This autumn the best-selling language expert Paul Noble, author of the Unlocking Language series, will release an exciting new title that will help you unlock Mandarin. We sent one of the Collins team for a one-on-one learning experience with that person himself, and here’s how they got a part of the course.
What is your native language and do you speak any other language?
My native language is English. I speak Spanish and French after studying at university, but as we all know, as soon as you stop speaking a language, you start forgetting it, so I could probably do it with a refresher!
What is your previous language learning experience?
Just the atmosphere of a traditional classroom.
Have you ever tried to learn a language independently before? If so, what have you used?
In the past I have downloaded apps in an attempt to resume my language learning. However I never managed to last very long with it.
What was your knowledge of Mandarin before learning with Paul Noble?
Before I started learning Mandarin with Paul, I didn’t even know what the difference was between different Chinese languages and, if I’m being completely honest, I don’t think I could speak Chinese when listening to the spoken language. Could identify. Asian languages. It’s safe to say that I had absolutely no knowledge of Mandarin and went into this experience as a perfect start.
How do you feel about learning Mandarin compared to European languages?
With any new skill, there are easy parts and hard parts.
I was amazed at how simple and important the Mandarin grammar system was. Forget learning a thousand different verb endings; In Mandarin so far I have learned that we add only one sound to make the sentence past rather than present. This makes it much easier than the European languages that are used for most Britons.
The pronunciation of Chinese words is obviously quite different from English, but if you notice that native speakers give you examples on recordings and try to repeat the sound properly, you will eventually start speaking Chinese!
How did you feel about Paul Noble’s approach in your first few seasons?
I have to admit I was worried I was going to fool myself and not be able to take anything. Although I don’t have to worry because, as we already know from his current language learning programs, Paul clearly knows a lot about language structure and learning the foreign languages of native English speakers. .
Paul starts by introducing you to some Mandarin words that you probably already know (like Shanghai and Chou Mein) and then shows you how you can use them in one sentence. It was interesting to learn useful words and phrases directly instead of starting with lists of words that you are unlikely to remember for a few weeks in a row.
I was also encouraged not to try to memorize specific words. This may sound strange, but the best way to describe it I think is to create spherical vocabulary; You will be accidentally introduced to a new word, listen to it a few times in a sentence and then, without realizing it, a few days later you pick it up and actively form a sentence using this new word Are able to remember it.