Wednesday 13 March 2013

Teach Yourself Chinese Reviews

Learn Chinese Online
Ni hao! And welcome to China! Okay so you’re not quite in Beijing yet, but we’re here with a number of reviews of websites that help you to teach yourself Chinese. There are a variety of reasons to learn Chinese, from cultural intrigue to business commerce, from a desire to watch Chinese films or read Chinese books to an exciting leisure trip to China. Whatever your reason, there are a number of websites that offer help and advice on teaching yourself Chinese.

The great thing about learning through these services is that they’re interactive, you won’t simply be sitting with a text book and not knowing if your pronunciation is right or wrong (and trust us on this, you don’t want to mispronounce words in one of the languages of China because it can completely change the meaning). Instead you can listen to native speakers say a word or phrase, repeat it and compare your performance. You can keep a track of your progress, take tests on the vocabulary you’ve picked up and more. Another great benefit of online learning is that you can do it in your own time and at your own pace. If you’ve ever been to an evening class after a hard day’s work you’ll know just how tiring it can be, and how easy it is to miss a class or two because of the intrusions of life. Teaching yourself a language using one of the courses we review means that you can simply pause a lesson and pick it up again later. You won’t be put off by the bad weather or the drive to the education centre, because the lesson is in your own home.

Our Teach Yourself Chinese reviews have been collated and compared to discern which ones offer the best service at the best prices, so that you don’t have to! If you look at one of our reviews you’ll notice a series of red stars (though in this case perhaps yellow stars might have been more appropriate given the Chinese flag); these depict our impression of how successfully each site meets a certain criteria. Take for example the first two star categories, “emphasis on speaking / punctuation” and “emphasis on writing / grammar”: these are vital elements to learning any language sufficiently for communication so any program with a low score in these areas is likely not very useful for real communication. Equally if you want to improve in these areas then it’s important to have a system which will encourage and challenge you to do so. “Ease of use / navigation” generally refers to how easy the website is to use, which can also be vital because some of the programs you use will have a strong online element so you’ll need to be able to find the appropriate parts of the site which fit in with your lesson. “Value for money” is something we constantly aim to discern, a high rating meaning that your purchase is worth the money you’re paying. Although some courses may be cheaper they may actually not be very good, so do not offer good value for money, whilst, in comparison, a great course might cost more but we feel it’s worth the extra few dollars.

Rocket Chinese gets our vote as the number 1 Chinese language program for its strong emphasis on speaker, pronunciation, writing and grammar. It’s also incredibly easy to use and offers great value for money. In a close second place we chose Rosetta Stone Chinese, one of the most well known and engaging systems which uses “Dynamic Immersion” whereby you learn without any English translation. But there are several fine systems to consider and choose from so why not take a look for yourself and see which one most captures you. Hao yun! (good luck!)

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