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CaitlinG

How good are people after 15 weeks of Mandarin?

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CaitlinG

Hi all.

 

I am considering enrolling in a first semester, Chi101, course (online) in the fall semester at a local community college. Generally speaking, what should I expect after ~15 week in terms of proficiency?

 

Thank you.

 

~Caitlin

 

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Lu

It depends to a large extent on:

- How often your classes are: one hour once a week, four hours a day every day, something in between?

- How diligent you are;

- How good you are at learning a language (or how well you are assisted in learning one). If you're familiar with learning vocabulary and practicing pronunciation and such, you'll know how to study. If this is the very first time you learn a new language, you need to learn the language but also need to learn how.

 

If you have a few classes a week and mostly keep up with your homework, by the end of the course you should be able to have a simple conversation about who you are and where you are from and such, and a few more such simple dialogues, such as buying a bus ticket and ordering a meal. But more importantly, you'll have learned to appreciate how a language can be totally different from your own and you'll have caught a glimpse of the really big world of Chinese that is out there.

 

Good luck, and come back here to ask questions if you have them!

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杰.克

Lu is completely right in terms of it depends on many factors! (mostly the amount of hours and quality of your study) . But assuming the complete average person, in around 4 months studying 4 hours a week.

 

- You will be able to give a brief introduction - your name, your family, your country, your favourite hobby

- You will be able to express time, money , and numbers

- You may have started to learn the odd fun sentence - that is appropriate to you (ie i learnt how to order a subway sandwich quite quickly as i went to subway a lot)

 

Manage your expectations though. Chinese is exceptionally difficult for a native english speaker. You are not going to progress as much as you want, hope, or expect. Its great to have goals, but understand from the start its a lifelong journey.

 

The fun thing is though, your rate of progression is quickest at the start, as the vocab you are learning is really applicable all the time. The further you get in, the longer it takes to make that next step up! You will definitely have learnt enough to impress a non-learner!

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Jan Finster
On 6/13/2020 at 4:03 AM, CaitlinG said:

I am considering enrolling in a first semester, Chi101, course (online) in the fall semester at a local community college. Generally speaking, what should I expect after ~15 week in terms of proficiency?

 

I am surprised they do not outline their learning objectives. They should! Ask them!

 

I agree with others: keep your expectations low.

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889

You say it's online. Is it interactive -- with back-and-forth between students and teacher -- or lectures only?

 

Certainly in a live classroom setting, the number of students and their diligence make a big difference. In particular, the pace depends not on you but on your fellow students.

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Dawei3

To add to Lu's comment, another aspect is "How good is the teacher & their teaching techniques?  Do they focus on conversation & active thinking or rote memorization?"  If it's rote memorization, progress will be less.

 

My son took many years of honors level German in high school & college - got straight As - yet couldn't have much of a conversation in German (honors level were the most advanced at his high school & university).  His teachers used the old rote memorization approach to language which focused on word memorization, grammar rules & reading extremely difficult literature  (I showed 1 passage to a German friend.  An entire paragraph was 1 sentence.   She said "that's terrible!  You'd have to draw a diagram to understand the meaning of the sentence." And somehow a college prof thought this was a good way to teach???).   

 

In contrast, the Chinese language approach I used focused on conversation.  After just 6 months of low level-study, I was able to have limited conversations in China, i.e., the kinds of things Lu & 杰.克  mentioned. Although my ability was limited, it was extremely motivating because people could understand me & I could understand them.  In contrast, literature focus of my son's classes extinguished his interest in learning German and he stopped taking it (all of the remaining courses were literature focused as well).  

 

If you are musically inclined, you'll likely progress more quickly in the beginning because you'll be better able to hear tones (it took me ~3 months to really start hearing them because I have no musical ability).

 

Hence, if you get a good teacher who uses modern teaching techniques, you'll make more progress.  A strong focus on conversation is important because you will find that Chinese respond in a wonderfully warm way to those learning their language.  This was a top motivator for me early on and it continues to this day (15 years into learning).  

 

Virtually all of my Chinese friends in the US want to improve their English, even those with very advanced skills.  After you've made some progress with the language, if you can find a Chinese language partner, you'll improve even more.  This will be tough because their English will be much better than your Chinese, but if you find the right person, they can help you much.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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