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Auberon

Glossika method

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ChTTay

 

Having said, this made me smile...

Quote

That means HSK6 is A, 5 is B etc.,

Calling HSK6 an A is a little unfair  (A is the lowest level :mrgreen:)

 

Ooops!

 

You can see how confused I am I guess :)

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OneEye

Sorry for taking so long to post this.
 
As I said previously, Mike Campbell from Glossika sent me a copy of his pronunciation course to review. If you decide that you'd like to purchase the course, you can do so either on the Glossika website (PDF, Paperback, MP3) or from Amazon (Kindle ebook only, so you have to buy the audio from Glossika).
 
From the beginning of the book:
 
 

The Glossika MANDARIN CHINESE PRONUNCIATION MANUAL is for those who want to:

Start learning Mandarin Chinese

Perfect Mandarin pronunciation (for any level)

Fine-tune Ability in Reproducing Tones Accurately
 

We strongly recommend before starting on the Glossika Mass Sentence (GMS) Method, that beginners develop a strong foundation in pronunciation which will enable you to reach fluency more effectively. What you get here is a full range of pronunciation for Mandarin Chinese in each tone, from which you can also improve your listening comprehension.
 

We recommend using this book daily as a warm-up before your Mandarin training or any other courses. This will improve your training with more efficiency.
 

Interested? Let’s get our tones to start dancing now!

 

I believe the books are intended to be used alongside another course, whether a Glossika course or something else. Some things, such as individual tone contours, aren't explained in great detail that I've found, but that's something that will be found in any textbook and probably isn't necessary here.

 

The book starts out with the consonants, b p m f d t n l (in pinyin) and then zh ch sh r z c s j q x. This is followed by a clear explanation of the difference between Taiwanese Mandarin and the Mainland standard with regard to the "retroflex" series, and how it's a misconception that "they pronounce it z c s," as I've read so many times here and elsewhere. He goes a bit into the palatalization that happened during the Qing dynasty that resulted in the shift from Nanking to Nanjing, among others.

 

After that comes vowels. First pure vowels, then glides (-ia, -ua, -ai, etc.) and nasal endings (-an, ian, etc.). This is all explained clearly in the book, and there are charts and charts of pinyin and IPA. It helps if you know IPA, but it's not completely necessary. You'll be listening to the recordings and mimicking them, after all.

 

Each final is paired up with every initial that it can be paired up with in Mandarin, as well as all 5 tones (including neutral), whether it actually exists in Mandarin or not (for example, I cannot find any character pronounced lüan in any tone). I believe Mike's goal in doing this is to lay the foundation for studying other Chinese languages in addition to Mandarin. He also explains, for instance, how beng, peng, meng, and feng are pronounced differently in Taiwan than in China.

 

Book 2 trains 2-syllable words in all possible tone combinations. Conspicuously missing is the neutral tone here. Taiwanese Mandarin hardly has any neutral tones, so that's fine if that's what you're learning. Maybe an idea for a future product would be a mainland version of the pronunciation manual, but then they'd probably have to do mainland versions of the other courses too, and that would be a very large undertaking. Fortunately, as I've said here before, Taiwanese Mandarin will be easily understood anywhere you go, so this really isn't a big deal unless you insist on using mainland-specific materials.

 

Book 3 is like Book 2 but for 3-syllable words. Every possible permutation is covered, with lots of example words, so it's the longest of the three.

 

Both tone training books go a bit into Middle Chinese tones and how they've developed into the modern Chinese languages. This is a very useful section if you're planning on learning any Cantonese, Hokkien, Shanghainese, or any other Chinese language. Middle Chinese tone information is listed for each 2- and 3-syllable word, and checked tones are marked with their endings (p-, t-, k-).

 

The entire set of books is in both traditional and simplified Chinese. Hanyu pinyin is the transcription used throughout, with IPA also used in the first book.

 

Finally, I'm going to talk about the recordings. They're done by Mike himself. That's really the only complaint I have about this course. However, I understand why he did it. It would be tough to find someone with enough knowledge of Mandarin phonology to do the recordings without having to train them extensively, so it's much more practical for Mike to do them himself. So I understand, and really, his Mandarin is close enough to native that it's not really a problem. I just have an automatic aversion reaction to language materials that use non-native speakers.

 

One other thing which would be a nice addition (maybe in a future version) is some exercises. When I did the FSI pronunciation module, I liked the exercises that required me to transcribe what I heard in pinyin, or distinguish between minimal pairs, or fill in tone marks on a string of toneless pinyin, or read a string of pinyin aloud and then check it against the recording. Doing well on those exercises gave me confidence that I had learned the material well, and that I had trained my ear to hear the sounds of Mandarin and my tongue to produce them. I've since learned a lot more about phonetics and I know that I can trust my ear and my tongue to hear and reproduce sounds faithfully, but most students won't have had such training, so I think exercises like these would be a welcome addition.

 

All that said, with pronunciation, there's no such thing as a one-stop shop. It's something that you'll work on and refine for a long time. The idea is to get closer and closer to native pronunciation until you eventually converge on something that (ideally) a native speaker would recognize as coming from another native. I really believe that putting in some serious work with this course and truly mastering the material will take you a long way toward that goal, and as such, I fully recommend this course to anyone who wants to work on their pronunciation, no matter your current level. I have a friend who has published academic journal articles in Chinese but still has some tone issues to iron out, and I'll be recommending this book to him. The price is right (under $10 total for the book and MP3s), the content is vast and high-quality, and it makes an outstanding supplement to any other course you may be using.

 

Today, Mike also sent me the Daily Life module to review. I've listened to the sample that Pokarface posted earlier in this thread and already learned a few things (there are still some holes in my casual, everyday speech), so I'm going to actually use the course myself. Once I've done a bit of it, I'll post a review here. I may also purchase the business course (Expression level) and go through it in parallel, because I'll be needing that vocabulary soon.

 

Hopefully this is helpful to those trying to make a decision!

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roddy

Great write up, thanks!

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etm001

@OneEye said:

 

 

 

Finally, I'm going to talk about the recordings. They're done by Mike himself. That's really the only complaint I have about this course. However, I understand why he did it.

 

Just to clarify: I could not find any audio samples of the Introductory Level (European A1) material on www.glossika.com. But all the other audio samples that I found were of a native female Taiwanese Mandarin speaker (I'm guessing it's Sheena Chen, who's listed as an author/contributor on all the other courses).

 

Question: what impact, if any, is there to listening and mimicking a native female speaker for a foreign male learner of Mandarin Chinese? I've certainly heard, anecdotally, of people learning a foreign language mostly from female speakers, and when they eventually speak with native male speakers they are told that they "speak/sound like a woman". Given the materials in this course and/or how they are presented, perhaps it's a non issue, but i thought it worth asking.

 

 

 

The entire set of books is in both traditional and simplified Chinese.

 

I'm confused: is there more than one Introductory Level Pronunciation Manual? On the website I only see one book listed, along with the accompanying MP3. 

 

 

 

I fully recommend this course to anyone who wants to work on their pronunciation, no matter your current level. 

 

I'm glad that you explicitly stated this - before I got to this part of your review, I was debating in my mind whether this course would be worth it, since my beginning Chinese days are long behind me. That said, until I can consistently fool a native speaker, then my pronunciation will always need improvement.

 

 

 

Today, Mike also sent me the Daily Life module to review.

 

On thing that's not clear on the Glossika website is how topics are arranged within each course module, both in regards to the printed material and audio material. It's also not clear how easy it is to review a specific topic within a module. For example, here's the description of the contents of the Fluency: Daily Life module:

 

conversational fillers, expressing feelings / disgust / anger, seeing the doctor, discussing health issues, getting things done, making orders

 

Let's say I want to focus on "seeing the doctor" because I have an upcoming doctor appointment. How easy is it to locate that specific content within the printed and audio material? In regards to the GSM/GSR audio material:

 

  • Is audio content for GMS/GSR packaged as one long MP3 (one for GSR, one for GSM), or are multiple files provide?
    • If one giant file, is a time track provide so that I know where to skip within the file to focus on a particular topic? (Only relevant to GMS).
  • If multiple files, then for GMS, is there 1 MP3 file for each topic? For GSR, is there 1 MP3 for each day of "SRS" review?

I listened to the Daily Life material posted by Pokarface, my only quibble is that it would have been nice if a small gap had been inserted in the audio after the sentence spoken by the native speaker, so that I could record myself speaking the sentence. If you recording yourself on a computer, then it's not hard to use a program like Audacity to insert your recorded voice immediately after the native speaker. (That said, I'm not sure whether overlaying your own recorded audio with the audio of the native speaker is actually part of the Glossika method (as opposed to just simply recording your own voice for later listening/review).

 

OneEye, thanks again for the review!

 

P.S.

 

In post #48 Lao Che noted:

 

 

 

Weird bit of graphic design going on. Intro is green, fluency is blue, and expression is red; but the color of the books often don't correspond to those colors. I supopse we're supposed to be looking at the color of the strip to the left and the dot next to basic, fluency, or expression, but that isn't immediately obvious. At first glance the Basic books appear to be expression level, and the expression level appears to be fluency. Even more confusing, the expression level books have "fluency" in their sidebar, not "expression" whereas the intro books do have "intro" in their sidebar and fluency books have "fluency" in their sidebars. Ideally, I could look at the cover of the text and know which level it is without reading anything at all.

 

I completely agree. It also threw me off when I saw "Basic" in big letters on the modules within the "Fluency" level. I also have a lot of issues with how information is presented on the website. The website does a poor job of putting the together the "big picture" of Mike's method in a way that is accessible/understandable to someone who wasn't already familiar with it. 

 

 

 

It's also really difficult to tell what the difference between GMS and GSR are. Is the GMS just the book in audio form? Does the book have a program to follow that one wouldn't get if they just purchased GMS? Does the book and GMS work in conjunction (or do is it up to me to find a way to use these resources together?). Can I use GSR in conjunction with GMS? The biggest question: if I buy GSR is it a waste of money to buy GMS? Answers to some of these questions can be found if you scroll down far enough or mess around with a few of the links, but it takes far more effort than it should.

 

I think this proves the point. The visual design of the website is not too bad (clean, minimal), but it doesn't do a good job of explaining what Glossika is, how it all works together, how one would use each module on a daily basis, etc. (I'm guessing Mike will flesh all that out in time).

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ChTTay

Etm001 brings up almost everything that I wanted to say.

I completely agree the website has issues but would go as far as saying it's not a good site. If it wasn't for this forum topic I wouldn't really know what what glossika is or how the method is used. Looking at the glossika site just confuses me more, both the content/descriptions etc and the layout.

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etm001

It turns out that the answers to some of my questions were scattered across earlier posts in this thread. 

 

I asked:

 

 

 

Is audio content for GMS/GSR packaged as one long MP3 (one for GSR, one for GSM), or are multiple files provide?

 

in post #22 @tysond noted:

 

The MP3 files are broken into 50 sentences per file, English once, Chinese twice.  

 

In regards to Glossika's "SRS", in post #16 tysond asked:

 

What does it mean to release something "under SRS."  How would that be different?

 

In post #17 @touchstone57 shed some light on this:

 

Here is what they told me below - initially there where just a few huge mp3 with sentences in, but they have broken it up...

 

Finally, I would like to let you know that I’m testing a new Spaced Repetition algorithm in a new program that reworks all the sound files. Even the total output will be quite immense, I believe it will satisfy most students in several ways: instead of all the files being straight through readings from 1-50, I have rearranged the 1000 sentences in a 100-day practice regime, each day introducing 10 new sentences and then reviewing the previous 4 days (40 sentences), and each file is packaged with all the mixed up sentences in Spaced Repetition. This is great news and I’m excited about the launch.

 

Also @Yang Chuangzhang noted in post #32:

 

The 'spaced repetition' product that Glossika sells seems to be spaced repetition in the literal sense of the word, with repetitions being spread out over time, not the spaced repetition of Anki that uses an algorithm to schedule cards.

 

This is true. I still think there's value in how the audio has been divided up across the GRS MP3 files (at a minimum, the level of effort for someone to do this themselves is really high), but for true SRS you'd need to use Anki or a similar program.

 

 

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etm001

I first learned about the Glossika method quite a while ago, and since then (and especially as a result of reading this thread), I've wrestled with two questions:

  • What is the value of the Glossika materials themselves over materials that I source myself (and which I study using the Glossika method)?
  • Is there empirical evidence that supports the efficacy of the Glossika method (and other methods that are pretty similar but go by different names)?

 

Using the Glossika Method without Buying Glossika Materials?

 

As @OneEye noted in post #8:

 

 

At any rate, try it out. I'm not saying you should buy Glossika's books, as they're quite a bit below your level, but try something like 史上最強的英文會話8000 (which has the sentences all recorded in Chinese and English). Tons of great practical vocabulary in that book, and if you use this kind of method it will stick, I can guarantee.

 

To clarify, OneEye is referencing an English phrase book written for native Mandarin speakers. The book is divided into dozens of topical categories. Each example sentence is provided in English and Mandarin, and often key vocabulary words used in the examples are called out and defined. There is also an accompanying CD with English/Mandarin audio. Before publishing his own learning materials, Mike had videos on YouTube (which unfortunately were removed) that described how to use a phrase book like this to improve your fluency in your target language, i.e., the Glossika Method.

 

So I ask again, what's the value of buying the Glossika materials over buying a phrase book and performing the Glossika Method yourself? Here's my take on what theoretical benefits of the Glossika materials could be over a phrase book:

  • Glossika provides "SRS" audio files.
  • The Glossika topics, example sentences, and vocabulary are more targeted and useful.
  • The Glossika audio recordings are more natural sounding, less stilted, and/or are what an actual native speaker would say.
  • Glossika does not provide English translations, which might be considered a crutch. At a minimum, the learner is forced to look up words/phrases that he does not know, and the act of doing so might serve to further reinforce the vocabulary.

Since Mike originally advocated using phrase books as part of the Glossika method, I'd love to hear from him how his materials are an improvement over them, and whether any of the theoretical benefits I listed above are actually incorporated into his materials. Also:

  • Certainly anyone who has bought the Glossika materials is free to answer these questions (even more so if they've previously tried the Glossika method using a phrase book).
  • I do think there is some benefit to the "SRS" audio files. (I never would have chopped up thousands of audio files and loaded them into Anki, so this is the next best thing).

Empirical Evidence Supporting the Glossika Method?

 

This question actually applies to all Glossika-like methods (earlier in this thread Core6 was mentioned). I don't have a background in linguistics or language acquisition, so I don't where to look to find evidence that this is an effective learning method. That said:

  • People whose judgement and recommendations that I highly respect have commented positively on the overall Glossika method (irrespective of whether you use a phrase book or the Glossika materials themselves).
  • I've previously used the Glossika method with a phrase book and it did seem quite helpful (if only judging by the fact that certain phrases or vocabulary I learned during those sessions are still stuck in my head).

I'm not discounting personal/anecdotal experience, but I'd love to find some empirical studies that examine this method of learning. Also, it's worth noting that concerns and/or criticisms about the Glossika method were posted earlier in this thread, starting with post #25 by @hedward, with follow ups through post #41 from @OneEye and @Yadang.

 

 

 

 

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OneEye

  • Glossika provides "SRS" audio files.
  • The Glossika topics, example sentences, and vocabulary are more targeted and useful.
  • The Glossika audio recordings are more natural sounding, less stilted, and/or are what an actual native speaker would say.
  • Glossika does not provide English translations, which might be considered a crutch. At a minimum, the learner is forced to look up words/phrases that he does not know, and the act of doing so might serve to further reinforce the vocabulary.

These are right on. The book I recommended above has some fairly odd-sounding Chinese because a lot of the "translations" are meant to explain the English rather than to be examples of good Chinese. Glossika's books present natural-sounding language on both sides of the equation, which I think is really nice. It does come with the possible downside that there isn't an in-depth explanation of the grammar or words in each sentence, but I don't think that's really a big deal, because 1) what you really need is not analytical knowledge about the language but the practical ability to use it, and 2) as the book says, it's intended to be used as a supplement to whatever other studying you might be doing. Grammar explanations can come from elsewhere, and vocab lookups are par for the course in learning a language anyway. What the Glossika courses provide are focused training in the practical ability to use the language. In the same way, characters are not taught in the course, though they are included. But if you want to learn them, you'll have to use another resource.

 

The GSR audio files are great because they provide built-in review for previously-learned sentences. I'll be using the GSR files in my experiment with the course, so I'll report back on that, but I already know from trying to organize my own study and subsequent review, that having the reviews already built-in will make things much simpler. It can be a real headache to do it yourself, whereas the GSR files take the guesswork out of it for you.

 

There is a video on Youtube (can't remember what it's called) where a guy talks about the Glossika method from an SLA standpoint. If I remember correctly, the guy was a PhD student, and he considered Mike's method to be "a good application of the lexical approach." I didn't really look into the lexical approach to find out what he was talking about, but that may be a starting point if you want to find out about this stuff from a more academic standpoint.

 

I have sort of "reverse-engineered" my own GMS-style (though not exactly the same) Japanese course using the Core 2000 sentences and what I know of Mike's methods. I'd like to do a "GSR" version, but it would take too much effort on my part to make the files. I'm experimenting with my "GMS course" right now, and it seems like it will work really well. However, it's just a stopgap. I'll be buying Glossika's Japanese course when it comes out because I'm sure it will be better. Just having flipped through the Daily Life course he sent me and listened to a few of the files, I know that this is what I'll want for Japanese. That said, I'm still going to wait on the review until I've actually done about 30 days' worth of the course, at Mike's request.

 

To answer previous questions, the audio files are broken up into chunks. The GMS files have 50 sentences per file (three different files, each with all 50 sentences arranged in different combinations of English, Chinese, and space for you to speak, depending on which section of the day's work you're doing). For GSR, there is an audio file for each day (100 days total), covering 10 new sentences per day plus reviews. I don't think the book is grouped by topic outright, though it may be the case that there is some sort of topical organization to the progression of the sentences. I haven't looked at it in that much depth yet.

 

I have to agree about the Glossika website itself. It's nice visually, but it's a bit confusing and information can be hard to find. It's a fairly new site though, so I'm sure it will improve.

 

Something else I'd recommend to Mike is perhaps a section on the website clearly explaining what makes his method different and worthwhile. All on one page. The method is so radically different from most of what's out there that most people just don't understand it. I think a clear, concise explanation (maybe even in infographic form or something like that) of the benefits of the method would go a long way to answering people's questions and making them more confident in buying a product that is likely a paradigm shift from the way they're used to thinking about language learning. The vast majority of people still think that language is the ink on the page rather than sound patterns produced by the tongue and processed through the ear, and it is brutally difficult to get a highly literate person (which would be 100% of the target audience) to think of language as an oral/aural phenomenon rather than a set of written symbols which is, in reality, incidental to the language it represents. Recommending Walter Ong's Orality and Literacy doesn't usually get met with much enthusiasm, though it's a thrilling, eye-opening read if you're into language at all. But maybe something that distills everything into just the bare minimum of what a student needs to know to understand the value of the Glossika method would go a long way to easing some of the doubts that people tend to have.

 

 

Edit: I just found this interview with Mike, which may prove interesting. In the comments, you can see that other people have also complained about the website, and Mike said they're working on making improvements.

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renzhe

I was actually going to compile a sound database of common phrases and sentences and parrot that, and now I see that a guy whose work I like has actually gone and done that. So I'll probably check it out once I have some time.

Personally, it's unfortunate for me that it is based on the Taiwanese accent, though. I have nothing against Taiwanese Mandarin, and I'd use Taiwanese materials for anything except accent drilling. I'd like to get it as close to the Mainland standard as possible.

The same with Brazilian Portuguese, although I completely understand why he went with that too.

EDIT: After giving the free youtube sample a listen, this is colloquial Taiwanese, both in grammar (e.g. 有+verb for past tense) and in pronunciation ("falling" third tones and prosody). It is consistent with the pronunciation of many Taiwanese, but too far from the standard for me. Her retroflexes are really good, though!

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realmayo

This may be a bit unfair, but his website is absurd: it doesn't do the job it's supposed to do of explaining what the products are. However, it must make complete sense to him.

Which leads me to worry that his product works great for him, but won't for me. However, the theory looks sound, so I have just bought one of them.

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OneEye

Well, among online language enthusiasts, maybe you're right that it isn't too far off. I'm thinking more about MTC students I've met over the past year or so, i.e., the average language learner. I've talked with a lot of them about language learning, and when I start recommending this sort of method, it seems to just go over their heads. 1) It isn't a traditional textbook, and 2) they're too used to conflating language learning with literacy learning (which seems to be the dominant mode in most classrooms).

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JustinJJ

I've been using the Glossika materials for 2 or 3 weeks now for drilling. I was using the daily life and business 1 Mass Sentence Method files and making my own schedule. However, after I discovered the SRS files, I just stuck to those as it makes the reviews easier to manage. Honestly speaking, given the materials he provides at low cost, I would only suggest people make their own materials if there is a very specific topic (or accent) they wanted to learn not covered in the glossika materials, because just using his materials saves so much time. 

 

I would prefer standard mandarin pronunciation, but I think the taiwanese pronunciation is usually OK, the only bit I find really annoying is the pronunciation of 和 hich sounds really weird, like 'han'. When I hear it, I'll just say 'he', but I'd prefer to hear 'he' in the recording. Some other words are different from mainland words like 地铁站 becomes 捷运站, etc.

 

The 'Daily Life' module doesn't have an ebook (can only order paperback), which is a bit frustrating as there are some sentences I want to check but don't have a reference for.

 

Overall I think the materials are great warm-ups, even if all the sentences aren't particularly advanced. e.g. musicians will practice scales/drills as a warm-up before practising their repertoire. In a similar way, these materials are a good warm-up to more advanced listening, reading, conversation, etc.

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imron
The 'Daily Life' module doesn't have an ebook (can only order paperback)

It certainly does have an ebook.  It's a testament to how bad the old site was that it's easy to think there isn't one (I used to think that too until I stumbled upon it accidentally).  It suffers from a number of issues as mentioned above.

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fabiothebest

Thanks for the review Imron. In the past I also used Pimsleur and it has been effective for what it does, so I'm glad to see what Glossika is offering now. I still have to finish Pimsleur and Chinesepod (I plan to do it) because I'm not focusing only on that but I study Chinese using multiple resources at the same time in order to arrange a complete learning program even if I'm self studying. I heard renzhe complained about the Taiwanese accent and also you confirmed that it isn't 100% Mandarin Chinese. Well, I suggest Glossika's author if he's reading the forum, to create a package with 100% Mandarin pronunciation and keep adding new content. So is it Mike who speaks in the audio or a native speaker? About the pdf, yes I agree that it should contain a table of contents and it should be text rather than scanned images. Since the content is ready, it's just a matter of restyling the pdf in order to present content in a better way. To Mike: as soon as I finished studying the materials I'm currently using, I'd like to purchase Glossika materials. I didn't try it yet, but I think it can be a good resource, so thanks for this and try to fix some minor issues, then it will be perfect.

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OneEye

I think you've misunderstood. The course is 100% Mandarin Chinese, it's just that it's Taiwanese Mandarin and not the mainland standard. It's good, clear Mandarin and representative of how educated native speakers in Taipei speak. In my opinion, the audio is the star of the show because it's authentic, natural sounding audio rather than the forced, unnatural "standard" that most books contain. It's Mandarin as it's actually spoken in Taipei rather than as a government entity thinks it ought to be spoken.

 

The audio in the pronunciation course is all done by Mike. His Mandarin is very near native, so it's not that big of a deal. The Mandarin audio in the actual language courses, however, is recorded by a native speaker.

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imron
and also you confirmed that it isn't 100% Mandarin Chinese

It is 100% Mandarin Chinese, but it's the Mandarin as spoken in Taiwan rather than the Mandarin spoken on mainland China.  It's basically the same difference between British English vs American English, and I don't think it's anything that would be of a concern to any learner.  One thing the material aims to do is drum in that there are multiple ways to say the same thing, which will prepare you well anyway for dealing with changes in the way people speak.

 

 

 

So is it Mike who speaks in the audio or a native speaker?

The Daily Life and the Business Modules are all spoken by a female native speaker.  I presume the other audio files are the same.  I believe OneEye was talking about the pronunciation course only when he said it was recorded by Mike.

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fabiothebest

Thanks for the clarification. At the moment I'm interested in learning Mandarin Chinese as spoken by native speakers of Mainland China. I understand that being exposed to different accents may be an advantage in the long run, rather than a disadvantage. I wondered if listening and repeating sentences with a Taiwanese pronunciation could have any "negative" impact in my "pure" Chinese learning. I mean, if I mimick the sound in the recording, will I end up sounding  like a Taiwanese rather than a native speaker from Mainland China when I say those sentences? Well, I guess I hardly could sound 100% as a native anyway, being a foreigner, but I'll try my best to improve along the years. I'm not a native English speaker, I know the main differences in the pronunciation of American English and British English, I probably mix the two when I speak sometimes but I'd still be understood. (I'd be also considered as a foreigner probably though if someone just hears my voice). Hmm I don't know, maybe Taiwanese pronunciation may be even closer to Mandarin than some dialects spoken in Mainland China. I'd like to be exposed to different accents and eventually be able to understand also someone speaking in dialect, though I'd like to be able to speak as "standard" as possible in order to be understood easily by anyone (simply that, not that I think Mandarin must be better than a dialect doing some kind of discrimination). OneEye's location is set to Taipei so he problably studied in Taiwan (he also uses traditional characters I guess, even if this hasn't anything to do with pronunciation). I believe it, when you say the sound is "standard Chinese spoken in Taiwan", no problem, I just hope it doesn't differ too much from the "standard mandarin Chinese". Maybe I worried a bit too much, anyway I think I can fully understand the different accents/pronunciation only if I travel to those places. (I've been only to 1 Chinese city so far, where a dialect was spoken, anyway I didn't experience problems). So I asked here in order to get a clarification from someone who has more experience than me. I'm still thinking that Glossika can be a good product and I'll try it too when I'll purchase it.

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OneEye

I think you're overthinking it. Taiwanese Mandarin is very widely understood. An educated native Mandarin speaker from Taipei (and other cities in Taiwan, maybe to a slightly lesser extent) will be easily understood pretty much anywhere in the Mandarin-speaking world. The difference between educated speech in Taipei and in Shanghai is negligible. Beijing speech is slightly further removed, but not by much. If you're living in Italy, I don't think there's much of a practical reason to insist on one accent over another. If you ever move to China or Taiwan, your accent will change to adapt to wherever you live anyway, regardless of what you studied before.

 

You're right, my Chinese was almost entirely learned in Taipei and I have a Taiwanese accent. But I've spoken with native and non-native Mandarin speakers from all over the Chinese-speaking world (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and overseas) and never have any problems communicating. If the other person's Mandarin is very nonstandard, though, it may be difficult. :)

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Yang Chuanzhang
Thanks to everyone who has written a review! I'm very excited about this method and I really hope Glossika eventually releases a mainland Chinese recording of his sentence packs. The current version is a bit too 嗲 for my taste... Maybe I'm picky, but I find this kind of accent a bit unpleasant to listen to. The intonation reminds me of that American accent where people raise their voice at the end of every sentence.

 

Because I couldn't wait to try this out, I made a couple of dozen sentences myself (or rather my Chinese girlfriend made them for me, hehe). As JustinJJ said, it's nice to have sentences about topics that I find interesting, but it also takes us about 30 minutes to make 20-25 sentences. Ideally, I would like to supplement sentences made by Glossika or someone else with my own sentences when I find something I would like to broaden my vocabulary about.

 

Anyway, what I'm most curious about is how specifically everyone is using the audio files. Do you SRS the sentences or the words in them that you don't know before you go through the audio? I personally find that I get most out of looping sentences in audio form if I know all the words in them, but maybe this is different for different people. 

 

When you do listen to the audio, which of the three variations that imron described in his post do you use and how do you use them? Just listening to the English first, Chinese second version seems very passive to me. I also don't want to waste 50% of the time listening to English translations. I remember OneEye talked on his blog about shadowing the sentences from the 8000 sentences book he linked in this thread. That's what I've been doing and it works quite well (just to be clear: I listen to the complete sentence first and then repeat it, trying to match pronunciation and intonation, I don't say them at the same time I'm listening. Maybe this is not called "shadowing", not too clear on the terminology here). I usually take all the sentences on one topic and merge them into one audio file leaving gaps in between the sentences of length equal to the length of the preceding sentence so that I have just enough time to shadow. I guess this is similar to the Chinese only version of Glossika's sentences, or are those without or with fixed, short gaps?

 

I find that especially when I try to do sentence reps while doing something else, I have to focus quite hard not to switch to "autopilot" and just parrot the sentences I hear without really consciously thinking about what they mean. This problem gets even worse when I don't shadow and just listen passively: I just keep zoning out. Maybe this still helps and I pick up stuff unconsciously, similar to how some people (usually AJATT-fans) swear by passive listening and leaving on the TV in the background, but it doesn't feel like that to me. How does everyone else deal with this problem?

 

I've attached a set of sentences on less common animals, just in case my explanation wasn't clear enough...

animals2.mp3

animals2.txt

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