CLO User 4's blog

Gareth D, Professor, Sydney, Australia

I am just learning Chinese as a hobby, really. In my job (I teach and research Biochemistry at Sydney University) I come across a lot of Chinese people (both fellow scientists and students) and, although they all speak perfect English, it is a good ice-breaker and much appreciated if I have a go with my Mandarin! However, some of my more cynical colleagues think I'm only learning so that I can tell what the students in the front row of my lecture are saying about my classes :-)

I have been learning for about 6 months... I really like the way your course is 'progressive'... it really gives me a strong sense of progression and achievement... I particularly like the use of the Chinese 'links' within in the lessons (ie, the padding between the sentences in the formal dialog). I like the way that you refer back to previous lessons... this provides both reassurance and a chance for revision... as well as a strong sense of continuity.

I am very much enjoying working my way though all the lesson transcripts. They are a really fantastic resource... I think I am learning just as much from the 'padding' that accompanies the explanations and introductions to each sentence as I am from the dialogues themselves. I think that this is because there is a lot of reinforcement of the 'teaching phrases' from one lesson to the next, so eventually it becomes 'fluent' for me.

Apart from the export feature (which is absolutely fantastic!) I am enjoying the videos. It is surprising just how much difference there is between an audio dialog and a video... Of course, it is easier to interpret the big-picture of what is happening from the video but it is also more challenging with the actors speaking so naturally and with all the other bits of visual information that one's brain tries to process at the same time. In short, I think the videos are a perfect complement to the dialogs.

There's no doubt that all aspects of my learning have massively increased since I started learning the characters... so I think that anything you can do to encourage your students to take an interest in writing and reading the characters will be very positive!

I'm just at the stage where the complexity of the 'incidental' Chinese used in the lessons is now just as useful as the official lesson dialog! (ie, about lesson 100-120 or so)... So you've clearly thought out your business model very well... get everyone 'hooked' on the first episodes and then they can't resist!

Cheerio, and thanks for a great course which I am enjoying very much!

Johannes H., Munich, Germany

Starting with your lesson 001 presently I am following lessons 80 to 90.

My learning procedure (for the time being on PC only)
- listen the vocabulary (at Pinyin mode, fast dialog)
- listen the vocabulary (at Pinyin mode, Kirin)
- listen the vocabulary and try to read Simplified mode ( fast dialog)
- if necessary: listen single lines and try to learn by heart

- listen (and read) Complete Lesson, especially for additional explanations and background information.
- listen and answer Premium podcast

For my learning, the most useful Features are the Premium Podcasts. Being forced to check the active vocabulary and translate sentences into Chinese brings the best progress to me. I even would like to have such features become more extensive and maybe already included in the "Vocabulary." I am looking forward to progress to lesson 116, because from there on all features are also available in Simplified Hanzi.

Thank you very much for your kind attention and best wishes for the further success with this helpful program.

Fernando M., Brazil

I'm a new user of your fantastic website. I'm a brazilian native, that is now perceiving the increasement of coorporations seaching people that knows the chinese language to work. I don't have a job and it is the reason of my interest about learning chinese. I hope that I can complete this course with your help.

Milan, Czech Republic

Hello Kirin and Adam and all the CLO team-members! I have been learning Chinese with you for approx. one month and it has been a great fun! I´ve always wanted to learn this language and your site has been most helpful! I am a beginner, with no previous Chinese-learning experience, have gone through the first 11 CLO lessons so far. Chinese seemed an impossibly difficult language to me, but thanks to your course, the use of the latin characters and the listening, I can see now that it is reachable. Thanks!
All the best for you

Manuela B., Switzerland

I discovered your website in January 2008, started from lesson 1 and tried to catch up as fast as possible (sometimes 4-5 hours a day) - and exactly today I'm there, lesson 198!!! You did a great job referring the method (from explaining in english turning to more and more chinese or how you choose new vocabulary and repeat it) and you found a nice balance of explaining grammar or just take an expression as it is. I know, it can be difficult, because students want more and more explanation, but sometimes it makes the stuff too complicate and becomes a barrier for the fluency.

Now I'm really happy, that I found a way to keep going and to improve my listening and speaking skills. I really like the videos and dialogues. I know, it was not that difficult for me, because I know most of the characters from last year; and I have now to take care, that I don't lose track with the new stuff. But you are a big motivator and so I'm looking forward learning more..

I mostly listen first to the new lesson to see, how much I understand just by listening (because I'm quite bad at the "tingli"-part in the HSK-exercises, but it's such a good feeling, when you listen to native speakers and you actually understand, what they are talking about!). After this first highlight or frustration I print the simplified version and go through it once or twice (bian ting bian kan), look then at the notes (I also like cultural notes) and go sometimes to the vocabulary section and pick some exercices (word order!!) or listen there a few times to (for me) new expressions to get used to the right tones. At last I go to the premium pages, listen to the second dialogue and try the translations - actually as a last test. And then - I enjoy the video (when there is/was one - you see I miss them).

On the whole it works pretty well like that. But you know the feeling for sure: You always get the idea, that as soon as you "turn around" all chinese just falls out of your brain... I guess we are now on a level, where we understand quite a lot (above all when it's written down - for me in simplified characters), but when it comes to talk and build our own sentences, it gets bad. So I need (!) the sentence-builder-exercises and translation-part to reassure myself.

I'm recommending your website to all my friends - there's kind of a podcast hype starting in Switzerland and an increasing interest here in China's language and culture. A really nice thing!

Coline B., Lawyer, Paris, France

CLO is progressive so it helps reminding the bases and the written language (thanks to the new feature that teaches how to write the characters). It is also a real online "tutor", and everyone knows that repetition is the only way to learn a foreign language with efficiency. I also use Chinesepod as a complement for spoken language. I think these two chinese podcasts should not be considered as competitors, but as complementary tools. I hadn't spoken chinese for three years until I found your website. I am so happy to recover my former level and even more. Kirin is really a fantastic teacher (One on One). Thanks.

Elie B., Belgium

Just want to say you're doing a wonderful job here!

I've lived in Beijing for a year, but since I'm back home last summer and started working, I didn't find the time to study Chinese anymore. Thanks to your podcast I'm picking it up again.

Keep up the great work.

Michel L., Teacher, Quebec, Canada

Hi Adam. Just a few words to tell you that I appreciate the New Characters feature. With the translation, the Test your pronunciation, the Sentence Builder, and the sound features all on the same page, it makes a very nice package. I also like the worksheet. Thanks for your nice work.

Gary S., Teacher, Taipei, Taiwan

I checked out your site recently and saw the site was on level 3. I tried out the premium features and found them quite useful. Kirin and Rapheal are also fantastic. They speak very clearly. I'm listening to your podcast when I'm on the run, walking around town, on the MRT, Bus, etc.

I'm looking forward to level 4. I think you all did a wonderful job on the level three lessons. The audio is clear, the native speakers are excellent, and the content is VERY well managed. I really like the way that you alternate between dialogs (which you break down and slow down) and full conversations between Kirin and Raphael. The way you've slowly weaned out the English and explain everything in simple Chinese is wonderful. It's really great to get a solid 10 minutes of Chinese without having to flip back into "English Mode" all the time. I've been recommending the podcast to everyone I know who's trying to learn Chinese. In level four it would be great to see even more of that in the premium podcasts. For instance asking the listeners to give you a sentence with the opposite meaning of Chinese sentence, etc...

For the past couple of months I've just been listening to the 2 podcasts. I haven't visited the site much. But that changed a couple weeks ago once I picked up an iPod Touch. I often hit the site while I'm waiting for the bus and read a quick couple of lessons. Great little gadget :)

Chinesisch Lernen Blog

(Comment in German):

Ich bin immer mehr von ChineseLearnOnline begeistert.

Inzwischen gibt es nicht nur den Podcast, den Dialog, den Dialog mit Nachsprechpausen, die Vokabelliste als Download, sondern auch PDFs (Englisch, Pinyin, Simp. und trad. Zeichentext, sowie Lerntips). Und natürlich Videos, Flashcards, Wordbank, Exercises. Momentan 172 Lektionen!

Das Lernen macht wirklich Spaß mit CLO! Und daß alles etwas mehr Taiwan-orientiert ist als bei ChinesePod (alles sehr VRC-orientiert und mit einer Vorliebe für die vereinfachten Zeichen), finde ich mehr als klasse! Super!

Im Gegensatz zu ChinesePod kann man hier Schritt für Schritt seine Kenntnisse aufbauen und braucht sich nicht mit den Schwierigkeiten und Lücken beim Sprung von einem Level zum nächsten (bei ChinesePod) herumquälen! Das empfinde ich als einen der größten Nachteile bei ChinesePod, neben dem ziemlich hohen Preis!

You can read the complete post (in German) here.

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