After reviewing a few languages, and by some suggestions by others, I arrived at the goal of learning Mandarin. I thought that my third language would be either Thai or Arabic at first, because I liked the looks of the scripts. Chinese and the other character-based languages scared me. To make things tougher (not the best idea?) I decided to learn Chinese through my second language, of French. Two weeks ago I bought a slew of the best books I could find, in French, from France, and finally I got my first shipment in today. But, I got impatient. All this time reading about learning Chinese, but I was just idling instead of learning. So, I began using the English materials I had available to begin.

My English materials:

Reading & Writing Chinese (Simplified Character Edition) by William McNaughton

FSI Chinese modular course


My French materials (that have arrived):

Chinois pour débutants par Marie-Noëlle Bernès-Heuga

Chinois Débutant, 1 leçon par jour pendant 3 mois, par Leilei Li

I’m glad I decided to go ahead and start with English materials. I think I recognize about ~50 characters at the moment, which I am practicing by writing them and also by using Anki on my phone and computers. I have Chinese webcasts that I listen to occasionally, even though I understand none of it. I concentrate on the sounds and try to identify tones. I also downloaded a bunch of « News in Slow Chinese » episodes to listen to, where I can identify a few of the sounds, chiefly 你好吗. My spoken ability right now is questionable, of course.

The FSI course appears to be excellent in identifying the differences among the several tones (which don’t appear to be that difficult, contrary to my initial beliefs), and also among the different consonant sounds. I had a good amount of difficulty with the constants today, because the ch/zh and j/q sounds sound a little bit bizarre to me and I’m probably going to redo the lesson at least one more time. I do not want to get too hung up on trying to perfect the lesson though, because I will never progress that way. So far though, Mandarin is fun! I like that I can identify the different characters that a couple weeks ago I would have just skimmed over as indecipherable.

An interesting note on learning in French: I seem to have a strong enough basis in French (although I am not fluent) that, because I am copying down definitions in French and not English when possible, often the French definition comes first. This actually aids me in imaging the difference between the singular and plural forms of him/her, or you.

For example:

你 and 你们 would have the same definition in English, with the implicit understanding that 你们 is plural. However, in French, I know that 你 corresponds roughly with tu or toi and 你们 corresponds closer to vous. This helps me keep the difference a little bit more clear in my mind.


Oh mon dieu!

J’ai reçu deux de mes livres de France aujourd’hui. Je les aime.  Il y a deux plus colis pour moi, je ne sais où.

Hier soir, j’ai trouvé FSI pour chinois.  C’est en anglais, mais c’est très bon je pense.  Il y a beaucoup de leçons de prononciation.  Ils sont precis et bons.

Pendant les leçons, je trouvais que les tons sont plus simple que les consonnes.  Et, les premiers voyelles aussi sont plus facile que les consonnes.  Les differences entre « zh » et « ch » et « q » et « j » sont un peu difficile pour moi.  Mais, je dois pratique, c’est tout.

Aussi, J’ai commencé avec Anki pour rappeller les sinogrammes. C’est une bonne programme car j’ai une android portable et je peux ajouter les sinogrammes sur le web. Maintenant, je connais vers quarante sinogrammes je pense.


J’ai commencé

Bien….mes livres ne sont pas ici.  Le poste français est super lent.  J’ai un livre appelles « Reading and Writing Chinese » en anglais, bien sûr, mais null livres en français.

Je trouvais des podcasts en français pour apprendre le chinois, donc je téléchargais beaucoup.  Aussi, hier soir je régardais « Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon » en chinois avec soustitres chinois.  Je réconnais un peu sinogrammes.

Je suis en train de traduire les sinogrammes dans mon livre d’anglais à français.  J’espère que mes livres arriveront tôt, car plus materiaux, le mieux.