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lacy

where is the best place to learn chinese ?

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lacy

Im trying to learn mandarin and cant find a good institute in New york. Can anybody point me in right direction

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grawrt

Where in New York do you mean?

 

If you're an absolute beginner you could just take classes at a community college. Or, if you're in the city (not sure about outside) you could find free chinese language classes at some public libraries. A few years ago I did that and it was a lot of fun and a great way to practice.

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hedwards

It depends what you mean by "best."

 

If you're wanting to actually use the language, then classes are likely not a good idea. Or at least you have to be very selective about it, it's easy to wind up in a class where they're fixated on being correct and writing from day one; resulting in never actually getting a chance to use the language before building up massive complexes.

 

I'd recommend getting a basic program and then getting QQ International, I'm sure you'll have no problem finding natives looking to help you out in exchange for a bit of help. I personally like Language Audio Books Power Mandarin Accelerated: Chinese Edition, you can get a copy from Audible for $20 or a bit less if you don't mind subscribing for the month.

 

I wouldn't personally waste time and energy on the written language until after getting a grasp on the spoken language. It's just too easy to find yourself spending a year or more studying and still not be able to do anything.

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Chris Two Times

If New York City is meant, then the following could be pertinent to your question, lacy:

 

Just a tip of an iceberg:

 

http://www.chinainstitute.org

 

http://www.newschool.edu/continuing-education/chinese/

 

Not specific to language learning but this place seems very attractive:

 

http://asiasociety.org

 

When I lived in New York City, I took Spanish classes at NYU's school of continuing education. I think going the class route could be good to get you started and I think grawrt's suggestions are sound.

 

New York is great because there will be various institutes around the city to learn languages. I did this for learning Spanish and Japanese and there should be several places offering Chinese lessons as well. Do a Google search and then pound the pavement and stop by these places, check them out and ask a few questions and pick up some brochures and then decide which school has the best program for you.

 

I also got onto the Internet bulletin boards of Columbia University's Chinese Student Association and very easily found a partner to do a language exchange. We met a couple times a week in Bryant Park and we very strictly balanced our time between 50% Mandarin and 50% English. It worked really well and I am glad that I had met her. That was ten years ago but we are still very much in touch.

 

Start/continue hanging out in the various NYC Chinatowns as well. There now seems to be at least 12(!) such areas in the NYC area! "The New York metropolitan area contains the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia..." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_Americans_in_New_York_City

 

Good luck with it all! LOTS of museums, bookstores, neighborhoods, newspapers, etc. and Chinese learning resources in the NYC. I am thinking that it could be a very good place to study Chinese outside of China and Taiwan.

 

Warm regards,

Chris Two Times

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Chris Two Times

I wouldn't personally waste time and energy on the written language until after getting a grasp on the spoken language.

 

I respectfully disagree. I would say spend time and energy on the written language and on the spoken language right from the get-go. Why not try to slowly hone all four skills of your Chinese language abilities equally--speaking, listening, reading, writing?

 

Focusing on the writing can keep it interesting and study of character writing can add a vibrant element to your Chinese language study.

 

Warm regards,

Chris Two Times

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grawrt

I wouldn't recommend going to "chinatown" in Manhattan. Maybe several years ago there were a lot of chinese people but not really anymore. I'd suggest hanging around Flushing, Queens. It's cheaper with lots to do anyway. But then again I'm a bit bias since I'm from queens and particularly close to flushing ^__^

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Chris Two Times

Yeah, Manhattan Chinatown seems to be over-touristed nowadays, although I would say it's good for a one-time walk just to see it and take a few pictures. As for hanging out regularly, I would agree with you and direct people to Flushing and the Brooklyn Chinatown near Sunset Park.

 

Let's go Mets!

 

I wonder about the fringes of the Manhattan Chinatown though--this Little Fujian that has popped up. I guess I would recommend to people to check that out if they had a direct interest in/connection to Fujian and the Min dialect (language?)...or just to see it.

 

I am also wondering about the supposed new(er) Chinatown that has been developing in Spanish Harlem. I may have to check that out the next time I am in the Five Boroughs.

 

Warm regards,

Chris Two Times

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hedwards

@Chris because people frequently quit before they learn enough like that. In order to learn all of them at once you need 6 flashcards per word. And it's tough for most people to get that all to stick at once. You wind up with vocabulary being stored in various places and no good way of reviewing it all.

 

For most languages it isn't a problem, but for Chinese you wind up with a lot of pain for little gain.

 

Honing is great if you're at a high level or you want an excuse to hide from native speakers, but for people who want efficient progress, it won't happen without prioritizing either written or spoken language.

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