Introducing MSL Master - Mandarin as a Second Language

MSL Master stands for Mandarin as a second language master. This name reflects who our students are and what our approach is to teaching and learning Mandarin Chinese. Our students are non-Chinese speakers who have grasped their first language. And our approach is to help students master Chinese and to help them become a master of Chinese.

We have come to realisation that learning Chinese successfully requires students’ dedication and stimulating learning materials. While students bring in their willingness to the class, we bring in two series of Chinese textbooks which can take them from beginners to language proficiency and cultural literacy. 

The two series of Chinese textbooks, the Mandarin Express series and the Chinese Reading and Writing series, are inter-related, defining a learning path comprised of four stages: Introduction, Foundation, Development, and Acculturation. This path has exciting built-in learning curves. Understand which stage they are in will prepare students both psychologically and physically for the best learning outcome.

These Chinese textbooks are available for all learners of Mandarin Chinese as a second language, as well as Chinese teachers who teach Mandarin Chinese as a second language. Check out the price list here. The shipping is free. 

Learning Chinese is a complex and a highly stimulating activity. With the limited page count and the necessary choices made to present knowledge, two sets of Chinese textbooks can not possibly cover all the aspects of learning. Indeed, real learning happens everywhere, outside of classroom, and outside of textbooks. To contribute to this external part of learning, we have created a Resource page where we share our knowledge and experience in teaching and learning Chinese. 

MSL Master’s founder is Chinese teacher April Zhang. She remembers her English learning days clearly, and knows what it was like when the listening and speaking skills lagged far behind the reading and writing skills. In establishing MSL Master in Hong Kong, her goal is to transform the old fashioned, reading and writing based Chinese curriculum, into a communication based Chinese curriculum. Thus, she slowly developed, and refines constantly, the two series of Chinese textbooks. Over the years, she has helped many students get outstanding learning results. Moreover, she has presented her papers and shared her teaching experience with many Chinese teachers in major conferences and book fairs. 

For non-Chinese speakers in Hong Kong, who are keen to follow April’s Chinese curriculum, they can either sign up for her private Mandarin lessons or join a group class. For those who are not in Hong Kong, one option is now available, April’s online lessons on reading and writing Chinese, which are free of charge, without any opt in requirements. 

Reasons Not to Learn Chinese

As a Hong Kong based education solution company, our mission is to focus on teaching and learning Mandarin as a second language, and developing materials and methodologies for non-Chinese speakers. And we encourage everyone to learn Chinese, to understand and to appreciate the cultural differences.

However, we also acknowledge that, while many students have succeeded in learning Chinese, more have failed. Therefore, we’d like to warn all potential students of what is coming. For those who have the wrong beliefs, it is the best not to learn Chinese, or at least know when to stop learning. 

For those who want to learn Chinese because they have heard that Chinese is so easy because it has no tenses, no verb conjugations, no plural forms, they should not learn Chinese. Chinese, one of the hardest languages on Earth, is going to smash them into pieces. 

For those who want to learn Chinese because they have to write academic papers on Chinese cultures or politics, think about nobody is going to read those papers anyway, it is the best not to learn Chinese. Choose a different language.

For those who are lured by the beautiful Chinese calligraphy, they don’t need the knowledge of Chinese language to appreciate the art! So there is no need to learn Chinese. 

For those who believe that pinyin is a substitute for Chinese characters, that they can speak fluent Mandarin without the need of learning any characters, they should know that they can reach a good level where they can carry on social talks, but not any higher. When they are confused by so many similar sounding words with such different meanings, it is time to stop learning Chinese. And don’t expect to understand the Chinese evening news. 

The list can go on. 

To conclude, learning Chinese is fun, stimulating, and rewarding, but it is also difficult, and requires long hours of study. It is better to know why you are learning Mandarin Chinese.


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