February 8, 2013 | Mandarin
In which I try out some new software.
I have been meaning to try out Fluenz, a multimedia language-learning product, for ages. Tonight I finally sat down and did it.
This Is My Fluenz Chinese Teacher
As regular readers may know, I am not keen on being tied to a computer. I don’t like clicking things, and I don’t like looking at screens. I like lounging on the sofa with my eyes closed, thinking foreign-language thoughts, while Pimsleur tests my oral skills.
For visual instruction, I tend to like to supplement with books, not computers. I have some good books this time, but the thing is, with a very difficult language like Chinese, one that has an initially impenetrable writing system, it is hard to use books at the beginning.
I—and others, I would imagine—often need a little more handholding than is afforded by a mere paper product.
So anyway, the nice young lady pictured above is currently holding my hand. You may notice: she is not Chinese. I noticed that, too. Nor is she a native speaker. Her accent sounds good to me, but what do I know?
In any case, I did the first three lessons tonight and finally, finally, finally am getting a handle on pinyin. Pinyin skills appear to be a rather basic and important part of this program, which is kind of a relief, because the intensive pinyin lessons are forcing me to learn not only the letters but also the tones. And I need it.
I have in three lessons already had to do a whole lot of writing practice. I liked it. I am not sure how I would have felt about it had I not had the benefit of 62 Pimsleur lessons first. (I just began Level III of Pimsleur.)
I might have been frustrated. It is hard for me to tell at this point.
The thing is, the vocabulary from these early Fluenz lessons is all completely familiar, so I can’t see it with totally new eyes or hear it with totally new ears. But I’m going to keep going and will report back when I have reached more advanced lessons.