Will the course teach the PRC standard or the Taiwanese standard? Will the native speaker on the recording be male or female?
We'll be offering both PRC Mandarin and Taiwanese Mandarin options, so you can choose which standard you want to learn! Also, we'll be providing both male and female speakers for both standards. You can choose which one fits your needs best!
Can I go at my own pace? Will I be able to access the course once it's finished?
Yes! We’ll be on a three week cycle (2 active weeks and 1 review week) where you get two lessons, two sets of repetition drills, and two grammar explanation videos per week on the active weeks, and a live Q&A session on the review weeks (where you’ll also want to keep reviewing the material you’ve already learned). Once the course is finished, we'll keep everything available online so that you can go through it at your own pace.
How much Chinese do I need to know to take this course?
None! If you are a total beginner, you’ll be learning new words, sentences, and phrases in addition to the grammar. If you have some experience with Mandarin, then you can focus more on the sentences themselves and on honing your pronunciation.
How long does the course take to complete?
There are 18 lessons, and we'll be doing one lesson per week. The course begins on 31 July and ends on 1 December 2023.
How much time will it require per lesson?
It really depends on how much review you do. We highly recommend spending at least 20 min per day reviewing with the repetition drills and audio lessons. A little bit every day is much better than a lot once a week. During active weeks, you’ll get two 10 to 15 minute audio only lessons, 1 to 2 videos explaining grammar points (5 to 10 min each), and 10 to 15 minutes of repetition drills, which is a minimum of 50 min (and a max of 1 hour 40 min) of new material per week. So, at a minimum, 20 min per day on old material, and 20 min per day on new material. Review weeks are a good time to get caught up on reviewing. Including the Q&A sessions mentioned below, you should spend a minimum of 5 hours per week. Of course, a more aggressive review schedule could bring that up close to 10 hours per week. It depends on your goals!
We'll also do a live 45 minute Q&A session during review weeks on Zoom, so you can pop in and ask questions if you'd like. There will also be a discussion forum, so if you can't make it to the office hours, you can still get your questions answered. You can also watch the replays of the Q&A sessions.
Will I need anything (apps, etc.) in order to take the course?
No! Everything you need will be provided to you. You just need a device with internet access.
Here is a list of references I used for creating the course. However, I recommend NOT buying them until AFTER you’ve completed the course. And of course, you’re under no obligation to buy any of them.
Li and Thompson, Mandarin Chinese: A Functional Reference Grammar
Claudia Ross, Ph.D., Schaum’s Outlines Chinese Grammar
A.G. Hawk, The Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast
Vivian Ling and Wang Peng, Essential Mandarin Chinese Grammar
Yip Po-Ching and Don Rimmington, Chinese an Essential Grammar
Yip Po-Ching and Don Rimmington, Intermediate Chinese: A Grammar and Workbook
Muhammad Wolfgang G. A. Schmidt, All the Grammar and Language Points for Each of the Six Levels of the Chinese Language Proficiency Test (HSK)
Richard Xiao, Paul Rayson, and Tony McEnery, A Frequency Dictionary of Mandarin Chinese
What time will the live Q&A sessions be?
Once the course starts, a time will be chosen that maximizes convenience for the largest number of students in the course, and we may offer more than one session if necessary.
Can I study at my own pace or do I have to take the course live?
Either way. However, you should try to make the Q&A sessions. If you can’t make it, then you can email your questions to us, and watch the replay whenever it’s convenient. Since you have lifetime access to the course materials, then you can watch it whenever you want.
What does "lifetime access" mean?
In practical terms, it means the course materials will be available online for as long as Outlier is in business. If we do ever go out of business or otherwise need to remove the course for any reason, we'll make the material available for you to download for a period of at least 6 months.
Can I get a refund if I decide the course isn't for me?
Yes! Our usual refund policy is "30 days from purchase," but since the course doesn't start until 31 July, I'm extending the refund date to 31 August. If you decide you don't like the course for whatever reason, just reach out by then and I'll be happy to give you a full refund.
Will there be assignments or homework?
Assignments will be listening to the audio lessons, doing the repetition drills, and watching the grammar explanation videos. This is where the learning happens.
There will be two exams: a midterm and a final.
Can we collaborate with other students or form study groups?
Definitely! Our live courses usually have a few hundred students enrolled, so there should be plenty of students of all backgrounds and interests in this course too. Working together and coming up with better ways to study with other people is definitely a good thing. However, for your own learning, you have to do the legwork on your own!
We'll also have a private online community where you can work together, ask questions, share notes, etc.