Would you like to learn a Foreign Language? Focus Language makes it feasible and enjoyable.
Easy to learn:
Many people believe that learning a new language is a difficult and boring task. We make it doable and fun. We provide you with the right teachers, the right materials and the right programs. We have thirty years experience helping people learn.
We understand how to structure our programs so you can learn efficiently and fast. All you need to do is apply and enjoy yourself… Continue reading
Effective language learning follows certain principles. At the most basic level, you must make sure that your input and your output are balanced. Input refers to how much of the new language you listen to and read on a daily basis. Output is the way you train yourself to speak.
Input in your language program.
The two most important things you can do here are to listen to the new language intensively, and to read as much of it as possible. Yes, it is useful to study basic grammar and vocab, but it must be reinforced by a… Continue reading
Passion, in any area of our life, improves our performance and insures that our motivation remains high. Learning a language is not an instantaneous process. Many advertisers tell you you can learn Chinese or French in a month, 10 days or even 3 days. This is of course unrealistic (I mean absurd). It takes time and application to develop fluency in any language: ask any baby. It is possible to learn smatterings of shopping language or travel language in a few hours. And it… Continue reading
Do you want to learn Mandarin? Beyond ordering food and buying souvenirs? So you can actually communicate?
Learn the Characters. It may seem a daunting tasks to learn several thousand characters.( Why don’t they use an alphabet like us? )
But, if you want to progress in the language, you need to be able to read. End of story. Pinyin is a great tool to get you started and to teach you the pronunciation of new words. But the characters contain the… Continue reading
Tones are what gives mandarin its character. Each syllable is actually spoken on a different note. It is at first a challenge for Westerners when learning to speak, simply because we are not used to them. The best thing you can do is to listen to Mandarin being spoken. What do you hear? Can you imitate it?
Mandarin has four tones and a neutral tone. My best advice to anyone wanting to speak this language is to learn how to say the tones comfortably. You need to hear… Continue reading
Pinyin is the writing system that allows you to read Mandarin immediately. It is written with the Roman alphabet and is very consistent. You just need to learn how to read the different sounds. Some letters are used as they are in English: bei, hua, lao etc. Others are not. You simply need to learn the new values: xi is pronounced like she and qi is pronounced like chi.
Pinyin makes it possible to pronounce Chinese fairly accurately very fast. You want to be learning how to… Continue reading
Some people learn the sounds of a language just by listening. Some learn by first understanding how the new sound system works. I find that getting acquainted can be a good initial step. A map can never replace walking or driving in a real place but it can be of great use.
I will not systematically present the sounds of Chinese here. I only want to mention a few features.
The Chinese language is based around individual characters: one syllable each. So each syllable is… Continue reading
MANDARIN AND SOUND
Language is sound. Arrgh! … Oops! … Wow! … Oh noooo! … Various combinations of sound communicate our meaning. As you approach Mandarin as your new language, get acquainted with its sounds. The better you hear, the easier it will be to understand natives. The better you sound when you speak, the easier your communication will be.
Falling in love
My advice is always to learn a language that you are attracted to. It is much easier to spend time with something… Continue reading
So how do you proceed from here? You have a general idea what you need to learn. What is the best approach to learn effectively? the most effortless and fruitful? So many programs! So many promises!
Whatever system you choose, there are two fundamental ways to approach the language. Output and input based.
This is the traditional approach. We are immediately asked to memorize and use an increasing amount of vocabulary and grammar. We are also asked to produce spoken and written language… Continue reading
Mandarin Chinese is a beautiful language. I have deeply enjoyed my own learning journey through it. This article is the first in a series for anyone interested in its study.
In many ways, learning Mandarin is no different than studying French, Spanish or German. You need to learn new sounds, to get a feel for how natives say things. There are words and expressions to be learned. It naturally takes motivation and time. But there also are different things to absorb. If you approach them smartly, they become… Continue reading