The other day I stumbled on an interesting new language course called Fluenz. At the moment it’s only available for Mandarin Chinese, but a Spanish version is planned.

The course comes on a DVD-ROM and consists about 110 hours of interactive and video instruction. An American instructor, who studied Mandarin in China, explains everything in English on the videos. There are many different exercises, a glossary, and online live support is available.

The emphasis is on teaching you to communicate in Mandarin, so everyday, immediately useful language is used, and words are all written in pinyin romanization. Also included is an audio CD containing audio exercises that compliment the DVD lessons, and a booklet with all the phrases used in English, pinyin and Chinese characters.

A free demo of the course (quite a large file) is available for download on the Fluenz website

This entry was posted in Chinese, Language, Language learning.

6 Responses to Fluenz

  1. Polly says:

    @Simon or anyone else who knows

    I purchased a Mandarin home course a few years ago. It spent many, many pages on explanations of Chinese consonants and the table of syllables. No comparison was made to anything in the English alphabet for ANY letters. I gave up.
    Is Chinese really THAT different from English speech? Other places, like on the ‘net, I’ve seen Chinese pinyin lined up side-by-side with their corresponding (rough) equivalents in English. Are these oversimplified, or was my book (with CDs) just delving into too much excrutiating detail?

  2. Jeksi says:

    This service looks pretty good, as it seems to explain structure, rather than just what things roughly mean in English.
    My French book doesn’t explain the conjugation of être (or any conjugation), until Lesson 12. I don’t think it ever explains the connection between veux and voudrais, so I’d say it’s pretty bad.


    The only real difference is the accent (obviously), and the tones. So I bet your course was pretty bad.

  3. Simon says:

    Polly – The following consonants have more or less the same pronunciation in English and Mandarin: p, k, m, n, l, t and s. The other Mandarin consonants are different – the important thing to remember is that they are not voiced.

    In English, b, d and g are distinguished from p, k and t only by voicing. In initial position, the latter are aspirated, while elsewhere they are not.

    In Chinese, b, d and g are distinguished from p, k and t only by aspiration – the former are never voiced, while the latter are always aspirated.

    A good guide to Mandarin pronunciation can be found on sinosplice.

  4. Colm says:

    Gura míle a Simon! 🙂

  5. Polly says:

    Thanks Jeksi for the feedback.

    And Thank you Simon for the explanation and the link.
    The link gets into the deeper explanations for the truly different consonants, rather than EVERY single letter like my book did, so that’s a big help. Too much information sometimes just obfuscates the important points.

    Xie4 Xie4

  6. Kate (austin) says:

    I am trying to decide whether to order this program for spanish or some other. I have a mac, so my software options are limited. Has anyone used the spanish, and how is it?

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