Mandarin Chinese

In mid-March, 2009, I started my lifelong journey of learning the Mandarin Chinese language. Unlike many Chinese students, I started this journey with no formal credentials, no formal tuition structure, no money and according to some people who taught me at the time; no hope. However there were a few things that I did have: will, desire, passion, and a thirst for success that is never satiated.

Now I have been self-studying Chinese for over five years. In 2009 my circumstances permitted me to study almost full time for about 8 months; by myself, with friends, with my small whiteboard. I had voice recordings, I had friends willing to sit on the grass and teach me, I had all of the frustrations, discouragement, and joy that anyone with a serious undertaking of learning a foreign language would have. I felt the ecstasy of success, and the vexation of failure.

I don’t pretend to be a Chinese speaking expert. There are many more successful foreign Chinese learning students in the world than me, and I’ve had the privilege of meeting some and having a chat in Chinese with them. I do, however, have confidence in my ability to identify mistakes and improve them, along with having a learning methodology that I’d wager is better than almost any other; not some kind of “learn Chinese in 10 days” quick fix that doesn’t actually work, but a deep, long term immersion method with thousands of hours of real practice.

I’ve had the privilege of teaching Chinese to several foreign language learning students; but unfortunately, as of writing this — so far, not one has persisted to fluency. Chinese is not something that you “learn sometime” (like learning “how to play chess sometime”) — it is a journey of thousands of hours of practice, dedication, and love.

This section of my blog is dedicated to discussing and teaching Chinese, but not the kind that you will find elsewhere. This is not “five quick greetings in Chinese” or “how to say the colours in Chinese”, this is where I showcase the best of the best that I can produce in Chinese in terms of education and discussion; the deepest phrases, the most complex grammatical principles (like the counterfactual / subjunctive) and the most fascinating mappings of meanings between English and Chinese.

I hope you enjoy.

Shawn Powrie

Recent articles I’ve written about Chinese are shown below:

Chinese