Mandarin Chinese is not just a different language; it is a different kind of language.

That means you need a distinct pedagogical approach to make learning Mandarin Chinese simple and useful, and to ensure that learners are confident and successful.

There are two great mountains to move

“To recognise that Chinese is two languages in one and to recognise linguistic distance”

— Professor Joel Marc Bellassen


The simplicity of Mandarin Chinese

The things that make Spanish, French, German and other similar languages difficult for English-speakers to learn (genders, articles, agreements, conjugations, declensions, spelling changes, irregular plurals etc.) simply do not exist in Mandarin Chinese!

On the other hand, the simplicity of Mandarin Chinese relies on features which do not exist in languages like English – in particular, recycling the same sounds with “tones” and representing what words mean with “characters” rather than spelling out how they sound with letters.

Wo Hui Mandarin is optimised for Mandarin Chinese, leveraging its simplicity and addressing the features that make it different.

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Optimised for Mandarin Chinese

Two pathways

你好 (“nǐ hǎo” = “hello”) may be the most useful thing to learn to say first, but it is not as simple to write as 一,二,三 (= “one, two, three”).

So we provide two pathways for each course, to allow you to focus on the spoken and written forms separately.

Character-based

Written Chinese works a bit like emoji – each character is an equally-sized symbol that represents something. They never change and can be simply re-arranged like building blocks. We take a character-based approach so you can “unlock” new words and sentences rather than having to “learn” them.

Tones

The four tones of Mandarin Chinese keep the number of sounds that need to be learned to about one tenth of those in English. Comparing and contrasting words that sound very similar helps you to remember them more easily and produce them more accurately.

For example

下山
(中文) 山下

eg. If you learn that 山 means “mountain” and 下 means “down”, you can work out for yourself that the Chinese for “mountains” is 山, “go down” is 下, “under” is also 下, “go down the mountain” is 下山, “under the mountain” is 山下 etc.

For example

tāng

eg. If you learn that tāng = “soup”, discovering that táng = “sugar”, tǎng = “lie down” and tàng = “scald” will help you remember all 4 words and that “soup” has the 1st tone.

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Navigate The World With Confidence

We can now access anything we need to know (like the sound of a word, the stroke order of a character, or the structure of a sentence) via our computers and phones at any time. But knowing something is not the same as being able to use it with confidence.

“It’s not what you know that matters but what you can do with what you know”

By using technology to enable each learner to acquire and practice what they need to know, teachers can focus instead on helping them to grow in confidence by using that knowledge to explore the whole new world that Mandarin Chinese opens up.

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