Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

  • Why you should look around

    Since 2003, Chinese-forums.com has been helping people learn Chinese faster and get to China sooner. Our members can recommend beginner textbooks, help you out with obscure classical vocabulary, and tell you where to get the best street food in Xi'an. And we're friendly about it too. 

    Have a look at what's going on, or search for something specific. We hope you'll join us. 
Phil Crimmins

It Only Took 3 Years! The Mandarin Blueprint Method is Ready

Recommended Posts

Phil Crimmins

Hey everyone.

 

I’m Phil Crimmins, and I’ve been in Chengdu, China collaborating with Luke Neale and two Sichuan University professors since January 2016 on a project we call Mandarin Blueprint (www.mandarinblueprint.com). It’s been an enormous project, which is why we’re only now announcing it on places like Chinese-Forums. Our online curriculum is now ready, and it’s an improvement in many different educational approaches to Chinese.

 

The first online course we made is called Pronunciation Mastery. We made this first because it’s what any beginner ought to learn first if they want to have long-term success and avoid engraining poor pronunciation habits that become difficult to 根除 later. In short, Luke’s pronunciation is outstanding (mine isn’t bad either, but it’s because I got so much great advice from Luke), so he teaches it to you using language you can understand. It’s a free course because it’s more of a preamble to our far more comprehensive course The Mandarin Blueprint Method (pat. pending).

 

What is The Mandarin Blueprint Method?

 

The course follows a linear progression designed to grow your knowledge of the language bottom-up while straddling the border between what you've acquired and the unknown. As of March 2019, the course is consists of five phases:

 

Phase 1 - Components & Characters (Levels 1-6)

 

You don’t require prior knowledge of Chinese to wrap your head around characters components like , , , etc., so you start by assigning these simple components a visual object representation. For example, looks a lot like a stick, so imagining Gandalf’s staff or your granddad’s cane will give your brain context for the component. After you learn essential components, you quickly move into learning characters. We wrote an 8-part series of articles about this section of the course and the theory behind it called What is The Hanzi Movie Method?. 

 

Summary: In Phase 1 you learn components and “unlock” full characters that consist of said components.

 

Phase 2 - Vocabulary & Lived Experiences (Levels 7-12) 

 

At the start of phase two, you’ve learned how to read, pronounce and write (with proper stroke order) 46 characters. You continue this method, but start to combine your acquired characters to make high-frequency words. This phase of the course focuses on the importance of images & personal lived experiences in mastering new vocabulary. There’s also a focus on the simplicity of how Chinese characters relate to each other to make 2-character words (by far the majority of words in the language). Our series of articles on Chinese vocabulary will give you a deep understanding of how all of that works. 

 

Summary: In Phase 2 you learn characters and “unlock” vocabulary that consists of said characters. 

 

Phase 3 - Building the Language Module with Sentences (Levels 13-20)

 

At the start of phase three, your character count is at 105 and word count around 80, so you have enough in your toolbox to start building grammatically correct sentences. Note: By this point, the sentences do not require the aid of Pinyin to read. It’s very satisfying, and because you understand the meaning of the characters and words that make up the sentences, the process of grammar acquisition begins. Remember, grammar rules do not promote grammar acquisition (at least not primarily). Grammar is subconsciously acquired when you get mass exposure to comprehensible input, aka messages you can understand. The majority of Chinese courses fail in this regard because students are frustrated by not knowing the characters in example sentences. TMBM solves this entirely. 

 

Summary: In Phase 3 you learn vocabulary and “unlock” sentences that consist of said vocabulary.  

 

Phase 4 - Context Expansion with Opinions & Conversations (Levels 21-30)

 

After exposing yourself to about 1000 sentences in Phase 3, you are ready to expand to the level of the paragraph or dialogue. Just like a word’s definition can change based on the other words around it within a sentence, so can the meaning of a sentence change when placed in the context of a paragraph. Furthermore, the native audio recordings that go along with each sentence and paragraphs give you the tools to graduate to a higher level of pronunciation proficiency through shadowing.

 

Summary: In Phase 4 you learn sentences and “unlock” paragraphs that consist of said sentences.   

 

Phase 5 - Stories & Emotional Learning (Levels 31-36)

 

Paragraphs are great, but you don’t want to stop there. In Phase 5, the paragraphs you unlock are sections of longer stories. The stories are graded re-writes of classics from childhood, along with Chinese children’s stories. The classic fairy tales are designed to remind you that if you already know the story (e.g., Little Red Riding Hood) you can focus less on the meaning and more on the language expresses that meaning. The Chinese stories are slightly more challenging, but they give an insight into what an admirable culture surrounds the language you are learning. 

 

Summary: In Phase 5 you learn paragraphs and “unlock” stories that consist of said paragraphs.

 

The Present

 

At the end of Phase 5, you’ll know 600 characters (500 of which are the most common in the language), 1000 words, and been exposed to approximately 4000 sentences, hundreds of paragraphs, and eight full-length stories. Every character, word, and sentence has a corresponding Spaced-Repetition Flashcard. To help improve higher-level pronunciation, native audio files are downloadable next to each paragraph lesson (female voice at 80% speed, female voice at native speed, male voice at 80% speed, and male voice at native speed). Apart from the official course curriculum, there are review lessons, progress checks and hours of bonus videos about theory and study motivation.

 

Most importantly, our community interaction is a blast because it centers around our podcast. We answer comments & questions posted on the course or sent to our email via the podcast, and then we collate the answers to these questions in the form of timestamped YouTube links. If you have any questions about the course, we’d be happy to either address them on our podcast or send you the timestamped link of where we discussed it in the past. Just shoot us an email to support (at) mandarinblueprint.com.

 

The Future

 

The Mandarin Blueprint Method was able to gain patent-pending status because we have built the wireframes to turn it into an APP. Currently, the course runs on a comprehensive video course platform called Kajabi, but it sadly has no functionality for incorporating an SRS flashcard system. We’re stuck with Anki for now (such a love/hate relationship). 

 

Regarding the future APP, because of the complexity of the system, developer estimates revealed to us that it’s not yet in our budget to make. However, because of the success of so many people in this system, we’re hoping to build up enough subscribers to fund it ourselves. 

 

As far as content is concerned, we’re in the process of expanding our material. There are too many long-term projects to list, but short to mid-term we’ll extend the character count to around 1400, words to about 5000 with ever-expanding long-form written content. We’re also thrilled that professor 游黎 yóulí from Sichuan University will be shooting several videos with a focus on more advanced character learning. When I went to Sichuan Uni, 游老师 was an absolute legend of a teacher, and to have him on the team is fantastic news, you’ll all love him.

 

沟通才是一切

 

Living in China for as long as we have (and in the best city, Chengdu!) has helped us see the real character of China. This place is bursting with untapped wisdom, humanism, friendship, and opportunity. Don’t let politics and propaganda be the only lens you use to view China; it’s far richer & profound than all that. Instead, step into their shoes by stepping into their language. We’ve never regretted it for a second, and neither will you.

 

For Chinese Forums

 

As I already mentioned, the Pronunciation Mastery course is free. The Mandarin Blueprint Method is a subscription service with a 10-day free trial, with subscription prices ranging from $30 a month (monthly payments) to $15 a month (biannual payments, aka $90 every six months). We also offer Lifetime Access for $499

 

We’re super interested in your feedback, so for Chinese Forums users, we’ll offer 50% the subscription payments or one-time lifetime access payment for the next 30 days. That’s $15 a month for Monthly payments, $7.50 a month for biannual payments (aka $45 up front), or $249 for lifetime access. This price will last in perpetuity so long as you don’t cancel your subscription. We hope that if you like it, you’ll tell folks about it, hence the excellent deal :D. 

 

Here are the coupon links: Monthly Subscription - Biannual Subscription - Lifetime Access

 

Useful Mandarin Blueprint Resources 

 

Free Book: How to Learn Chinese Fast - 10 Crucial Tips for the Independent Learner 

 

Mandarin Blueprint Website

 

MB Podcast

(Podcast Feed to Paste Into Podcast APP: http://www.mandarinblueprint.com/feed/podcast)

 

Pronunciation Mastery Course (Free)

 

The Mandarin Blueprint Method Course Info Page

Coupon Code: MBCHINESEFORUMS (Valid until April 12th, 2019)

Direct Link to Monthly Subscription Chinese Forums Discount

Direct Link to Biannual Subscription Chinese Forums Discount

Direct Link to Lifetime Access Chinese Forums Discount

 

What is The Hanzi Movie Method? 8-Part Series

 

Mandarin Vocabulary Article Series

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

vellocet

So how do you teach the third tone?  As the falling-rising tone, or as the low tone?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
malacitanus

I'm in level 3 from this course and I really like the course design, the problem for me ... :=(  is that I am  a non-native English speaker, and sometimes its difficult to make the scene or need to change something in the Anki desk.

 

There is a big community of non-native speakers learning Chinese, (Plain English and subt in Egnlish are welcome :=) ). I studied Japanese too and we are looking for a community like wanikani …

 

Thanks for the course :=)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Zhade

I had been wanting to learn Chinese for quite awhile and made the decision around New Year's to give it a go. I'm quite skeptical of programs advertised on the Net that make claims to teach you things fast or have some "secret method". So, I passed up the Mandarin Blueprint as I was doing my research. I came back to it after watching one of their YouTube videos and decided to give it a try. It was the right decision. 

 

I completed the Pronunciation Mastery Course after a brief trial of the Mandarin Blueprint Method. I followed the instructions of the course and did the Anki flashcards daily. I enjoy Chinese wuxia movies and when I began I could not understand anything or even where words began and ended. I now can recognize words, their meanings, and have learned a few new words because I typed the pinyin into Pleco from what I heard on screen. Chinese movies are also great for listening practice.

I then began the Mandarin Blueprint Method course. I am currently approximately 80 characters in. With the Mandarin Blueprint Method + Anki everyday I have retained their claimed 90-95% rate. Do I have some trouble with a few characters, sure. But it's not that I don't totally recognize it or know what it means. Generally there is only some of the information that I cant remember. If that occurs, I simply use Anki to keep the card showing each day. The key to success is doing what they tell you to do. It will work, and despite what some say, yes, it can work for everyone. Do some research on Memory Palaces and you will see. 

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
艾墨本

First saw the announcement on reddit and jumped over here to post a link. Glad to see they are already using these forums.

 

I'd love to hear more first-hand experiences like @Zhade.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
anonymoose
56 minutes ago, Phil Crimmins said:

 

I watched these two videos just because links were provided.

 

So, I agree that the 3rd tone is usually taught badly, but I'm not sure that your version is much better. I mean, what's this about the 3rd tone being a short tone? I asked myself, have I been pronouncing this incorrectly all along, and tried saying a few words containing the 3rd tone, such as 火锅. As far as I can tell, the 3rd tone should be the same length as any other tone.

 

As for the second video, it covers what any other course on Chinese covers. Where most fall short, including yours, is that no explanation is given to what happens when more than two 3rd tones are found in a row. For example, how would you say 我很想买两把雨伞?

 

Finally, the guy in the video's pronunciation is OK, but when you're in a country of 1.3+ billion people, couldn't you find a Chinese person to do this? Whilst the explanations in English are useful (for English speakers), many people would be more confident learning the pronunciation from a native speaker.

  • Like 3
  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Phil Crimmins
6 minutes ago, anonymoose said:

So, I agree that the 3rd tone is usually taught badly, but I'm not sure that your version is much better. I mean, what's this about the 3rd tone being a short tone? I asked myself, have I been pronouncing this incorrectly all along, and tried saying a few words containing the 3rd tone, such as 火锅. As far as I can tell, the 3rd tone should be the same length as any other tone.

 

The comparison is mostly between how much shorter the "zombie" third tone is compared to the up-down version. 

 

9 minutes ago, anonymoose said:

As for the second video, it covers what any other course on Chinese covers. Where most fall short, including yours, is that no explanation is given to what happens when more than two 3rd tones are found in a row. For example, how would you say 我很想买两把雨伞?

 

Haha, can't get anything past Chinese Forums people! Love it. We talked about the multiple third tone question later in the course: https://youtu.be/wDp8A7-8NWg?t=123

 

11 minutes ago, anonymoose said:

Finally, the guy in the video's pronunciation is OK, but when you're in a country of 1.3+ billion people, couldn't you find a Chinese person to do this? Whilst the explanations in English are useful (for English speakers), many people would be more confident learning the pronunciation from a native speaker.

 

Agreed, that's why after each Pinyin Final we have a review with a native speaker, the 1000+ flashcards have native audio, and the ePub files all have native audio. Here's a dropbox link to download an example ePub file: https://www.dropbox.com/s/bflq9rc8y0gfexc/AUDIO ePub - Compound Final AI.epub?dl=0

 

Thanks for your critical eye to the course, genuinely appreciate it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roddy

It looks like you might be asking users to come along and post. While we don't necessarily object to that, it's best to make that clear. Recommendations from new members immediately after a product is announced can be seen as less credible. 

 

Good luck with the venture. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Phil Crimmins
1 hour ago, roddy said:

It looks like you might be asking users to come along and post. While we don't necessarily object to that, it's best to make that clear. Recommendations from new members immediately after a product is announced can be seen as less credible. 

 

Hey Roddy, right you are! Our course already had a lot of people in it, and we asked them if they wouldn't mind helping spread the word. That said, it didn't occur to me until now that it may be interpreted as less credible. In the interest of full disclosure, I've attached screenshots of the announcement we sent them from the backend of our course and from the customer-facing side of the course. The people who posted are legitimate, but I see now how it may not appear that way, I'll definitely take note of that for the future.

 

1 hour ago, roddy said:

Good luck with the venture. 

 

Thank you Kindly.

Screen Shot 2019-03-11 at 20.21.59.png

Screen Shot 2019-03-11 at 20.22.31.png

  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
imron
7 hours ago, Phil Crimmins said:

In short, Luke’s pronunciation is outstanding (mine isn’t bad either, but it’s because I got so much great advice from Luke)

Got any examples of at least a few sentences in length for us to judge for ourselves?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mouse

Do you offer people anything in return for posting positive comments on social media? I only ask as most of them are written in similar ways, and some of them, like Zhade above, seem so enthused that they create new accounts on multiple platforms to post the same praiseworthy content.

  • Good question! 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Phil Crimmins
2 minutes ago, mouse said:

Do you offer people anything in return for posting positive comments on social media?

 

No, the screenshots were what I sent to them. 

10 minutes ago, imron said:

Got any examples of at least a few sentences in length for us to judge for ourselves?

 

https://youtu.be/RTRGOwgHyW0?t=186

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Phil Crimmins

Yeah, Luke's an inspiration, very lucky to be working with him. BTW, that video was shot in 望江公园 across the road from Sichuan University. If you ever going to Chengdu, check that place out. 270 different types of bamboo, it's incredible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pamela Baldwin

I think the "Pronunciation Mastery" is one of the better courses out there. It's clear and concise explanation of each video. 

Well done!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mouse

If you say these people are genuine then fair enough. Did you delete the blog post? I'd suggest that you should avoid deleting content such as the blog post and that comment on reddit. Like getting people to spam for you (even if they're genuine), it only hurts you in the long run by making you look dodgy. Trustworthiness is crucial for a subscription website. 

 

Anyway, good luck with this project, it seems like you guys have the right idea about how to learn how to speak Chinese.

 

I think the character side of the operation is weak however. Breaking down a character like 乙 into 一 and 乚 adds unnecessary extra information onto an already extremely simple character. That 乙 isn't made up of those components doesn't help either. Moreover, it doesn't originally depict a swallow, as you claim. It is also not "the main component of 飞", and in fact has nothing to do with 飞 or 飛. Again, the information is both technically incorrect and visually unhelpful, and I fail to see how it would enable anyone to learn either 乙 or 飞 more easily than through simple brute force.

 

As a side note, it shouldn't take me 15 minutes to open a blog post; you need to slim down your website. I'm sure this latter issue is just teething problems though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dtrend

Ahh, credibility, schmedibility!! Oy vey! 哎呀! (Āiyā)  !!!!!  😄


I recently decided to purchase a lifetime subscription to Mandarin Blueprint. Why did I do so? Why should you believe me? As a subscriber I got an email asking to leave a comment about the product.  Luke & Phil did NOT solicit a positive review, simply a comment. I am here to share my experience just in case someone else can benefit from it. I have no affiliation with Luke & Phil except as a customer of their product. If you read on, you will just have take my word for it, but for especially beginners, you might just end up learning something.  My Chinese journey story:  My folks came from China originally but like many overseas Chinese I have lost touch with culture, language of the Motherland. I have had the pleasure of taking classes for 1 year in my local Californian city. It's been a blast!  My instructor's methodology is to take a deep dive into the language. The result is that even though I still struggle to have even the simplest of conversations, given google translate and enough time, I can generate a reasonably correct 把 (ba)  sentence, even a (被)bei sentence.  At this point have covered up to 300 汉字 (characters).  I have the following problems. 1. My pronunciation sucks, big time 2. It's a royal pain to try to remember 300 characters with non-immersive language exposure such as mine. 3. My time is limited.  I have tried several language apps to help with these problems, but having come across Mandarin Blueprint,  I REALLY REALLY like Luke & Phil's methodology. Whenever I am struggling to remember characters for my next quiz, I keep saying to myself, "There's got to be a better way", and I believe I have found the better way with their approach.  I have a scientific background by training and Mandarin Blueprint's science based methodology for associative based memory storage and retrieval is intuitively appealing.  The pronunciation course is one of the best I have come across.  If I were to fault it I would simply request more practice/test exercises for tones say 40 - 60 per shot as done by a different organization.  I am 1/3 of the way through the language course and  will soon start actual Mandarin Blueprint course, but I am optimistic and confident this path offers me a way out of rote memorization hell.  Hope someone out there finds this helpful. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pon00050

Wow! A lot of stuff for me to go through in this thread!

I took a quick look at the website and noticed that it says

"This video curriculum can teach you 80% of Mandarin in 3 months!"

I am curious. Will you guys also provide a separate course that teaches the advanced stuff?

 

  • Good question! 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shelley
3 hours ago, dtrend said:

Ahh, credibility, schmedibility!! Oy vey! 哎呀! (Āiyā)  !!!!!  😄

 

Well that sums it all up for me. if you don't care why should I. 

 

With friends like this....................

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register 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.

Guest
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...