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YoYo Chinese Upper Intermediate course review


suMMit
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I started the YoYo Chinese Upper Intermediate course about two months ago, so I thought I’d write a bit of a review with my opinion so far.

 

Previously, I had done all of the YoYo courses (Beginner, Elementary Conversational, Characters 1, Intermediate Conversational, Characters 2) as supplementary material to my one on one classes. After finishing the Intermediate course a year ago, I found the jump too big to the Upper Int course.  I decided to wait while til I caught up, tried it again two months ago and it was perfect. I would say its overall roughly Hsk 4 level, but I don’t think they follow an Hsk vocab list, and there is probably some Hsk5/6 vocab .

 

The course is quite different from Yoyo’s other courses as this time the host, Yangyang goes back to China and films conversations with friends and family. There are 231 video lessons in the course. Each lesson consists of a video averaging around 8 to 12 minutes, an audio review that you’re meant to shadow, and a quiz. The audio reviews are sometimes up to 20 minutes long. Each lesson also includes notes, and flashcards with characters(sim/trd), pinyin and English. I have never used the flashcard system, so I can't comment on it. You can also send a chat message asking any questions you have and read answers to other users questions. The staff member who answers questions, Greg, always provides solid and detailed answers.

 

In each video lesson you listen/watch a seemingly unrehearsed dialog of around 30 seconds. These dialogs are full speed, colloquial, various accents and sometimes in noisy environments. Yangyang then breaks it down line by line going over the grammar and vocabulary, characters and pinyin. Some of the explanation is done in English, some in Chinese or both. Explanation is interspersed with her speaking Chinese at a natural pace narrating the video and talking about cultural elements. I’d say is about 70 percent Chinese, 30 percent English, though I think I read that as the the course goes on there is less and less English.

 

I don’t have many criticisms of the course. I suppose less English would be good, but since my teacher never uses English in class, I don’t mind a little here to explain grammar. Another minor criticism is she’ll sometimes review vocab that I think is way too easy for this level. Maybe my biggest complaint is that I don’t really like her voice much for shadowing in the audio review section. It sounds a little too teacher-ish to me and I’d rather a male voice, but that’s just a personal preference obviously. I’m also not sure I’d really call it “upper” intermediate.

 

Overall though, I love the course. So far, I have learned a good amount useful vocabulary and strengthened grammar in very memorable contexts. At the rate of around 4 lessons a week, it will probably take me a year start to finish. I think it’s recommendable for anyone studying at around Hsk 3+ / Hsk 4 level. 

 

 

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Appreciate your review.  I took that course last year or the year before and found it excruciatingly slow-moving.  It forces you to learn at a much slower pace than I would like.  Maybe it's more thorough and effective for all that, but because of the pace, I would not take another course from YoYo.

 

It's comparable to going through a novel paragraph by paragraph or even sentence by sentence, in a sense.

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I've also found yoyo Chinese helpful but my biggest beef with it is the excessive use of English. It feels to me more like 70% English and 30% Chinese. I wonder why they couldn't just make it all Chinese with English subtitles... I bought the course but I haven't been able to get more than a third into the course before giving up because of all the English.

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On 11/12/2021 at 1:53 AM, Moshen said:

Appreciate your review.  I took that course last year or the year before and found it excruciatingly slow-moving.  It forces you to learn at a much slower pace than I would like.  Maybe it's more thorough and effective for all that, but because of the pace, I would not take another course from YoYo.

 

It's comparable to going through a novel paragraph by paragraph or even sentence by sentence, in a sense.

Yeah, I get that. If it was the only thing I was doing, then it would be too slow, but it's just one of several resources I use. I also don't mind going through each sentence, because most of them contain something new. I regularly watch 家有儿女 and other native content and let so much go by because I just let it play rather than stop and dissect every sentence. So for me I enjoy looking at each sentence in detail here.

 

On 11/12/2021 at 4:42 AM, alantin said:

I bought the course but I haven't been able to get more than a third into the course before giving up because of all the English.

After the point of learning the basics of pronunciation, I have always insisted my teachers speak 100% target language. Most of the other resources I use don't involve any English either, so I let it go with this one. I agree that If they didn't use any English it would be even better, but its not a dealbreaker for me. I do think she likes the sound of her own voice in English lol. I understand they are coming out with an advanced course with different hosts and zero English. I bought the whole bundle when I started beginner, so anything they add is free, I'm looking forward to that.

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I've still not done any lessons, or courses. I've watched her youtubes though and they are good. 

 

Especially brand new learners, even her free youtube new to pinyin collection is the best I've seen. (she explains and demonstrates tones and the importance right from the start)

 

I quite like (at my low level) the ChinesePod free youtube lesson format, where there is a native Chinese speaker and a native English speaker. 

 

Someone said earlier, all in Chinese, and subtitle option... I agree. Then rather than not understand a sentence, you can rewind, turn on the subs, read the hanzi, then switch it off. 

 

Probably hard to do though. Subtitles are a nightmare in my experience. haha

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On 11/12/2021 at 2:22 AM, TaxiAsh said:

even her free youtube new to pinyin collection is the best I've seen

actually, I tried to recommend this to someone, and she has removed the original set, I think you have to pay now. That's a mistake, she should have kept them and put an advert at the end of each advertising her courses. I didn't know she had course when I saw them, because I wasn't looking for one. 

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On 11/12/2021 at 1:47 AM, suMMit said:

I do think she likes the sound of her own voice in English lol. I understand they are coming out with an advanced course with different hosts and zero English. I bought the whole bundle when I started beginner, so anything they add is free, I'm looking forward to that.

Yeah, I heard about that! Will definitely check it out once they add it.

 

On 11/12/2021 at 1:47 AM, suMMit said:

I do think she likes the sound of her own voice in English lol.

lol, agree with this! 😂
 

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On 11/11/2021 at 10:55 AM, suMMit said:

Previously, I had done all of the YoYo courses (Beginner, Elementary Conversational, Characters 1, Intermediate Conversational, Characters 2) as supplementary material to my one on one classes.

 

Just wanted to say that I sincerely admire the way you have tried many tools and many approaches in learning the language. Personally, I think that is beneficial for the overall process. Being eclectic and vigorous usually wins the day. I'll bet your Chinese has improved immensely in the last couple of years. Congratulations! 

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I know I already posted about Yoyo. When I just looked at my 'listening tests list' on youtube, this one is one of the earliest entries.  https://youtu.be/bwsIrPhLQjI

 

It's too basic for you guys, but for a new learner is great. No pinyin, no hanzi, just Yoyo doing a translation. 

 

Do any of you guys have things you remember from first listening tests, and do you watch them again over time to compare?

 

This one, is one of my top 10 for, 1st time, understood 0%, and increases each time! 😀 It's good dialogue as well for new learners (and an enjoyable watch tbh!). Asking about people is great for meeting new people. 

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I like this one better, about Chinese music, specifically pipa 琵琶。(Though I wish her microphone were of better quality.) 

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky_vDZfUXoI 

 

Quote

 

It's too basic for you guys, but for a new learner is great. No pinyin, no hanzi, just Yoyo doing a translation. 

 

Both have way too much English. But the pipa is such a stunningly beautiful instrument. 

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On 11/17/2021 at 2:11 AM, abcdefg said:

I like this one better, about Chinese music, specifically pipa 琵琶。(Though I wish her microphone were of better quality.) 

Is there a link to it?

 

Yes, way too much english, but I liked when I first started. Now I like to see if I can understand everything. 

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Sorry. Forgot. Link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky_vDZfUXoI

(Went back and fixed it in the earlier post.) 

 

Ma Jie 马捷 is an amazing musician. Been playing pipa since the age of 5. Apparently she has now emigrated to the U.S. Lots of her music is on YouTube if you want an easy way to hear more. Here's one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT_YT-RSCgc

 

She recently has performed and recorded lots of "East-West Fusion" music, as well as traditional Chinese classics. 

 

437526949_majiepipasmall.PNG.112ce632cf2bbc155335836e7d82b12f.PNG

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On 11/17/2021 at 4:44 PM, abcdefg said:

Sorry. Forgot. Link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky_vDZfUXoI

(Went back and fixed it in the earlier post.) 

Thanks!

Wow, she is really easy to listen to. Speaks so clearly - probably Yoyo asked her to speak a little slower for learners.

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On 11/15/2021 at 10:59 PM, abcdefg said:

Just wanted to say that I sincerely admire the way you have tried many tools and many approaches in learning the language.

Haha thanks. Sometimes I feel like I have my poker in too many fires. On the other hand I never get bored because I have lots of varied things to do to keep learning/practicing. Most of the things I start I slowly get through and finish. If only there was more time in the day though.

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On 11/21/2021 at 4:13 PM, suMMit said:

Haha thanks. Sometimes I feel like I have my poker in too many fires. On the other hand I never get bored because I have lots of varied things to do to keep learning/practicing. Most of the things I start I slowly get through and finish. If only there was more time in the day though.

Hi suMMit, did you just pay for this one course individually?

I was just watching shuoshuos latest youtube video which is sponsored by yoyos course. I looked it up, and it says life membership. It's on offer at 199USD, which seems too cheap for the whole set of courses?!

 

I'm tempted if it is. I've just done the basic free beginner one, which is obviously too easy for me, but I'm looking at the set up etc. 

Like you said about poker in too many fires, I have kind of run into this too. I've kind of fallen off the horse, and could do with something to get me back on one!

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On 11/26/2021 at 1:36 AM, TaxiAsh said:

Hi suMMit, did you just pay for this one course individually?

I initially bought the beginner Course 3 years ago, a few months later they had a sale and I upgraded to the whole bundle. In total I paid around $300. It was worth it as I was a beginner at the time and have since done everything. The character course was also a painless way to get started on HanZi.  But if you're already at the level of their Upper Int, and wouldn't use any of the other courses, $199 seems a bit pricey just to do that one course. Though, they do have an upcoming advanced course, but not sure when that comes out. Check that that lifetime membership includes any material they add in the future(mine does).

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On 11/25/2021 at 11:47 PM, suMMit said:

But if you're already at the level of their Upper Int, and wouldn't use any of the other courses, $199 seems a bit pricey just to do that one course.

Yeah, wish I'd found her beginner course right at the beginning. Probably would have saved me 3 months of trying to teach myself at the start. 

 

Still, it might still be worth it. The beginner are too low, but I would still do all of them, refresher and also always learn new things. And then there are the levels in between.

 

You're clearly way higher level than me, and if there is a lot of natural dialogue (as advertised), I think it could be good. 

 

 

 

 

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On 11/26/2021 at 9:25 AM, Flickserve said:

Yoyochinese has a black Friday deal.

 

I'm at intermediate level.

 

I can't see a price anywhere. 

 

Just wondering whether it is useful to buy.

https://yoyochinese.com/pricing

 

$300 on offer at $200 

 

I wish I could have a nosy at levels 2-6.  I don't know which where my level in relation to her course. 

 

I've passed hsk3 last year, and had a go at Mandarinbeans HSK4 practice tests, and not quite there yet. Looking again at @suMMit's review. I wonder if the earlier levels might be not worth it. 

 

I suppose it's just a risk, it's not a massive amount of money, and I like her lessons I've seen before. 

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On 11/26/2021 at 11:57 PM, TaxiAsh said:

I wish I could have a nosy at levels 2-6.  I don't know which where my level in relation to her course. 

I had a look back at the Intermediate Conversational. I would say its HSK3,3+. The format is an interviewing some people on the street in China(Shenyang I believe), asking them the questions about a particular topic. The interviewer and interviewee all speak naturally and quickly. I chose a random one in the middle, the topic of this particular unit is "post graduation plans / future plans". To give you an idea, here's the grammar and vocab covered in this part:

 

就行
___be good enough
追求
pursuit/to pursue

绿色
green
心情
mood
心情(很)好
in a good mood
心情不好
in a bad mood

高追求
having high ambitions/ having lofty goals
差不多
about / around
差不多五分钟
about five minutes
差不多的工作
decent / close enough to a good job
或者
or
我没什么太高的追求。
I don’t have any super high pursuits./ I don’t have very lofty goals.
毕业后找一个差不多的工作就行。
Finding a decent job after I graduate will be good enough.
没什么了不起的。
There’s nothing remarkable about it.
我打算去北京或者上海找工作。
I plan to go to Beijing or Shanghai to find a job.
你打算去北京还是上海找工作?
Are you going to go to Beijing or Shanghai to look for a job?

 

There's definitely a lot of content in the Intermediate Conversational. It probably depends a lot on if it bothers you that Yang Yang(the host) uses a lot of English. Personally it doesn't matter to me, I have lots of other Chinese only resources. In some ways I find this kind of video format more  engaging than textbooks.

 

**I don't know if it is ok to post screen shots, please delete if its not allowed.

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