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Phil Crimmins

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

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realmayo
16 hours ago, Phil Crimmins said:

We're genuinely trying to create something that helps people learn Chinese in a faster and more relaxed way, and our love for what we do and the people who have benefited from it can cause skepticism of our motivations to feel quite sharp.

 

People would be less skeptical if you weren't asking for money. Or perhaps once you're recouped costs you'll no longer charge for it?

 

I'm not saying you're not well-meaning, nor that you shouldn't be allowed to promote a business - just that it's naive to think there'll be no skepticism if someone's marketing a new and expensive product on the basis of just persuasive marketing. So many unfounded claims....

 

The only way to get a reasonable idea if this product is any good is (i) use it for a year, or (ii) wait three years and find out what other people think.

 

It's irrelevant how good one guy's pronunciation is. He didn't achieve it by clicking on course videos from a leaky flat in Stoke. Slightly more relevant would be if the people posting recommendations here were to make them by speaking Chinese into a microphone. And come back and do the same in a few months.

 

I guess that all the people who ever learned great Chinese did so by either following traditional methods or by assembling their own methods. Would be fascinating to find examples of people who did it by following a non-traditional course like this one that wasn't of their own devising.

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imron
3 hours ago, 陳德聰 said:

@dtrend I just tried to clean up your post,

I just removed it.  No point in stoking a tit-for-tat flamewar, especially when the other side already apologized.

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Phil Crimmins
9 hours ago, realmayo said:

I'm not saying you're not well-meaning, nor that you shouldn't be allowed to promote a business - just that it's naive to think there'll be no skepticism if someone's marketing a new and expensive product on the basis of just persuasive marketing. So many unfounded claims....

 

We talked about all of this in our recent podcast (will post here soon). We don't have other jobs (I'm a part-time drummer, but it doesn't cover my cost of living). If we didn't charge for the course, we would go bankrupt, and no longer be able to make content. $7.50 a month (the offer I made here) may be expensive for some, but it's just about the minimum we can sell the course while having enough income to keep the lights on. We're not in the black yet. I recognize that for some people $7.50 a month may be expensive, so that's why I also offered the free pronunciation video course, blog posts, podcast, YouTube videos, eBook, webinars and the like. Not sure what you're basing the "unfounded claims" statement on, if you go through our materials you'll find loads of our explanations for how we've backed up our claims. We also do have testimonials from people who followed our methods as opposed to traditional methods We're updating out testimonials page currently, will post in this thread when it's finished, but you can find a bunch of testimonials on our facebook page.

 

Perhaps I should not have posted anything about our paid course and made the post only about the pronunciation course, but we just finished building out this 2000 lesson curriculum that incorporates character components, characters, vocabulary, grammar, native audio practice, supplemental theory material, podcast Q/A's for customer support and 7000 custom Anki cards. I wanted to tell all of you about it, wouldn't you? If I didn't say the price, then people would be 骂'ing me for not revealing the price. Damned if you do, damned if you don't I guess.

 

I said this in an earlier post, but as a re-hash, I completely recognize that it was naive to fail to realize the optics o people from the course leaving positive reviews with no previous Chinese forums account. It was a decision I made in a moment of feeling very excited about sharing this course I've devoted my entire life to but nonetheless was an oversight. Those positive reviews are real because they actually are great supporters (they even made a CF account just to help us), but I 100% get the skepticism in hindsight.  

 

 

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Phil Crimmins
On 3/12/2019 at 1:35 PM, mouse said:

Your method is basically Heisig

 

I wrote a bunch on all the differences between what we do and Heisig, here's an excerpt:

 

Quote

 

REMEMBERING THE SIMPLIFIED HANZI


Some western Chinese scholars have suggested using mnemonic devices to remember Chinese characters, and the most well-known example of such a method comes from the book published by James Heisig & Timothy Richardson titled Remember the Simplified Hanzi. This book offers an order by which to learn Chinese characters meaning and writing by using specific visualization & mnemonic techniques. It does not provide a method for determining the pronunciation of a character. As a result of this factor, the order in which the characters are introduced To on the frequency of an individual character. 

For example, the Chinese character 那 is the 33rd most frequent character in the language (it means “that”), but it is not introduced until after approximately 1400 other characters in Heisig & Richardson’s book. In their estimation, you cannot learn the pronunciation of the character at the same time as you learn the writing and the meaning, so there is no need to worry about how early or late a character is introduced. After all, after a student finishes learning the meaning & writing of Chinese characters, they will have to go back and learn the pronunciations independently, so there is no need to prioritize any one character based on its frequency. It is also worth noting that the visualization techniques used in Remembering the Simplified Hanzi have many inconsistencies and are not universal throughout the book. 

 

THE ORDER OF THE CHARACTER LEARNING SEQUENCE

 

The core weakness of Remembering the Simplified Hanzi mentioned above is the lack of focus on the frequency of characters when creating their sequence for learning characters. Because they believed that pronunciation could not be visualized alongside the meaning & the writing, their order waits far too long to introduce important high-frequency characters. As such, the superiority of The Mandarin Blueprint Method is the re-ordering of the learning sequence to reflect frequency. 

 

THE VISUALIZATION SYSTEM

 

Each character now has materials by which one can visualize the following aspects of a Chinese character:

 

image.thumb.png.5d9cc72a77e10b8bdf3af8829c419c51.png

  • The Pinyin Initial (AKA the pronunciation syllable consonant sound). This is represented by a systemized selection of 55 people that easily links to the Pinyin consonant sound. For example, there is a Pinyin initial “m,” which could be represented by Matt Damon. People representing Pinyin Initials applies consistently across the entire character learning system. Human faces are ideal for mnemonic visualization as a result of our highly evolved facial recognition capability. In The Mandarin Blueprint Method, we call these personified representations of Pinyin initials “Actors.” 
  • The Pinyin Final (AKA the pronunciation syllable vowel sound). This is represented by a systemized selection of 13 places that easily can be linked to the Pinyin vowel sound.  For example, there is a Pinyin final “-ing,” which could be represented by a particular user’s apartment that was located on “Browning Street” (the “-ing” in “Browning St” being the simple link to the Pinyin Final “-ing”).  Locations representing Pinyin Finals is systemized and applied consistently across the entire character learning curriculum. In The Mandarin Blueprint Method, we call these location representations of the Pinyin Finals “Sets.”   
  • The Tone of the Character. Chinese is tonal language, and there are five tones total (although tones 1-4 are orders of magnitude more frequent than 5th tone). The visualized representation of the tone is a room in the above “Pinyin Final” locations (aka “set”). 1st tone is outside the entrance, 2nd tone is in the kitchen or inside the entrance, 3rd tone is in the bedroom or living room, 4th tone is in the bathroom or backyard, and 5th tone is on the roof or in the basement. Tones being represented by rooms in a location can be applied consistently across the entire character system, and we’ve done so. For example, if Matt Damon (“m-“) is standing in the kitchen (2nd tone) of a user’s apartment on Browning Street (Pinyin Final “-ing”), then the pronunciation of the character is “míng” (ming with a 2nd tone).    
  • The Chinese character “Component.” Each character is made up of components. An easy way to conceptualize this for someone who has not studied Chinese before would be the character míng. The character means “bright,” and has a component on the left meaning “sun” and a component on the right meaning “moon.” These components can be visualized as objects, for example, could be imagined as a miniature sun floating in the air and 月 a miniature moon floating in the air. Character components being represented by the visualization of objects can be applied consistently across the entire character learning system, and we’ve done so. In The Mandarin Blueprint Method, we call these visualized object representations of character components “Props.” 
    • Note: Heisig’s system has inconsistencies in this aspect. Sometimes a component will have one visualized object representation in one part of their order, and then later it will change. Heisig also does not provide the reader with any choice in what object will represent the component, but The Mandarin Blueprint Method teaches the user how to pick an object closely linked with their personal experiences.
  • The Chinese character meaning. Each character has its meaning. In the case of the character just mentioned míng, the meaning is “bright.” In order to effectively use visualization to remember the meaning, the personified representation of the Pinyin Initial should interact with the object representations of the character components while being located in the room of the visualized Pinyin final that represents the tone in such a way that expresses the meaning of the character. Said using The Mandarin Blueprint Method terminology, the “Actor” should interact with the “Props” while located in the “room of the set” in such a way that represents the meaning. In The Mandarin Blueprint Method, this visualized interaction that represents the meaning is called a “Script.” 

 

Example “Scene”:

 

Matt Damon (“Actor” representing “m-“) is standing in the kitchen (“Room in Set” representing “2nd tone”) of the apartment on Browning Street (“Set” representing “-ing”). It is dark in the room, but next to Matt is a moon (“Prop” representing “”) floating in the air. Matt hits the moon with his fist cracking it open, and out comes a sun (“Prop” representing “”). It is so bright (“Script” element representing the meaning of the character) that Matt squints (another “Script” visual representation of the meaning) and puts on sunglasses (further “Script” representation of the meaning).

 

Every aspect of The Mandarin Blueprint Method as it pertains to learning characters is consistent and applied throughout the entire system. For example, once a user chooses “Matt Damon” to be their personified representation of the Pinyin initial “m” (aka “Actor”), it will always be Matt Damon for the remainder of the system. The same is true for “Sets,” “Rooms in Sets” & “Props.”

 

There is one more element of The Mandarin Blueprint Method that is emphasized called “Special Effects”. This is the conscious application of 24 different visualization techniques derived from techniques used by World Memory Champions. Each of these techniques is discussed and applied at various points throughout the system. This conscious application and teaching of memory champion techniques as applied to a linear system for Chinese character learning is unique to The Mandarin Blueprint Method.  

 

 

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Greg

Hello, I’m Greg From Mauritius island but currently living in Macau. I have been using the Mandarin Blueprint method for 2 months only and I’m amazed how fast I’m learning. I used to consider myself as terrible for learning new language, but with Mandarin Blueprint I’m learning so fast. The Anki is a great tool too! I’m having fun praticsing my chinese with my fellow chinese colleagues and most of them do not beleive me when I tell them that I’m learning by myself on my Ipad as my pronouciation is quite accurate thanks to your lesson!!

I would recommend this course to anyone willing to learn chinese!! 

Great work guys! 

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mouse
3 hours ago, Phil Crimmins said:

I wrote a bunch on all the differences between what we do and Heisig

 

I said "basically Heisig". I feel like most people would understand that I meant an approach that resembles Heisig, which I think it's fair to say that yours does (that's not a criticism by the way). The main difference seems to be that instead of Heisig's minimalist approach, yours is maximalist. 

 

However you haven’t responded to what I said. I’ve twice mentioned that the original meaning of 乙 was not ‘a swallow’ and that it's got nothing to do with 飞. The main issue isn't that the information is technically wrong, it's that 乙 doesn't look like a swallow (or a swallow's tail) and 飞 doesn't look like it's got 乙 in it, so I don't see how this inaccurate information helps anyone. I accept that this approach is great for characters like 明, but I don't see that it's easier to remember 气 by understanding it as 𠂉 (Loser) plus 一 (Razor Blade) plus 乙 (A Swallow), especially as none of these components have these meanings and the character 气 is not formed in this way.

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Shelley

I have never been a fan of mnemonic learning systems for characters, it just puts another wall of kludge between you and understanding and remembering. By the time I have got to the end of Matt Damon standing in the kitchen ( subset tone rooms)  with the moon and the rest of your unbelievably complicated story,  I would have forgotten why I had started.

 

If you just learn all the component parts of characters you will have the best set of mnemonics and will be able to remember as many characters as you want.  

 

As with all these things it suits some and not others. I think the problem here is the well travelled and experienced folk here on the forums have seen so many "new and improved, fool proof, 100% sure fired winner, best ever"  learning methods that there is bound to be a high level of scrutiny and criticism. 

 

Rather than testimonies, detailed explanations and tit for tat conversations. IMHO you should have just put out your stall and displayed your wares, offered introductory discounts and see where that takes you. People will return of their own accord to report yeah or nay on the quality of your product. You seem to have now ended up on the back foot and are defending your product.

 

Don't take it personally, this will make you defensive. Be confident, be proud and be bold. Many a startup fails but many succeed. 

 

 

 

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Phil Crimmins
14 hours ago, mouse said:

I said "basically Heisig". I feel like most people would understand that I meant an approach that resembles Heisig, which I think it's fair to say that yours does (that's not a criticism by the way). The main difference seems to be that instead of Heisig's minimalist approach, yours is maximalist. 

 

I wouldn't say that's the main difference, but those details are in my post. I was posting that to give context to people reading. Improving upon Heisig was one of our main motivations because we used Heisig to learn characters and thus are very aware that a) It's awesome and b) It's still not good enough, which is why people consistently criticize it.

 

14 hours ago, mouse said:

I’ve twice mentioned that the original meaning of 乙 was not ‘a swallow’

 

 

I've updated the info about 乙. I didn't respond right away because I was trying to figure out why we wrote that. We wrote that material a few years ago, and if I'm sincere I can't remember a) whether it was Luke or myself who wrote that & b) why we confused the original meaning of 乙 with 鳦. Regardless, you found a mistake, so I've updated it, much obliged! That's what's nice about an online course; it's alive! It's been beautiful how much contribution we've received from people, especially regarding mnemonic suggestions for Actors & Props (Pinyin Initials & Character Components). 

 

14 hours ago, mouse said:

and that it's got nothing to do with 飞. The main issue isn't that the information is technically wrong, it's that 乙 doesn't look like a swallow (or a swallow's tail) and 飞 doesn't look like it's got 乙 in it

 

As I mentioned, when we were absolute beginners we learned characters through Heisig. He claims a connection between 乙 & 飞 & so does Pleco. That's not to say those two resources are technically correct, perhaps they are both wrong, but that's why we made the connection. Regarding the appearance, I think 飞 does look like it had 乙 in it with the left side pushed towards the right, but it's really beside the point so long as it works in helping someone memorize the character long enough to see it in context. If you remember what a character means, how to write it, and it's pronunciation, then whether or not the component etymology is accurate is irrelevant because you've achieved your end goal. Also, for that matter, whether or not you use a mnemonic device doesn't matter either so long as you can memorize it swiftly and not forget it before it's time to see it in context. Which leads me to my next response:

 

14 hours ago, mouse said:

I accept that this approach is great for characters like 明, but I don't see that it's easier to remember 气 by understanding it as 𠂉 (Loser) plus 一 (Razor Blade) plus 乙 (A Swallow), especially as none of these components have these meanings and the character 气 is not formed in this way.

 

We do not tell people that they must use a mnemonic for everything, but if they want to, we provide them with the material to do so. We frame it like that in the earlier part of the course before they arrive at 乙. Our philosophy is that most people will not use a mnemonic for simple characters, but hey,  someone out there might want to, and we don't want to let them down. I understand why you didn't see it this way because you saw a set of lessons out of the context of the more extensive course, but we make all of this clear to anyone following the sequence.

 

Here is a video we did that elaborates on our philosophy behind character acquisition for those interested:

 

https://youtu.be/R5bX4IjQJQY?t=501

 

13 hours ago, Shelley said:

I have never been a fan of mnemonic learning systems for characters

 

That's because you haven't done The Mandarin Blueprint Method. :D

 

15 hours ago, Greg said:

Hello, I’m Greg From Mauritius island but currently living in Macau.

 

Yo Greg! Off topic, but do you know the Bertrand Brothers? They're a band that plays a lot in Chengdu, I know Gaston & Jordan (mambo) well, they're absolute virtuosos. Glad to hear you are enjoying the course :).

 

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Shelley
2 minutes ago, Phil Crimmins said:

That's because you haven't done The Mandarin Blueprint Method.

 

Based on your example above for the simple and memorable character 明, I certainly won't be trying it.

 

IMHO honestly its a waste of time. I would rather spend my time learning the component parts of characters as per the Outlier system and be armed with the information to learn, understand and use all the characters I encounter.

I also believe the rote method of writing characters is very good way to develop muscle memory and ingrain it in the memory. 

 

Thanks but no thanks, its not for me.

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Phil Crimmins

Okie Dokie.

 

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Bobby69
Quote

80% of Mandarin in 3 months

 

Really, what does this mean.

80 % as good as a native speaker?

80% of HSK 1 in 3 months?

80% of what?

What is the basis for this 80% claim?

 

Do you have any peer reviewed studies to corroborate this claim? Any published work? This is an outstanding claim.

 

Oustanding claims require outstanding evidence.

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mackie1402

I remember reading somewhere that with 500 characters known you could read about 75-80% of a Chinese text. My guess is that it teaches you 500 or so characters in 3 months, so about 5-6 per day. But yeah I agree it isn't too clear with what it means. 

 

I used to think being able to read 80% of a text would be amazing, but after reading a post about HSK6 only getting you half way to reading a novel, my opinion has changed. If I remember correctly it said HSK 6 would give you about 96%, but that still means 20 new characters every page of a book. I'll see if I can find the link sometime. 

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Lu
12 minutes ago, mackie1402 said:

I remember reading somewhere that with 500 characters known you could read about 75-80% of a Chinese text.

And with 26 letters, you can read 100% of a Portuguese text. But that does not mean you can learn Portuguese in three hours, unfortunately.

 

1) Most Chinese words consist of two (or more) characters. You need to know not only the characters, but also what the combination means. 水 means 'water', 手 means 'hand', now what does 水手 mean? Also, you need grammar to make sense of not just words but sentences.

2) 80% is not much. It means you don't understand every fifth character, including all of the more complicated terms that are often the most important for the meaning of a text. To read comfortably, you need to understand at least 95% of the words (not characters).

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imron
1 hour ago, mackie1402 said:

I'll see if I can find the link sometime. 

Here you go.

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mackie1402
58 minutes ago, Lu said:

And with 26 letters, you can read 100% of a Portuguese text. But that does not mean you can learn Portuguese in three hours, unfortunately

 

Apples and oranges. Characters have meaning, an alphabet doesn't. You could learn 1 character and understand more Chinese than if you learnt the Portuguese alphabet perfectly. 

 

I agree that it should be words rather than characters, but I was just quoting the study (Imron just posted). It explains why they chose characters over words. A good read! 

 

I'm not saying I agree with the wording of the product, but it's a business ploy. How many 'world's best coffee' signs do you see these days. 

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Lu
28 minutes ago, mackie1402 said:

A good read! 

A good read indeed. As is the rest of that website.

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imron
8 hours ago, mackie1402 said:

but I was just quoting the study (Imron just posted)

Just in case it wasn't clear, I was also the one who wrote this (which is how I knew the link).

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murrayjames

Hey @Phil Crimmins

 

Long time no see. Congratulations on your new venture. I wish you much success with it.

 

You drumming much these days?

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mouse
13 hours ago, mackie1402 said:

I'm not saying I agree with the wording of the product, but it's a business ploy. How many 'world's best coffee' signs do you see these days. 

 

I don’t really understand this attitude. Why post in this thread if you think it’s pointless to offer criticism of the product and the claims being made for it? You’ve offered your own feedback, why can’t other people give their opinions?

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