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Audio Lessons

Mandarin Express Intro Level A

The first audio course. It includes a total of 12 audio lessons. Listen to two sample lessons here, Lesson 2 & Lesson 8.

Lesson 1 - pīnyīn 拼音

In this lesson, teacher April explains the pinyin system. She demonstrates how to pronounce the Initials, the Finals, and the four tones. (A beginner’s guide to pinyin pronunciations is available. While pinyin being a very useful tool, students also need to know pinyin’s limitations. Read Why learning Mandarin using (only) Pinyin will create more hurdles and Does “shi li” mean “strength” in Chinese?) 

After pinyin, students learn how to say “I”, “you”, “we”, and etc, in Chinese, how to say some world famous cities in Chinese, as well as countries and nationalities. 

This lesson ends with learning how to ask and answer the question “Where are you from?” in Chinese. 

Lesson 2 - nǐ hǎo ma 你好吗?

In this lesson, students learn basic greetings, and how to ask “what’s your name” in Chinese. Also, some fundamental sentence patterns and the structure of Chinese names are introduced. (If interested to know more about Chinese names, read Give yourself a good Chinese name!)

A commonly used word, “hěn ”, first appears in this lesson. It is almost always translated into “very”. April explains the best way to understand its meaning. (It is also explained in this article: The mistranslated Chinese character - 很 hěn) 

Lesson 3 - yī, èr, sān 一, 二, 三

This lesson teaches numbers in Chinese. After this lesson, you’ll be able to count from zero up to tens of millions. You’ll also be able to ask “what is your telephone number” in Chinese, as well as age. 

The number one frequently used character, “de ”, first appears in this lesson, to construct words such as “your” and “my”. This is where it is often considered as indicating “possessive”. But this is not the best way to understand the function of “de ”. To get a more complete picture about this character, read 的 de - a structural particle in Chinese.

Lesson 4 - xiànzài jǐdiǎn le 现在几点了?

In this lesson, students learn to tell time, days of the week, months and dates, and five key words to differentiate AM and PM in Chinese. 

“liǎng ”, another word for “two”, makes its first appearance in this lesson. To understand the difference between the two Chinese words for “two”, read Difference between 二 èr and 两 liǎng in Chinese 

Lesson 5 - cèsuǒ zài nǎr 厕所在哪儿?

In this lesson, students learn how to say places around town in Chinese, such as “train station”, “supermarket”, “bookstore”, and so on. An important sentence pattern is introduced to help students structure their words correctly. 

A nice and short introduction of Hong Kong is presented. Students are encouraged to use it as an example and practice talking about other cities.

Lesson 1- 5 Review

After having learned so much Chinese, it is a good time to pause a little, to consolidate the previous lessons, and to work on some integrated exercises, which will help students both mentally and physically, and enables them to achieve better learning result.

In this lesson, teacher April uses five topics to walk students through previous learnings. To get the most out of this audio lesson, follow her instructions, and she has some questions for students to answer.

Lesson 6 - wǒ zǎoshang qī diǎn qǐchuáng 我早上七点起床

In this lesson, students learn how to say many daily activities in Chinese, such as “to get up”, “to go home”, “to work out”, “window shopping”, and so on. 

Teacher April uses a conversation to introduce the necessary vocabularies and structures for setting up a lunch appointment with some one. 

How to ask “what are you are doing” is also presented in this lesson.

Lesson 7 - nǐ zuótiān xuéxí le ma 你昨天学习了吗?

In this lesson, students will expand their vocabulary of telling time, saying words like “last weekend”, “last month”, and “the year after the next”, and practice describing past events, as well as speaking about future plans.

“le ” is introduced for its usage to describe completed actions and to signify a change of status. Teacher April would like to remind everybody that it is not a marker for past tense. (If interested to learn more, read this article, Attention! “了 le” does not indicate past tense in Chinese.)

April also explains differences between “méiyǒu 没有” and “bù ”,  and between “xiǎng ” and “yào ”.

Lesson 8 - wǒ zhù zài xiānggǎng 我住在香港。

Some cities and countries were introduced in Lesson 1. In this lesson, more are added. Moreover, students will learn how to say some major languages in Chinese, such as “Spanish”, “Portuguese”, “German”, and so on.

The focus of this lesson is to practice how to do self-introductions, and to talk about neighbourhoods. Two important sentence patterns are presented, as well as some position words, such as “left”, “in front”, and etc. April explains where these position words should go in sentences.

Lesson 9 - píngguǒ duōshǎoqián 苹果多少钱?

This lesson is about food, saying “broccoli”, “carrots”, “soya milk”, and so on, in Chinese. Students also practice talking about their preferences for certain food. Some commonly used measure words are also introduced, as well as Chinese currency RMB and a unit of weight.  For people who’d like to haggle a little bit in a local market in China, some useful phrases are taught. 

When discussing preferences, April explains the difference between “wǒ xǐhuān chī xīguā 我喜欢吃西瓜” and “wǒ xiǎng chī xīguā 我想吃西瓜”, and when to use which.

liǎng is used a few times in this lesson. The difference between these two Chinese words for “two” is explained in this article, Difference between 二 èr and 两 liǎng in Chinese

Lesson 10 - wǒ yào dìng yī ge fángjiān 我要订一个房间

This lesson takes students to a new environment and teaches necessary vocabularies to prepare students for three scenarios that they would be very likely to encounter in a hotel, booking a room, checking in and checking out. 

Key vocabularies include common room categories and must known words in the industry, such as “standard single room”, “non-smoking room”, “passport”, “deposit”, and so on.

Lesson 6 - 10 Review

Lesson 6 - 10 have covered lots of ground in terms of vocabularies and important sentence patterns. Everything has been taught according to a theme. It is time to review, to consolidate the previous learnings, and to do more exercises in a more coherent way. 

In this lesson, April prepares five topics, which incorporate contents from different lessons. Listen and enjoy!

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April Zhang
Chinese Teacher
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