Welcome to Start Speaking Chinese! Whether you’re new to Chinese or just want to brush up on pronunciation, this course is for you. Experience Sections 1 and 2 and, if you like what you see, sign up here for the rest. Start Speaking Chinese with us!
With our mix of multimedia, mnemonics, and magic, you’ll learn:
- Chinese Pin Yin, a system that spells the sounds of Chinese words using the Latin alphabet.
- The six vowels a, e, i, o, u, and ü, the building blocks for Pin Yin.
- The all-important four tones, those musical sounds that help us distinguish between homophones, like mèi (“little sister”) and méi (“not”).
You’ll build a small vocabulary and use it to form short sentences, including popular greetings and introductions, like saying hello, goodbye, and asking someone his or her name. For all you animal lovers, we’ll learn Chinese for the three most popular pets in the world—gǒu (dog), māo (cat), and yú (fish)—and then take our own poll on pet ownership.
By the end, you’ll be able to follow along with this dialogue:
Here are three ways to get the most out of this course:
- Say it out loud. We don’t learn to cook a meal, drive a car, or hit a baseball just by watching videos or reading about it. We have to actually do it. And so it is for learning Chinese. By speaking out loud, we’ll master the motor skills (the movement of mouth, tongue, and palate) required to speak Chinese. It might feel awkward at first but, like muscle memory, the more you do it, the easier it becomes until it’s second nature.
- Think in Chinese. When you start learning Chinese, try to keep it top of mind as you go through your day. For example, after this course, when someone asks your name or you’re hungry or you say “I love you,” think it (or better yet, say it) in Chinese.
- Repeat to remember. Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, discovered that we forget much of what we learn within days. But he also found that we could remember more by repeating the information over time. That’s why we created a special place within this course for you to visit regularly so you can reinforce pronunciation, vocabulary, dialogue, and more.
Ready to start? Click on “Section 1: How Chinese Looks and Sounds” in the Lesson Navigation bar on the left or the Lesson Content below. Be sure to click the “Mark Complete” button when you finish each section so you can track your progress. Once you click “Mark Complete,” you’ll receive an email from us cheering you on and filling you in on the next section and assignment.*
*If you don’t receive our first email after you mark Section 1 complete, please check your junk/spam folder and mark the email as “not junk” or “not spam.”
- Section 1: How Chinese Looks and Sounds
- Section 2: Ahhh, the Vowel "a"
- Section 3: Awesome "o"
- Section 4: Uh, the Vowel "e"
- Section 5: Wheee, the Vowel "i"
- Section 6: Boo! The Vowel "u"
- Section 7: Ewww, the Vowel "ü"
- Section 8: Combining Vowels
- Section 9: How to Ask Questions
- Let's Review!
- Section 10: A Basic Conversation