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Welcome to Beginners Chinese 1

Welcome to the course!

Congratulations on starting your Chinese learning journey here with Abridge Academy! We are so excited to have you join us for this innovative, self-paced online course providing a structured yet balanced approach to independently learning Chinese.

Our goal with this beginners Chinese course is to guide you through step-by-step, beginning with an introduction to the foundations of the language and working through a series of lessons centred around real life dialogues. We have also included grammar notes and cultural insights, providing a more flexible and immersive Chinese learning experience.

However, we do not see ourselves as a rigid, textbook-like course – instead we hope to empower our students to become independent learners and adapt your studies to suit your own goals. Therefore, throughout this course we will recommend additional practice opportunities through apps or complementary websites (the majority free for you to use) in order to develop your wider Chinese learning resources.

Making the most of this course

This course is designed to be self-paced and completed in a set order, while providing you with the flexibility to focus on different aspects of the language depending on your own goals and interests. Here, we provide some recommendations on how to maximise your learning opportunities.

Dedicate time each week

Language learning is a marathon, not a sprint, and so we recommend pacing yourself to gradually work through this course Рcompleting one or two lessons per week while allowing time for review and consolidation. Although it is possible to skim through each lesson quickly, we advise setting aside around one hour per lesson in order to improve your understanding. Spend this time practicing listening and repeating new words or example dialogues, writing your own notes about the course, practicing your writing in the discussion forums, and revising vocabulary with Memrise or practicing writing with Skritter (10% discount for Abridge Academy students!).

Watch videos without subtitles 

Each lesson is centred around a short dialogue video. Having first learnt the new vocabulary, we recommend starting by watching the video without subtitles to check your listening comprehension skills. You can change the speed of the video using the video settings if you need to slow it down. Then, watch again, this time with the English or Pinyin subtitles, to consolidate your understanding, before practicing your speaking using the line-by-line dialogue audio below the video.

Engage with other learners

You are not alone in your Mandarin learning journey! Take advantage of the course discussion forums to network with other Chinese language students, ask questions, share your own example sentences and help each other out. We also love to hear your recommendations of useful websites and apps to support your broader language learning.

Don’t ignore the grammar!

While many Chinese learners promote that the language is actually relatively easy to learn because it has “no grammar” please don’t fall into the trap of ignoring more structured language development! As with all languages, Chinese does have a complex grammatical system, even if they do not bother with conjugating verbs or other such aspects of many European languages. Throughout this course, we have included direct grammar training and integrated practice, helping you master the complexities and subtleties of Chinese grammar in an easy to understand way – so please don’t skip these sections of the course!

Get a speaking partner!

If you are looking for more personalised support, we recommend practicing the dialogues with a language exchange partner on apps such as Hello Talk or signing up for conversational Chinese practice on italki ($10 free credit for Abridge Academy students!). They can help you develop your listening and speaking skills further by providing individualised guidance on how to improve your pronunciation or fluency, as well as allowing you to practice conversations more flexibly.