Getting Help Learning Mandarin – What To Do When There Is No Teacher To Ask!!
Internet Forums – The way we ask and answer the most challenging questions while learning Chinese online!
“HELP! I’ve got a language question and there’s no teacher to ask!”
Think back to studying, well, anything in a classroom….There’s always a teacher or an expert we can go to for answers to our silly questions, right?
BUT…when we learn a language online, it can be a lot harder to get help! Luckily for us, we’re not the first ones to have this problem (unless you’re trying to learn Sanskrit online, I suppose!!).
Welcome to the world of internet forums. Ever wonder what happens when you type a question into Google? The people that usually have the answers for all of the questions we ask, most of them post their replies in online forums!
How will these forums help us to learn Mandarin? Well…
- We can use them to find a tutor! – Often, these forums are the perfect place to go and find a ‘real life’ person, either a study buddy or a tutor, to help us learn Mandarin.
- When you have a question, someone has probably asked it before! – Online forums are the place to go if you’ve got a question! The odds are, someone has asked (and answered) your question already!
- Do you miss the experience of studying alongside classmates? – Well, online forums are a great place to share your learning experiences, as well as connecting with other people who are going through the same journey as us!
And the best thing about online forums – They’re free! While some forums may want us to subscribe, you’ll discover that they will almost never ask you to pay any money. Why? Because usually they’re started by others who enjoy sharing their passion for languages with other people, including us!
So, what are some of the forums which we can access to get help with our study of Mandarin? Here’s a short list to get us started!
Reddit is known as the ‘Front Page of the Internet’. It has forums (or subreddits) on almost everything we can think of, including studying Chinese! It even has a dedicated thread where users can ask other community member to translate difficult words or phrases for them! Because reddit is so popular, there are almost always people active of the r/ChineseLanguage subreddit. One of the great things about the subreddit is that all users are encouraged to contribute to discussions, just remember that this means you as well!
While Forumosa may not be as easy to navigate as Reddit, it certainly makes up for it with the variety of topics to choose from! Where other forums are sometimes only related to studying the language, Forumosa has forums on everything from tutor-advice, employment, restaurants, you name it!
Linguaholic is another language-specific forum which appeals to the whole range of students, from beginners through to the most advanced students. It is no longer as active as some of the other forums, however there is still a whole range of useful information here for us! Linguaholic has a whole range of sub-forums covering everything from general discussion, Hanzi, literature and conversation practice.
DigMandarin has two forum categories – Language and Culture. Similar to Forumosa, DigMandarin has sub-forums on a range of interesting topics, such as employment and tutor recommendation. It is still quite active, although not quite as ‘busy’ as some of the more popular forums. Still, your questions should still get an answer here!
Chinese-forums has been around for over 15 years and is still one of the most active internet language forums around! There are so many users on this site both day and night, that if you’re lucky, you can get answers to your question or request for translation almost instantaneously! Similar to the other sites, it also has a variety of sub-forums where we can go to get specific advice for studying, exams, listening etc.
Scabbin is a great place to go to find a study buddy in any language! It can be very confusing for new users, simply because it is so busy, but the language-buddy option is great! This allows us to search for other people looking to chat over Skype or Whatsapp, both native Chinese speakers and others like us who are learning!
InterPals is very similar to Scrabbin, in that it is less of a forum and more of a meeting place to link up with other people who share similar interests. It has a dedicated learning languages sub-forum and is the best place to go to find a Chinese pen pal! It is not quite as active as some of the other forums, however is still a great place to start.
Remember, we’ll never master Mandarin by ourselves, we will always need to ask a question at some point! There’s never any shame in reaching out for help! Eventually, once you have reached a certain level, you are going to need a conversation partner to practice with!
Forums are the place to go! Have fun!
This article is courtesy of Pandanese, an online learning website that teaches Chinese using SRS and neuroscience techniques to speed up the learning process and render it more manageable.