Yet learning how to speak Mandarin is actually easier than you might think.
In fact, give me and this course six hours of your time and I will teach you how to correctly pronounce EVERY word in the Chinese dictionary!!
Allow me to explain.
Mandarin is a language of tones (where words have a pitch or a tonal variation).
It is also a language of homophones, where many of the characters are actually pronounced the same, even though the meaning is different.
Years ago, my friend Joshua Huang went through the entire Chinese dictionary. We found that the entire Mandarin spoken language has only 399 separate words.
What makes Mandarin so difficult to master is the tones of the language. Each of the 399 words in the Chinese dictionary uses four distinct tones.
Knowing the difference between these tones, and when to use them, is critical to mastering the Mandarin language.
That is what you're going to learn in this course.
In six hours YOU can learn how to correctly master the pronunciation of each of the 399 words in the Mandarin language, spoken on all four of the tones.
Pinyin is used in every Mandarin textbook series. So, when you learn how to correctly pronounce a pinyin word or phrase, you know how to read a textbook properly.
This also helps when you hear someone speaking Mandarin and you want to write it down for future review. You can do so without having to learn Chinese characters.
Many of the international schools and English school systems around the world that offer Mandarin are faced with the problem of what do with students who begin their Mandarin study with a class that has already studied for a year or more, and thus they already know how to read their pinyin textbooks.
When a student who transfers into a school and a Mandarin class after the semester or year is in progress, he/she is given a Mandarin pinyin textbook to use. None of it makes sense and the student immediately feels overwhelmed and defeated.
Plus, Mandarin teachers don’t have time to teach every new student how to pronounce Mandarin pinyin properly. Neither do they even realize that the entire language is only 399 pinyin words that are spoken on up to four different tones.
This course is the SOLUTION to this problem.
Beginning students, or transferring students, or even students with non-standard Mandarin, can spend SIX HOURS on this course, and have the tools to correctly speak every word in their new textbook.
This is the ONLY course available that focuses on the two things that native Mandarin-speaking language teachers need to do, but rarely, if ever do—
1) Explain in detail where to place your teeth, tongue, and mouth in order to correctly pronounce a word.
2) Explain how to correct and overcome the common problems in pronunciation on each word that a native English speaker will have.
This analytical and correctional approach is seldom used by Mandarin language teachers because that is not the way they learned Mandarin as children.
However, second language learners, especially if English is their native language, cannot simply master Mandarin pronunciation using the “imitate me,” or “say it like me,” or “repeat after me,” approach.
Why not? Because the muscles of our mouths and the placement of our tongues and teeth for speaking English is completely different than the position and placement that is necessary to speak Mandarin accurately and like a native.
Many students study Mandarin for years and yet don’t sound like a native speaker because they tried to learn vocabulary, grammar, and characters before they had mastered correct pronunciation.
My experience has been that people in China and Taiwan receive you or reject you on the basis of how the Mandarin words coming out of your mouth sound.
If you speak only four words or phrases correctly, people will think that you have great Mandarin, even though you have so much yet left to learn.
But students who know the Mandarin vocabulary, grammar, and even the characters will be judged to have BAD Mandarin if their pronunciation is not accurate and doesn’t sound like a native speaker.
Your success in business, building relationships, or in influencing others to want to listen to you depends on one thing:
Do you sound good to a native Mandarin speaker?
If you do, then you win the job, secure the contract, or even get the phone number of the Chinese girl you are interested in seeing again…..
But if you sound bad when you open your mouth, people will be polite but then want to distance themselves from you as quickly as possible.
This is reality. Accept it.
And make sure that your Mandarin sounds like a native by taking this course BEFORE you take any other content-centered Mandarin course.
- The complete list of all 399 words in the Chinese language.
- Video lessons covering the correct pronunciation of each word; where to put your mouth, tongue and teeth to correctly pronounce each word; a demonstration of each word spoken on all four tones; practice exercises where you speak each word on all four tones; and pointers on how to overcome common pronunciation mistakes.
- For an additional fee of $50, you can receive an assessment at the end of the course. You send in a recording speaking each word on the list on all four tones and we send you back which words you still need to practice.
*If you would like private tutoring to master the more difficult words, we can arrange for a lesson via Skype. It's $50 USD per hour.
Rev. Timothy Garner Conkling PhD, has been studying Mandarin voraciously for 25 years and teaching it enthusiastically for 12 years. Dr. Conkling began his Mandarin study at age 30 when he and his family joined China Ministries International and moved to Taipei, Taiwan.
As a conservatory trained trumpeter, vocalist, and choral conductor, Dr. Conkling’s ears were well-suited to learning a tonal language like Mandarin. In addition to serving as a pastor, seminary professor, and church-planter in Taiwan, China, and Indonesia, Dr. Conkling has taught Mandarin for grades 1-12 in International Schools in Hong Kong, and Jakarta Indonesia, at university level in Indonesia, and coordinated the Mandarin programs for five international Christian Schools in Indonesia.
Dr. Conkling also owned and managed a branch of Taipei Language Institute in Shenzhen, China from 2005-2007.
In addition to his B.M. and M.M. from the Eastman School of Music, Dr. Conkling holds an M. Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary, and three China focused degrees from the University of Hawaii at Manoa- an M.A. in Asian Studies, M.A. in Political Science, and PhD. in Political Science.
He is the author of two books:
- Mobilized Merchants-Patriotic Martyrs: China’s House-Church Protestants and the Politics of Cooperative Resistance (2014)
- Stranger in Every Land- Reflections of A Transcultural Adult in a Shrinking World (2017).
Dr. Conkling and his wife, Evie, have two children, Allison and Martyn. Tim and Evie recently moved back to the mainland U.S. after residing in Taiwan, China, Indonesia and Hawaii, for most of the last 25 years.