Jump to content
Learn Chinese in China

What level of Chinese can you achieve outside of China?


Recommended Posts

Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

It's quite interesting how all the really successful role models say that with maximum effort, you can reach some kind of fluency in roughly 3 years. Mark Rowswell, Julien Gaudfroy. David Moser wrote the "humility" bit, but was already quite good after 5 years, IIRC. There must be something to it.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, like with learning anything, there's always a distribution of achievement, which inevitably means there will be a minority at the top of the distribution whose achievements surpass those of the majority.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to clarify some earlier posting.

To understand the "dialects" with studying outside of China is near impossible unless you focus on it. These "dialects" are in reality a different language. Shanghainese has less in common with mandarin than Spanish, French, and English have in common with each other. This means as a fluent english person, how good is your spanish or french? you might know a word or two, but would you call yourself fluent in those languages? Thus, even if you are a native at mandarin, you will still be a novice in shanghainese.

I am fluent speaking in mandarin and shanghainese yet am completely clueless in cantonese a so called "dialect" but in reality according to linguists can be considered another language and might even be it's own family of languages.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shanghainese has less in common with mandarin than Spanish, French, and English have in common with each other.

Probably similar to the distance between Spanish and French. Similar grammar. A lot of different vocabs for words that are more ancient in origin like pronouns. Similar or same words for more modern vocabulary. Different pronunciations.

There are other dialects, like Cantonese, that are more different from Mandarin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

One option which I didn't see mentioned here, is to host a Chinese exchange student in your home. I may be wrong about this though, because one of the hopes of the Chinese student could be to speak nothing but English. However, perhaps the criteria of "I want to speak only Chinese in my home" could be made known in the application or selection process. I don't know.

But for the normal, average Joe who has a job, a wife, one or more kids, and the usual responsibilities and resources, maybe this would be a reasonable way of introducing more Chinese into your daily life. Has anyone tried this?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 years later...
  • 3 months later...
On 5/23/2022 at 3:09 PM, Jan Finster said:

this guy is raising the bar (if he was really only self-studying for 1.5 years): 


On 5/23/2022 at 4:55 PM, amytheorangutan said:

I personally find it incredibly hard to believe. 

Guy's at it again: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbqlSXcRVRc


He's certainly a good advertisement for plunging headfirst into the spoken language (without so much as a textbook) and never looking back. He admits he can only write 50 characters at best.


I do find it plausible that young age (sounds like he came of age on zoom - partly in Chinese), comprehensible input, plus a willing Chinese girlfriend and language partners could have made him fluent without ever stepping into China.


It's the overall message that TV, podcasts and a bit of reading can make you fluent in a year that's grating. He's right that fluency is down to studying smart, not (just) hard, but the methods he mentions seem a bit too anodyne to be the whole story.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...