Bring listening into the core of your Chinese study

Written by April Zhang on Wednesday, 17 March 2021. Posted in Front Page

Bring listening into the core of your Chinese study

Listening has always been a weak spot for beginner students who are learning Chinese. After they’ve learned some phrases, they experience a total blank when the same phrases are coming out from other people’s mouths. Today, I’m happy to announce that we have added one more solution to our tool kit for beginner students to develop their listening skills.

This solution addresses THE fundamental issue of the common Chinese learning mode, that beginner students rely excessively on visual cues, primarily pinyin, to learn listening and speaking Chinese. They read the pinyin printed in their textbooks or displayed on their learning APPs, listen to how it is pronounced, and try to read the pinyin accordingly. Involuntarily, listening becomes a secondary source for language input. 

The same thing also happened in my Chinese classes. Fortunately, I have tons of great listening exercises in the Work Books to help my students and students who use my books counter this lack of listening input. So far, all the listening exercises have been working out very well. But, I know I must do something to bring listening into the core of language input, so that students can learn speaking Chinese directly from listening, and forget about pinyin for a while, especially all the troubling tone markers! 

Many years ago, I got inspired by listening to some Pimsleur Chinese audio lessons, thought they were great for beginner students to get started. Later, I listened to many podcasts which also used audios to teach Chinese. Pimsleur lessons were still the best. They are very systematic, and are able to cut down the English explanations to the minimum. Not a second is wasted on irrelevant stuff. The only drawback is that Pimsleur lessons don’t have any supporting exercises for students to work on. In other words, they did not produce any work books. Since I’ve already had Work Books, the only thing for me to do was to produce some audio lessons. 

Long story short. This is now finally a reality! Mandarin Express Intro Level A audio lessons just came out!

These audio lessons are perhaps not as polished as Pimsleur lessons. The only advantage is that there is a Student’s Book for students to fall back on, and there is a Work Book for targeted and consolidated exercises.

For students who are teaching themselves Chinese, these audio lessons can be a valuable resource. A recommended study routine could be:

  • Listen to an audio lesson, and listen again if necessary.
  • Listen, repeat, and talk back
  • Use the Student’s Book as reference after listening to the audio lesson, and complete basic exercises provided in the book.
  • Complete exercises in the Work Book. 
  • Start the next audio lesson. 

After this release, the next release will be Mandarin Express Intro Level B audio lessons. A lot to look forward to!

To add more excitement to the newly released audio lessons, a 20% discount is offered for students who purchase the audio downloads before April 30, 2021.

If you’re interested and want to give it a try, listen to two sample lessons here.

About the Author

April Zhang

April Zhang

April Zhang is the founder of MSL Master and the author of two series of Chinese textbooks, Mandarin Express series and Chinese Reading and Writing series, which are highly relevant and very effective for non-Chinese speakers to learn Mandarin Chinese.


April Zhang
Chinese Teacher
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