I want to learn Mandarin fairly badly because I intend to both live and go to college in Taiwan and don't want to be set back in my goals simply because I can't speak or write in the language. I want to know what everyone's opinion is on what the best way to learn Mandarin is. Is Rosetta's Stone good? Are other websites better? What about tutors or other options? I would greatly appreciate any and all advice you guys have!
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Rosetta Stone has a terrible quality/price ratio, so I would definitely consider ALL other options before it, even if you have access to RS for free.
How much time do you have? If I could start from scratch again, I would start with pronunciation. I would NOT look at pinyin for months… I'd find a good teacher or two, and focus exclusively on nailing tones and pronunciation. There are a number of techniques for this, but seriously, I think it's one of the best gifts you can give your future self.
After that, use anki for vocab, skritter is useful for characters, and you can work with tutors on grammar etc.
Approximately 2 years or so. I was looking into the “Mandarin Blueprint”… they seem interesting and have a very unique system in which to teach from what I was shown in a conference call with one of the teachers. But the price has me kinda terrified, but the way everything is set in categories has me kind of debating it.
Might not help you much before arriving on island but living there for two years sure helped me. Don't spend your time with English speakers, worst thing I see expats do.
Well I want to actually be able to speak at least decent Mandarin because I don't want to be instantly put out as an all-out outcast american who can't even Mandarin in my college. And I know not to spend my time with English speakers, I want to get to know my community and become integrated in it. Just not sure where exactly to start looking as a start to learning Mandarin. I know that I need to go in the order of Grammar Pronunciation, memorization of it, then practicing speaking it with others, and then going on to characters after I become proficient enough of a speaker to make my way around all the while learning more words and phrases.
Check out Chinese from zero to hero on Youtube. They have several courses out from HSK 1 – HSK 3. A bunch of their videos are on youtube free, but they also offer the full courses for fairly cheap on their website. They cover a lot of grammar points and have been really helpful.
I looked into the videos, I don't think they'd really help me. I'm one of those people that likes to be more interactive and have a better way to get self-study out of it. The videos didn't really show the entirety of the sentence or really focus on pronunciation, the guy just said the words and said stuff like “You need to like drop your jaw to say this one” not really explain the sound itself.
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