Many people say that learning Mandarin Chinese is too difficult and usually give up soon after they start. However, with a different, more enjoyable approach to their learning strategy, they could have not only significantly improved their Chinese abilities but also had a lot of fun along the way. The following 5 entertaining ways to learn Chinese are aimed at Mandarin students of all levels and are meant to be used in addition to your normal studies. The list, sorted in no particular order, includes: a Chinese rock band, bilingual comedy movies, innovative interactive comics, and the most important tool for any foreign language learner or wannabe future Chinese translator as well as the number one reason for learning a new language positioned at number 5. The following 5 tool are ideal for those studying the Speak Mandarin Chinese in 18 Months course and could kick start your success in completing the entire course.
1. Omnipotent Youth Society
TIP: Actively listen to improve your Chinese listening skills or simply enjoy the music while travelling.
Formed in Shijiazhuang, China, Omnipotent Youth Society are an alternative Chinese folk rock band offering stirring guitar riffs fused with trumpets and beautiful poetic lyrics that match perfectly with the music. Their only album to date is also called Omnipotent Youth Society and contains 9 moving songs that are often played to packed audiences in Beijing and have won the band numerous awards.
More info on Omnipotent Youth Society can be found on their MySpace website ((Omnipotent Youth Society on MySpace) LINK: . The bands page allows you to listen to the albums first 5 songs and you can find great live performances from YouTube. In addition to purchasing the CD from Amazon, you can download the album from iTunes.
2. Bilingual Ang Lee Movies
TIP: Try to watch without subtitles to see how well you understand when the characters speak in Mandarin.
Academy Award-winning director Ang Lees “Father Knows Best” trilogy of movies were made in the 90s and are designed to present an amusing take on how the modern world and their progressive-thinking children affect the parents of an ageing Taiwanese generation. Ang Lees first 2 comedy dramas are set in America and are called Pushing Hands and The Wedding Banquet. Both include English and Chinese dialogue, which is different from the Chinese-only script of the third movie. The last in the trilogy is called Eat Drink Man Woman and is set in Taiwan.
3. Viki.com Free Movies Online
TIP: Get lost in the storyline and amazing locations by ignoring the subtitles every now and then.
Watch movies for free on Viki.com. This website offers a wide selection of movies from all over Asian, including Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. No matter if youre into dramas, action, romantic comedies, tragedies, thrillers, or laugh out loud comedies, Viki.com lets you stream movies for free. For Chinese students, simply change location drop-down menu to the country of your choice and select from the huge variety of movies on offer, each with complete and handy subtitles.
Most of the Taiwan Movies have subtitles and can be found here: www.viki.com/movies/3664c.
4. Dim Sum Warriors
TIP: Combining words and pictures into a story is a great way for kids and adults to improve Chinese reading skills.
An effective learning tool for Chinese and English language students of all ages, Dim Sum Warriors are a group of kung fu fighting dim sums taking on the bad guys in an innovative and entertaining digital comic book app. Each sentence is provided in Chinese and in English at the touch of a button, while the instant audio allows you to hear the dialogue for extra practice.
Dim Sum Warriors for the iPad is available on iTunes with the first 2 issues provided for free within the app. You can also go to the website at www.dimsumwarriors.com. Single issues and subscriptions are available for purchase.
5. Native Chinese Speakers
TIP: You dont have to go to a temple in Taiwan to speak to Mandarin speakers. Why not find a Skype web chat friend online?
A lively language exchange is a great way to improve your Chinese speaking and listening abilities. Besides meeting new friends, and possibly a future partner, your Chinese skills will improve quickly and naturally. Speaking to people and using your foreign language for travel are fantastic reasons for learning but can also be used as an effective way to learn Chinese. Dont be scared to say things wrong or misunderstand a question; your language exchange partner is under the exact same self-made pressure, so just relax and enjoy yourself.
More Ways to Learn Chinese
I hope that the 5 fun tools for learning Mandarin Chinese above helps you add more fun into your Mandarin studies. Remember to take time away from your boring textbooks and enliven your daily Chinese practice. Having little breaks like these to enjoy yourself offers encouragement that you are indeed improving and provides motivation to continue in your Mandarin journey.
For more ideas on improving your Chinese ability, this significant list of 25 Essential Chinese Learning Tools offers tools aimed at Mandarin Chinese students of all levels as well as English-Chinese translators. The list includes 25 cheap and free Chinese learning tools that should be used in support of your Chinese studies from complete beginner to advanced speaker.