Some courses may run for several weeks while others may be substantially longer. Depending on your budget, schedule and overall learning needs, you should be able to find a suitable online course. 


• Mandarin language learning web applications - If you want to learn Mandarin online, but you don't have the time to commit to a full course, you can sign up for a web application that offers Mandarin tutorials. These web applications offer both instruction and assessment, and some of them, such as Duolingo, have a competitive element that may increase your motivation to advance your study of Mandarin. 


• Online tutoring - Online tutors use video chat applications to simulate an in-person tutoring experience. If you are wondering how to learn Mandarin in a one-on-one setting, this may be your best option. In some cases, tutors are native speakers or former Mandarin students themselves. They may work on their own or for a tutoring company. In either case, you will have to pay some amount of money for this level of one-on-one attention. Rates are typically commensurate with tutoring experience, and in general, larger tutoring companies are able to offer the most competitive rates. 


• Message boards and language exchanges - If you want to learn Mandarin Chinese in a dynamic and social atmosphere, message boards and language exchanges provide a great opportunity to do so. Message boards are great for straightforward questions and basic tips. Language exchanges provide you with a chance to speak with native speakers, and in most cases, participation is free. 


• Instructional videos - Video language lessons are extraordinarily helpful, because they have an audio and visual element to them. You can hear how words are supposed to be pronounced, you can benefit from the superimposition of helpful graphics, and you can also see how words are supposed to be written. On websites like YouTube and Vimeo, the videos are free to watch. 

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How to choose the right online resource in order to learn Mandarin Chinese 


There are a number of different factors to consider when trying choosing the right online resource. If you have an unlimited budget and a free schedule, a comprehensive online course may be the most efficient way to learn the language. However, if your budget is restricted in any way, and you don't have that much free time, you may want to turn to one of the other aforementioned online resources. The best way to learn Mandarin may actually combine several different online tools at once. For example, you can watch instructional videos, quiz yourself with a web application, and finally, try to speak with a native speaker in a language exchange. Combining different resources can maximize your learning efforts, and considering that most Internet resources are free, you won't have to pull out your wallet very often. 


Other advantages of online resources 


It's hard to overstate the convenient nature of online resources. Provided you have a home internet connection, you don't need to go anywhere to access the tools mentioned above; you simply need to turn on your computer. If you are learning Mandarin Chinese, you don't want to be hindered by complicated logistics. Having these learning tools at your fingertips is a significant benefit. In addition to the convenience, it's also worth pointing out the number of high quality resources that are available online. Many people are under the impression that learning a language requires conventional textbooks and a traditional classroom setting. The internet shows us that this is an outdated way of thinking. Online resources combine audio and visual elements, offer immediate feedback, and allow you to connect with other learners all over the world. If you are in a conventional classroom, it's the luck of the draw. You never know if you will end up with a charismatic professor or helpful classroom materials. On the internet, if you are not happy with one resource, you can simply move on to the next one. 


If you want to learn Mandarin, there is a good chance that an internet resource can help you. If you have an unlimited budget and significant amounts of free time, a comprehensive online course may help you advance your language learning in a more efficient manner than some of the other resources discussed here. If you are short on cash, and you are already very busy, you can opt for a resource that requires less commitment, such as a web application or a language exchange. In all cases, you will find that the internet offers a wide variety of high quality resources that are accessible whenever you need them. The internet is an open environment, where resources and learning tools are constantly evolving. Take advantage of this dynamic environment and see how far you can take your language learning.

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