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Money spent on learning Chinese


Jan Finster
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I wondered how much money I have spent so far on learning Chinese.

 

Herer are my estimates since starting learning Chinese in 2019:

  • Subscriptions to TCB (2021-2024), Lingq (lifetime), Chinese-Zero-to-Hero (lifetime) & Chinesepod (2019)
  • Approximately 20 lessons with a teacher
  • ChineseTextAnalyzer
  • translations from Italki teacher

 

~1500€ (~500€/year)

 

Overall, still not cheap, but also not the most expensive hobby. I am quite happy with it. Looking back, I could have done without Chinesepod and probably Zero-to-Hero (have not looked into it yet).

 

 

 

How much money you spend on average learning Chinese?

Do you have a budget?

Do you care?

 

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At my peak I probably spent $2000 when you factor in subscriptions, patreons, Preply lessons ($20*52), ancillary costs related to the local Chinese meetup (usually at a restaurant so another $15-20*52 if you went every week). 

 

Since then, though, I've cancelled almost all the subscriptions, barely go to the meetup (which is more socializing in English than 'practice'), and have only just started dipping my toes into the waters of new Preply lessons again (but will cut this off quick if it's not valuable). 

 

I don't think there's much need to spend money on Chinese, once you get going with it. But I will say, I'd prefer to just pay $10-15  to "just talk" in 100% Chinese to a "tutor" on Preply over "bartering time". I'm OK with spending the money, because the free time is far more precious these days.  

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I got $500 as a gift from a relative last year and spent most of it on Chinese stuff:  a 2-year subscription to TCB, 1-year to DuChinese (not a good spend as I've already exhausted all the content there I was interested in) and the rest on paperback graded readers.  This year I signed up for two Classical Chinese classes from Outlier ($200 each) and I spent a bit less than $100 on Chinese-related books.  Do I care about the expense?  I can handle that easily.  If I had to pare back, I'd do just TCB and graded readers.

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This is a great question.

 

It’s interesting that early-on-ish in your Chinese learning journey that we have one thing in common. It’s Chinese Text Analyser. I’m very early on in my Chinese learning project too.

 

Did you forget to list textbooks? I expected to spend more money on textbooks than Chinese Text Analyser, until I lucked into getting Chinese Made Easier for free. Chinese Made Easier is the best textbook for independent learners, as far as I’m concerned. It has the best stuff on tones and pronunciation, which is the most important launching point, as far as I’m concerned to accelerated listening and speaking. It’s also great with grammar. That’s as far as I have gotten with it so far.

 

With the kind of money you’re spending per year, would something like Pimsleur or Fluenz fit in there somewhere? I’m able to use Fluenz for free, because of my husband. It’s been helpful to me. I really like it. I may spring for Pimsleur someday, but I don’t know at this point.

 

I do care about how much I spend on any new-ish hobby. I try to do it for as cheap as possible. It’s amazing what’s on the internet for free. But, I can already tell that this is one hobby that I’ll let go wherever it needs to go, while still looking for ways to economize. :)

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I've used maybe about $800 USD worth of resources so far:

 

--Pleco add-ons (dictionaries, SRS flashcards, stroke order animations, etc.)

--40 graded readers

--25 novels 

--Textbooks for the 2 Chinese courses I was able to take at my University for free (because I work there)

--A very short-lived TCB subscription (it was great, but I stopped for whatever reason)

--A few iTalki lessons

 

I feel like if I hire tutors on iTalki to practice Chinese speaking, even ones that don't charge that much money, things are about to get way more expensive. Learning to read is fairly cheap, and learning to listen is virtually free.

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On 7/6/2022 at 11:32 PM, MTH123 said:

Did you forget to list textbooks? I expected to spend more money on textbooks than Chinese Text Analyser, until I lucked into getting Chinese Made Easier for free. Chinese Made Easier is the best textbook for independent learners, as far as I’m concerned. It has the best stuff on tones and pronunciation, which is the most important launching point, as far as I’m concerned to accelerated listening and speaking. It’s also great with grammar. That’s as far as I have gotten with it so far.

 

 

 

With the kind of money you’re spending per year, would something like Pimsleur or Fluenz fit in there somewhere?

 

No, I do not use textbooks at all. I have flicked through them (you can find them everywhere on the internet or in bookstores). I mostly work with massive comprehensible input: TheChairMansBao, import free material to Lingq, etc. I guess they are the only crucial investments for that approach. Also, it is good to pay a teacher in the beginning to get your pronunciation and tones up to speed.

 

Long-term I will most likely only be spending money on teachers on Italki or elsewhere.

 

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Interesting question. Let me think.

Over the last two years I bought:

  • 6 course books (worked through 5 of them, started the sixth)
  • 2 grammar books (the first one done, the second one in progress)
  • Some Pleco-Add-Ons, especially dictionaries and graded readers. (Not using them any more, my Android-tablet broke down, and I decided to replace it with a Linux-Convertible. So, it's back to Anki.)
  • Heisig: "Remembering Simplified Hanzi" (It's an On-Off-relationship: I do not like that book, but sometimes it is fun to do a little binging with it.
  • DeFrancis: "Beginning Chinese Reader 1" (Also not learning with it, but sometimes I open it at random and try to read the traditional characters)
  • 10 graded readers (and counting ...)
  • Local course group  with chinese teacher (ca 250 Euro per semester. One semester finished, the second one ongoing).

Maybe I forgot one or two items, but I think it's still less than 1000$ .

I do not have a budget, and I could afford more if needed. But I try to buy used books and compare prices.

I prefer real old fashioned paper books in which I can make notes and colorize important things.

As for subscriptions: I have not yet tried TCB or others. I'm a bit afraid that it will end like my gym subscription :-(

 

Do collateral costs also count:

Since I started learning Chinese I have been to chinese restaurants more often.

I ordered fancy Oolong teas in China, I bought soy sauce and sichuan pepper.

And, I had to buy red, blue, orange and green text markers to color code the tones of the characters in my books.

Still less than 1000$

 

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With respect to the foot massage method of studying Chinese, there's a Taiwanese-style foot massage shop in my neighborhood,  and I've often thought about giving it a try to advance my Chinese. But Japanese TV always spotlights the intense pain some of the specialists are able to induce, to the point where the average customer might feel cheated if agony isn't included.

 

But I used to know the famous podiatrist, Rob Roy McGregor, who designed the Saucony brand of running shoes, and he told me once that if I got a nerve pinched in a joint or knuckle of my foot, "life would no longer be worth living... "

 

Enuff said...

 

TBZ

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On 7/15/2022 at 4:03 AM, TheBigZaboon said:

But Japanese TV always spotlights the intense pain some of the specialists are able to induce, to the point where the average customer might feel cheated if agony isn't included.

Survival vocab includes the key phrase: "轻一点师傅“ -- qing yidian shifu -- Exhorting the technician to go easy, to lighten up. I am not a member of the "no pain; no gain" contingent. I prefer pleasure. Got over trying to prove I was a Tough Guy a very long time ago. 

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I know this is off topic, but I have recently read a German non-fiction book, translated into English with the same title: Marzahn mon Amour, by Katja Oskamp. A great read. She was an East German writer but in her forties work was getting difficult and she trained as a podiatrist and worked in East Berlin. All the characters she describes in the book were real clients with histories in this fairly impoverished and originally Communist area. And the reason she was able to write this book was because she had clients in an individual room, seated on a chair - not like a hairdressing salon, where conversations can be overheard. abcdefg's foot massage story reminded me.

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On 7/15/2022 at 3:09 PM, Zeppa said:

And the reason she was able to write this book was because she had clients in an individual room, seated on a chair - not like a hairdressing salon, where conversations can be overheard. abcdefg's foot massage story reminded me.

 

What a great story device!

 

Secrets get told, souls get unburdened. Probably goes along with the stress relief from skilled hands massaging one's feet. I once lived in an apartment where someone on the 7th floor offered a small foot massage service in their living room every night for a couple of hours. Sign on the door, but no outside advertising. People who lived there were the regular customers, and they would arrive in pajamas and slippers for a soak in hot water and a relaxing foot massage before sleep. I soon became part of the clique and heard all sorts of neighborhood gossip. How Sally broke up with Jim and whose cat was sick and who didn't sort their trash right when putting it into the collection bins. All facilitated by 泡脚、按脚。  

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  • 1 month later...
  • New Members
On 7/15/2022 at 8:01 AM, jaapgrolleman said:

600 hours of class — some group classes but mostly private. I could've bought an affordable car as well, but speaking Mandarin in China is more valuable to me.

 

So, about $15,000 a year? Right? That sounds serious.

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Most of the costs were made in university: tuition, textbooks, general cost of living for a university student. Then two years in first China and then Taiwan, so plane tickets and such, plus cost of living... I never calculated the costs.

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  • 2 months later...

Private teacher 35€ / hour. 2 hours per week, but not all weeks. 3k per year.

Confucius group class 500€ per year.

Some tutoring at 15€ per hour. 500€ per year.

 

The last part is debatable, it's hanging out with Chinese people at the restaurant, paying my share of the bill. Before it was mostly hanging out at friends house with a beer, which was much cheaper. I guess this is 1 to 2k extra compared to before.

 

I'm located in a German city.

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