Chinese Language

Why You Cannot Learn Mandarin at Duolingo?

Why You Cannot Learn Mandarin at Duolingo?

Chao Cheng

China Market Expert Expert, Senior Partner at SinoStep
Author of Sell Online To China (Your Opportunity in China’s Booming Cross-border eCommerce Market) andHow to Build A Right Chinese Website That Works In China.

Cheng Chao has extensive expertise in China market entry, global translation & localization, cross-border business development, and global digital marketing.

Chao founded ChineseTrans, where he led a team of senior linguists to establish ChineseTrans as the market leader in professional Chinese translation services.

Since 2011, Chao has served as the managing director of SinoStep, a consulting agency helping foreign investment enter into the China market. Backed up with a strong team of China business consultants experienced in different sectors, Chao has successfully introduced dozens of overseas brands into the China market, established their operations in China on early stage and adapted their businesses to the China market.

see Chao's Bio

Latest posts by Chao Cheng (see all)

Three years ago, I casted my doubt on the English learning method at Duolingo for Chinese.

I posted my questions on

We can see the arguments between two sides of the debate.

If it was still puzzling for me then.

Now I am pretty sure to say this model can not help Chinese people to learn English, if there is no big technology change.

And Duolingo could not succeed in the China Market.

 

What is Duolingo

Duolingo is a freemium language-learning platform that includes a language-learning website and app, as well as a digital language proficiency assessment exam.

Duolingo offers all its language courses free of charge.

It is suitable for beginner-level foreign language learning.

Now you can study 28 languages from English as the source language. (You have other source language options)

The best of Duolingo’s adaptive experience lies in its gamified elements.

It makes language learning fun for some learners.

Many people aiming to be polyglots love this platform.

duo1 duo2

 

 

The Cost: Illusion of Success at Duolingo

Duolingo is a good tool for the entry level language study.

But only for the entry phase and shall not be the only way to do language learning.

It is suitable for you to learn between western languages.

I have spent quite a long time on Duolingo and enjoyed the learning style there.

However, I found it was just a dream.

or, just a game.

I’ve learned several languages through Duolingo from English as the source language.

Let’s see my achievements there.

  • French: Level 14 (I’ve already learned it before Duolingo)
  • Spanish: Level 12 (I’ve already learned it before Duolingo)
  • Portuguese: Level 11
  • Italian: Level 10
  • German: Level 10
  • Dutch: Level 6
  • Danish: Level 1
  • Swedish: Level 1

Learn Mandarin Duolingo not feasible

Sounds impressive, huh?

If you only rely your hope to learn a new language on Duolingo.

It is impossible.

Let’s review what I have learned through Duolingo.

Let’s start from German, which I had no learning experience before I know Duolingo.

I spent quite a long time to achieve level 10,

But I could only remember the following:

  • Ich bin…I am
  • Guten Morgen…Good morning!
  • Guten Tag…Good morning!
  • Mein Name ist…My name is
  • Guten Abend…Good evening.
  • Wie heisen Sie? What is your name?
  • Danke…Thank you!
  • Entschuldigung…Excuse me.

And, nothing more…

The key is, I am not sure whether the pronunciation there on Duolingo is correct or not.

Let’s talk about Dutch.

I got level 6 at Duolingo.

To be honest, I could not remember anything right now.

If it is only a game.

It’s not a big deal.

But for language learning.

I don’t think it’s a good idea.

 

My Doubt on Duolingo

Duolingo’s learning method works for languages in close families.

But it totally does not work for English Learning from Mandarin, or Mandarin Learning from English other languages ( they do not support Mandarin learning yet).

The same failure will happen to English learning from Japanese, Koprean learning from English etc.

I casted my doubt on Duolingo community three years ago

And I faced fierce challenges from Duolingo supporters.

It is easy to understand that you are challenging their learning model in their home.

I wanted to figure this out.

So I posted further discussions on Zhihu and my own blog.

And I did further research on this.

I talked to many English learners, Polyglots and Duolingo users at different levels in China.

This topic has been the hot one in all the major Duolingo online communities in China.

 

The Criticism

The criticism mainly comes from two kinds of people.

One believes in machine learning can rule the world.

The other trusts Duolingo’s magical power.

The funny part is.

Both of them do not learn English from Mandarin.

The reason why they truly believe in the success of English learning from mandarin is:

  • They achieved “big progress” in their German Learning from English and Spanish Learning from French.
  •  There should be no exception.
  • We should believe in the big technology change.

Be grownups!

I am not so pessimistic about the future.

And I did not deny the whole learning model of Duolingo.

I am just sharing my observations and we can only get progresses by overcoming the limitations.

The huge differences between different language structures are the reasons behind.

I’d like to ask another question.

Did you learn English from Mandarin on Duolingo?

 

Who Are Victims?

I’d talked to over two dozens of China English learners on Duolingo.

They are confused and not sure whether this could work for them.

It seems nothing changes and there are many bugs with the English learning from Mandarin.

It is not that fun, to be honest.

I shared some obvious mistakes at the post Is it kidding to use Duolingo to learn English from Chinese? – Sinostep .

I am not sure what big changes Duoling could have now.

The real victims are those Chinese people who want to improve their English through Duolingo.

Anyway, we need to face the reality before solving the technology issue and model problem.

 

China Market for Duolingo

Another victim is Duolingo itself.

English learning in China is a huge market.

Many Chinese spend a lot of time and money on English learning but get poor results.

Duolingo is just a trial for most people.

If Duolingo can really solve the problem, even for the entry level learning.

Dulingo can achieve a great success.

Practices ( Time) will become the final judge.

Three years passed, We did not see any successful stories to learn English from Mandarin.

The real Duolingo users are mainly a small group of zealous fans to be polyglots.

They are good at English and want to learn more European languages.

It is a very limited number of people and a very small niche market.

 

Learning Mandarin Duolingo

What’s the next target language?

In Duolingo, Most people expect Mandarin to be the next target language.

But it is still not the right time.

There are problems in both technology and the model.

 

Chao Magic: Exploring the effective ways to learn foreign languages

I spent years in finding effective ways to learn foreign languages.

And they can be much better than Duolingo.

Best Way to Learn Chinese

 

 

It can also be free.

It is possible if you can follow your study plan and apply Chao Chinese Magic to build your Mandarin Chinese environment.

Of course, there is a more effective way to do it if you can not keep on doing it.

Finding a 1on1 Online Coach at Chao Magic English is a very effective way to make your learning more efficient and faster.

Many people are looking for secrets to learn a new language fast.

The real secret is using the right method and keep working on it.

Chao Magic English: Best Way to Teach English Online in China – Sinostep

Best Way to Learn Chinese – Sinostep

Best Way to Learn Chinese

Best Way to Learn Chinese

Chao Cheng

China Market Expert Expert, Senior Partner at SinoStep
Author of Sell Online To China (Your Opportunity in China’s Booming Cross-border eCommerce Market) andHow to Build A Right Chinese Website That Works In China.

Cheng Chao has extensive expertise in China market entry, global translation & localization, cross-border business development, and global digital marketing.

Chao founded ChineseTrans, where he led a team of senior linguists to establish ChineseTrans as the market leader in professional Chinese translation services.

Since 2011, Chao has served as the managing director of SinoStep, a consulting agency helping foreign investment enter into the China market. Backed up with a strong team of China business consultants experienced in different sectors, Chao has successfully introduced dozens of overseas brands into the China market, established their operations in China on early stage and adapted their businesses to the China market.

see Chao's Bio

Latest posts by Chao Cheng (see all)

What is the best way to learn Chinese?

How to learn mandarin fast?

Many Mandarin Chinese learners tried various ways to learn the language but get poor results.

Unlike other roman languages, Mandarin Chinese seems to be one of the most difficult languages to learn in the world.

Are there secrets to master this language within a short time?

Yes, there are.

We found the secrets from teaching English online in China at Chao Magic English.

We applied the same methods in teaching Chinese online and it works very well.

What’s the Secret?

It’s quite simple.

  • We Use Chinese, not learn Chinese.
  • And use it everyday, say, 365 days a year.

The success comes from your long-term commitment.

But what is the magic that you can keep using the language?

Chao Magic Chinese: Best Way to Learn Chinese

We found the magic suitable for Mandarin Chinese Learning as the second language from many real case studies.

You will only devote your time in Chinese learning when you find it full of fun.

The core value of Chao Magic Chinese is 6 methods to learn real Mandarin

The methods are easy to understand and you can use it from Day ONE.

1. Listen to Best Chosen Mandarin Stories & Songs
2. Recite, Retell, and Repeat
3. Write Daily Journals
4. Role Play: Practical Mandarin Practices
5. Enhance Your Chinese Search Skills
6. Talk to Chinese

 

Best Way to Learn Chinese

Chengbao promised to provide illustrated pictures for this post: Best Way to Learn Chinese, this is her note

Make a Plan Before You Start

Design your own study plan and learning style according to your real needs.

  • Do you only need mandarin listening and speaking skills?
  • How much time will you spend on mandarin learning every day?
  • What are possible scenarios that you may use mandarin Chinese?

How to Choose the Mandarin Resources?

You must choose:

  • What you are familiar with.
  • What you are experienced with.
  • What you are interested in.
  • What are relevant to your working scenarios.

and they should be

  • Suitable for your current level.
  • The best materials in this world.
  • Working for your mandarin learning.

What’s More Important? Characters vs. Sentences

We never encourage you to memorize every Chinese character.

But we encourage you to memorize, recite, and repeat useful sentences.

Basic Chinese characters are very useful.

However, it is wasting time, or even worse, harmful to remember every Chinese character.

OK, now let me explain the real magic behind.

Chao Chinese Magic 1: Listen to Best Chosen Mandarin Stories & Songs

We all love stories and songs.

They are great for entertainment.

And they are also wonderful tools to learn mandarin Chinese.

You can learn real life mandarin conversations and expressions through regular listening practices.

It will save you a lot of time if you do it right.

  • You can get better results through 10 minutes proper listening than 2-hour movie time.

The key is to find good quality materials suitable for you current level.

Chao Chinese Magic 2: Recite, Retell, and Repeat

Most mandarin Chinese learners are too shy to open their mouths.

They don’t know what to speak, even though they learned a lot through reading and listening.

Silence is the enemy of language learning.

Many people are not confident enough to use what they’ve learned.

Here comes another magic:

You should Recite, Retell and Repeat.

It is easy for many people to memorize lyrics of foreign songs, even though they’ve got no idea of the real meanings.

Recite: Chao encourages mandarin students to recite some good texts and memorize them.

Retell: You can retell the same story in a different way, in your own words. In this way, we will know you understand what the story tells.

Repeat: Repeat is the secret of long term memory.

Chao Chinese Magic 3: Writing Daily Journals*

Writing Daily Journals is a challenge for mandarin Chinese learners.

It sounds crazy since Chinese learning seems so difficult, especially for beginners.

However, this is a method that Chao found most effective in Chinese learning.

Writing your daily journals in Chinese can help you organize what you have learned.

Us Chinese as much as you can.

You can use what you’ve heard and what you’ve read.

You can rephrase them.

Write daily journals everyday, make it as a habit.

Chao Chinese Magic 4: Role Play: Practical Mandarin Practices*

As a serious Mandarin Chinese learner, you’ve already started listening to stories, retelling the stories, and writing journal everyday.

What’s the next magic?

List all the common scenarios you would probably use mandarin Chinese.

Then, be the guy in your scenarios and do the role play!

  • Rewrite the story and use different 5W1H.
  • Make self-Introduction at Interviews.
  • Be a host in a dinner party.
  • Tell a story on the stage.
  • Make a sales pitch to your potential clients.

This is amazing.

Because this is why you want to learn Chinese.

You want to use real mandarin Chinese in your life, or in your work.

A lot of foreigners have been living in China for several years, but most of them can only say some daily social terms like “Nihao”(你好, Hello) and “xiexie!”(谢谢, Thank you!), even after spending a long time in learning mandarin.

What is the problem?

Because many people never use Chinese in their real life.

Chao Chinese Magic 5: Enhance Your Chinese Search Skills

You are not learning a new language, but learning a new culture.

Make full use of Chinese resources to find what you need.

Understand the difference between Chinese culture and Western culture.

Validate your expressions through search results and it is quick and effective.

Make sure you can survive in the Chinese language environment.

If not, find out why.

Chao Chinese Magic 6: Talk to Chinese

A language is useless if you do not communicate.

Create opportunities to talk to native Chinese.

Chao Magic Chinese does not recommend you to find a language exchange.

Some possible better ways are

  • Be involved in Chinese social network: Weibo
  • Be involved in Chinese instant message tools: QQ & Wechat
  • Be involved in Chinese Q&A platform: Baidu Zhidao etc.
  • Be involved in Chinee forums and communities.
  • Take mandarin classes online.
  • Find an 1on1 mandarin coach online.
  • Talk to native Chinese speaking people you’ve met.

Beginners: How to Start Mandarin Learning from Zero?

For new Mandarin Chinese learners.

You can apply the above magic methods to make big progress in Mandarin learning.

A solid foundation shall be built together with some mandarin learning tools

Basic Elements

  • Pinyin system: helping your pronunciation, esp, the tone.
  • Basic Chinese characters. Step by step, you can start from the very basic Chinese characters. Stroke by stroke, you will learn how to write Chinese in the correct way.

Immersion Learning: Build Your Own Mandarin Environment

The best way to learn Chinese is to use it as much as you can.

Living with Mandarin Chinese as a lifestyle.

Find your own way to build a Mandarin Chinese environment and immerse yourself in it.

Use your mandarin every day.

Apply Chao English Magic in your daily life.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Chinese Fluently?

It really depends on your daily input.

If you can follow the right study plan and devote at least 30 mins a day.

You will find it really easy to use the language and master it in a very short time, say, several months.

DIY or Find a Coach?

Is DIY possible?

It is possible if you can follow your study plan and apply Chao Chinese Magic to build your Mandarin Chinese environment.

There is a more effective way to do it.

Finding a Coach at Chao Magic Chinese is a very effective way to make your learning more efficient and faster.

Chao Magic Chinese: 1on1 Online Mandarin Coaching

Customized study plan for every student.

Tailor made assignments and lessons for every student.

Chao Business School: How Do We Coach Online?

  • 365 Day 1on1 Coaching: Get experienced mandarin coach every day.
  • Study Plan: Customized study plan for every student according to the real situation.
  • Mini Lessons: Online text lessons customized for the student.
  • Assignments: Tailor made assignments, workouts and tasks.
  • Q&A: Questions and puzzles on mandarin learning.
  • Weekly Progress Report: Keep track of progress everyday.
  • Weekly Reviews: Comprehensive comments on the progress.
  • Listening: Dictation is the most effective method. we select suitable audio and video materials for students.
  • Speaking: Recite the story, and retell the story.
  • Writing: Rephrase the story, and write daily journals.
  • Business Mandarin Practices: Improvements on search skills, Email writing, self Introduction, proposal writing, presentations, meetings, and research writing etc.

Special Offer:

Chao Business School 1on1 Mandarin Chinese Coach

  • USD9,000/year, now USD7,200/year
  • USD3,000/year, now USD2,500/quarter
  • USD1,200/year, now USD1,000/month

Top 10 Online Chinese Mandarin Courses

Top 10 Online Chinese Mandarin Courses

Chao Cheng

China Market Expert Expert, Senior Partner at SinoStep
Author of Sell Online To China (Your Opportunity in China’s Booming Cross-border eCommerce Market) andHow to Build A Right Chinese Website That Works In China.

Cheng Chao has extensive expertise in China market entry, global translation & localization, cross-border business development, and global digital marketing.

Chao founded ChineseTrans, where he led a team of senior linguists to establish ChineseTrans as the market leader in professional Chinese translation services.

Since 2011, Chao has served as the managing director of SinoStep, a consulting agency helping foreign investment enter into the China market. Backed up with a strong team of China business consultants experienced in different sectors, Chao has successfully introduced dozens of overseas brands into the China market, established their operations in China on early stage and adapted their businesses to the China market.

see Chao's Bio

Latest posts by Chao Cheng (see all)

1. Chinese for Beginners: Mastering Mandarin Basics in 4 hours

Learn to communicate in Chinese from scratch; make your life in China easier; learn about Chinese language and culture.

2. Chinese Online Mandarin courses in 7 days – Perfect for Beginners

Learn Mandarin Chinese in fun and interactive ways with Ned!

3. Speak Mandarin in 1 Month

Apply these Quick Steps and Speak Mandarin INSTANTLY!

4. College Mandarin Chinese on Your Own advanced Level 1

learn one semester’s advanced college Chinese curriculum in just one months and save 6000 dollars of tuition

5. College Mandarin Chinese on Your Own Advanced Level 2

Learn one semester of advanced Chinese in just one month and save 6000 dollars of college tuition

 

6. New Concept Mandarin-A New Way to Learn Chinese with Julia

Learn Chinese with top Mandarin teacher in a fun and easy way

7. wtf mandarin – Beginner Conversational Chinese

English to Chinglish to Chinese – learn to speak basic Mandarin in 4 hours

8. Mandarin Chinese Pronunciation: Learn to speak like a native

Mandarin tones and pronunciation course for speakers of all levels.

9. Learn these first! 1917 basic Chinese (Mandarin) phrases

Learn 1,917 basic phrases with this course, and you will be able to express the things around you in Chinese language.

10. Beginner’s Mandarin Chinese

A brief intro for the complete beginner

 

 

 

Do not ruin your Chinese SEO by common mistakes

Do not ruin your Chinese SEO by common mistakes

Chao Cheng

China Market Expert Expert, Senior Partner at SinoStep
Author of Sell Online To China (Your Opportunity in China’s Booming Cross-border eCommerce Market) andHow to Build A Right Chinese Website That Works In China.

Cheng Chao has extensive expertise in China market entry, global translation & localization, cross-border business development, and global digital marketing.

Chao founded ChineseTrans, where he led a team of senior linguists to establish ChineseTrans as the market leader in professional Chinese translation services.

Since 2011, Chao has served as the managing director of SinoStep, a consulting agency helping foreign investment enter into the China market. Backed up with a strong team of China business consultants experienced in different sectors, Chao has successfully introduced dozens of overseas brands into the China market, established their operations in China on early stage and adapted their businesses to the China market.

see Chao's Bio

Latest posts by Chao Cheng (see all)

After you launch your Chinese website,the most important job is to implement your Chinese online marketing strategy.

Most people think they can win at China SEO, especially when they had experience about English SEO.

I will show you common Chinese SEO mistakes that will ruin your online marketing efforts.

Do not ruin your Chinese SEO by common mistakes

Do not ruin your Chinese SEO by common mistakes

Continue reading

ChineseSkill vs Duolingo: Who will be successful in Chinese Learning?

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ChineseSkill vs Duolingo: Who will be successful in Chinese Learning?

Chao Cheng

China Market Expert Expert, Senior Partner at SinoStep
Author of Sell Online To China (Your Opportunity in China’s Booming Cross-border eCommerce Market) andHow to Build A Right Chinese Website That Works In China.

Cheng Chao has extensive expertise in China market entry, global translation & localization, cross-border business development, and global digital marketing.

Chao founded ChineseTrans, where he led a team of senior linguists to establish ChineseTrans as the market leader in professional Chinese translation services.

Since 2011, Chao has served as the managing director of SinoStep, a consulting agency helping foreign investment enter into the China market. Backed up with a strong team of China business consultants experienced in different sectors, Chao has successfully introduced dozens of overseas brands into the China market, established their operations in China on early stage and adapted their businesses to the China market.

see Chao's Bio

Latest posts by Chao Cheng (see all)

  Who is ChineseSkill?

Today an app named ChineseSkill (https://itunes.apple…ill/id777111034 ) came into my sight, and I am really curious to check further about it.

basically it’s an app using similar gamification mechanism to learn the languages.

the major differences are the target languages are Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese and source language is English.

The developer claims at a forum where many western people are learning Chinese. Continue reading

Is it kidding to use Duolingo to learn English from Chinese?

duolingo2

Is it kidding to use Duolingo to learn English from Chinese?

Chao Cheng

China Market Expert Expert, Senior Partner at SinoStep
Author of Sell Online To China (Your Opportunity in China’s Booming Cross-border eCommerce Market) andHow to Build A Right Chinese Website That Works In China.

Cheng Chao has extensive expertise in China market entry, global translation & localization, cross-border business development, and global digital marketing.

Chao founded ChineseTrans, where he led a team of senior linguists to establish ChineseTrans as the market leader in professional Chinese translation services.

Since 2011, Chao has served as the managing director of SinoStep, a consulting agency helping foreign investment enter into the China market. Backed up with a strong team of China business consultants experienced in different sectors, Chao has successfully introduced dozens of overseas brands into the China market, established their operations in China on early stage and adapted their businesses to the China market.

see Chao's Bio

Latest posts by Chao Cheng (see all)

I love Duolingo, but I don’t think it’s wise to learn English from Duolingo Chinese.

This post was originally posted on Duolingo Discussion board three years ago.

I shared my opinion on this since I really love foreign language learning through duolingo and would like to see how duolingo will go for Asian languages, especially Chinese.

After three years, Chinese had not yet been added as a target language here at Duolingo.

Here is my magic to learn Mandarin Chinese,

I guess it is way more difficult than many people imagine to do it through Duolingo.

If possible, I really want to see whether there are some successful case studies to learn English, French or Spanish from Chinese.

What is the Best Way to Learn English?

Three years later, I have my own online English school targeting on Chinese English learners and it’s  working really well.

Is Duolingo A Good Way to Learn English From Chinese?

Effective Learning European Languages through Duolingo, however, Is it kidding to use Duolingo to learn English from Chinese?

Effective Learning European Languages through Duolingo: On my 128 days streak

Continue reading

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