Learning Mandarin Chinese

I am a student of Mandarin Chinese.

I hypothesize that to foster U.S.-Chinese relations and to end hatred towards people of Chinese and Asian descent in the U.S., empathy, understanding, and communication are imperatives. We need to speak each other’s languages. I wish to join a groundswell of U.S. adults learning Mandarin Chinese. Since time is of the essence, I seek accelerated, efficient acquisition of proficiency.

I am attempting to distill and synthesize the findings of research on adult language acquisition, brain science, and psychology to derive a systematic, research-informed protocol for adults to acquire proficiency in Mandarin Chinese efficiently.

Based on my literature reviews on second language acquisition by adults, the online learning program that most aligns with these findings is Mandarin Blueprint.

Study plan

In 1981, I took a semester course in Mandarin Chinese at the University of Connecticut. After a 40-year hiatus, just before lockdown in March 2020, I took one, in-person lesson. Following the urging of Andrea Sachs of The Washington Post to learn a foreign language online during lockdown, I booked my first session with an italki instructor on July 7, 2020. I will have completed one year of intensive study on July 7, 2021.

I have been taking Mandarin Blueprint‘s online course since February 13, 2021. I meet in real-time with online instructor 5-6 days per week, 1-2 lessons per day. I have taken online lessons through italki, AllSet Learning, and with private instructors. I have taken a group glass for adults through Blacksburg Chinese School. I have participated in Mandarin Chinese Conversation Groups and practiced with members of MyLanguageExchange. I am preparing to take the HSK exams.

Here are YouTube videos of my progress:

  • November 25, 2020, after 4 months of study
  • February 24, 2021 after 8 months of study
  • April 7, 2021 after 9 months of study, after approximately one month using Mandarin Blueprint’s method.

I have drafted a proposal for an introduction to learning Mandarin Chinese for people aged 50 and over. I am a teacher of English for small groups of young students in China. We are using this curriculum.

I am tracking the evolution of my thinking in posts on my site. The posts are housed in this category. I have listed highlights in most recent order:

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Note: I had my original study plan on this page and moved it here.

If I can answer questions or be of service, please contact me.

Note: I am a beginning student of Mandarin Chinese and also a mental health counselor, able to provide counseling services only to residents of Virginia, U.S.A. This content is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional advice. Consult a qualified health care professional for personalized medical and professional advice.