Proficiency Course in Chinese – Course
In China, more than 70 million people from 55 distinct national minorities live, and although each minority has its own spoken language, many minority groups lack a distinguishable written medium for their languages. Standard Chinese is the most widely spoken language in China. China is one of the world’s most linguistically rich nations. Most linguists identify all of the varieties of spoken Chinese that comprise the Sinitic branch as the Sino-Tibetan language family (spoken by the ethnic Han Chinese majority and many minority ethnic groups in Greater China) and claim that there was an initial language, Proto-Sino-Tibetan, from which the Sinitic and Tibeto-Burman languages descended, close to Proto-Indo-European. The connection between Chinese and the other Sino-Tibetan languages is still unknown and under investigation, as is the effort to reconstruct Proto-Sino-Tibetan. Until the mid-twentieth century, the majority of Chinese in southern China did not speak Mandarin.
Mandarin Chinese still lacks sufficient choices of quality online resources to learn with. However, nowadays, it's not impossible to find a good one after the advent of internet and online classes! Rocket Chinese has no competition when it comes to structured online audio courses. The course effectively covers speaking and listening, as well as how to read and write Chinese characters. Thus, it firmly holds its position as the most popular Chinese course that leads you towards fluency from Rocket Languages!
For about 15 years, Rocket Languages has been a fairly well-known name in language learning. Rocket Languages is a series of 13 language editions – Chinese being one of them. With the exception of Japanese, their Chinese language course is the only other course where teaching written characters is an integral part of the curriculum. This is especially important for anyone planning to move to China (or Taiwan) or who wishes to read Chinese literature. And while there are over 50,000 Chinese characters in total, the majority of these do not need to be taught in a traditional course.
Characters are one of the most difficult and time-consuming aspects of learning Chinese, and while there are mnemonic strategies for learning many of them, they require a significant amount of time to commit to long-term memory. While I haven’t any knowledge on the exact count of the characters taught by Rocket Chinese, they do an excellent job of categorising the characters by level of difficulty.
For instance, in a writing lesson about renting an apartment, the first character listed is:
租 (zū) – rent
They go on to explain that the first part of the character means “crop,” and that historically, landlords in China would accept harvested crops as payment. Interesting!
Rocket Chinese is chock-full of these explanations, which really help you remember the characters. The characters are also drawn slowly on video, which I found very helpful. The recently added third tier of Rocket Chinese dives right into advanced-level writing lessons on Chinese stories, so there’s plenty to keep you occupied.
Rocket language offers Platinum and Premium tiers in most languages that are available in three lifetime (or monthly) subscription options: Level 1, Levels 1 & 2, and Levels 1 & 3. These tiers are relatively new additions that provide customers with up to an additional 180 lessons. More information on the tiers can be found here:
Rocket Chinese courses start from $99.95 (auto-applied discount) and go on depending on your selection, duration and need.
Few, if any, Chinese courses are as comprehensive as Rocket Chinese. This three-level comprehensive programme is ideal for Mandarin students seeking structure, as it progresses from the fundamentals to an advanced level of Chinese, in a linear progression. This course is at the top of my list of recommendations for students of Mandarin Chinese.
It’s a cross between a podcast and a conversation.
The Rocket Chinese courses are made up of podcasts that teach Mandarin in a fun, clear, and easy-to-follow way, but there are also natural dialogues and other content delivery styles spread across the various course levels. The three-course levels of Rocket Chinese cover all language skills (including reading and writing Chinesecharacters) equally well.
They also have a fairly accurate built-in voice recognition system (Google’s Web Speech API), an active leaderboard and forum community.
You don’t have to learn in a straight line either; you can take your own path if you prefer. Rocket Chinese should be your first port of call if you’re looking for an all-in-one Mandarin Chinese course.
On the whole, it’s the best, however, it would be great to include a video library for visual learners!
Despite the fact that many officials and commoners spoke different Chinese dialects, Nanjing Mandarin became prevalent at least during the officially Manchu-speaking Qing Empire. Since the 17th century, several efforts and attempts have been made to make pronunciation adhere to the Beijing style. To accomplish this, the Empire established Orthoepy Academies. These efforts, however, were largely unsuccessful. The Nanjing Mandarin standard was eventually replaced in the imperial court during the last 50 years of the Qing Dynasty in the late nineteenth century.
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