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When friends who haven’t been learning Chinese ask me how the Chinese language works, how words are built and how the tones sound, it’s hard for me to know where to start explaining. But now I might have just found the solution: Recommending them the Yoyo Chinese classes for complete beginners.
What is Yoyo Chinese?
Yoyo Chinese is an online Chinese language course which features videos to teach Chinese from an English-speaker’s perspective. It contains 3 completely structured, comprehensive 6-month courses with videos, interactive flashcards, dialogue replays and quizzes. The short and fun video lessons only last 5 minutes each and they form a clear roadmap that takes you from beginner to conversational fluency in a short time. Recently, Yoyo Chinese also launched the first lessons of a 4th, upper intermediate course.
How do you get started learning Chinese with Yoyo Chinese?
The sign up to Yoyo Chinese only takes a few seconds. You insert your e-mail address and a password and you’re good to go. In the next step you can choose to book one of the complete courses (Beginner Course, Character Course, Intermediate Course, Upper Intermediate Course) or only single levels of the different classes depending on how advanced you are and which topics interest you.
How do the Chinese language courses of Yoyo Chinese work?
The Beginner Conversational (60 Units) class creates the first bond between the learners and the Chinese language. Spoken Chinese is taught to the new students through very elaborate introductions to pinyin. These introductory videos are perfect for people who have never learned Chinese before as they explain the different sound pairs of Chinese and give tips on how to form specific sounds. As the sounds and the grammatical structures are compared to English words, these lessons are particularly suitable for English speakers.
The Chinese Character course (24 Units) leads the learners into the mysterious and fascinating world of Chinese characters. A total of the 300 most frequently used Chinese characters is taught along with pictures, their stroke order and practical examples. In between the theoretical approach to the single characters you can also find practical videos. For instance, as a beginner of learning Chinese have you ever asked yourself how Chinese people type out the characters on their phones and computers? One of the Yoyo Chinese videos has the answer for you.
After every 15 characters taught, Yoyo Chinese offers a small review lesson to make sure the learned characters also stick. At the end of the character lessons a real life situation WeChat conversation makes the students realize just how many characters they have actually learned in the past lessons and how much written Chinese they can already understand. The number one tip to better memorize the characters learned is given in one of the videos: make up little stories as you add new characters to your repertoire. This is where you can complement the process of learning through Yoyo Chinese with the visual stories from Zizzle App.
The great thing about Yoyo Chinese is that the videos are not only “serious” videos with Yoyo Chinese founder and teacher Yangyang explaining new vocabulary and the grammar. They also contain animated music sequences and a lot of real life “Chinese on the Street” interviews where real people from different Chinese cities are being interviewed on various topics by Yoyo Chinese reporters.
The Intermediate Conversational (60 units) and the recently added Upper Intermediate Conversational (so far 9 units) courses also contain many real life dialogues. The everyday language used is fast, real and it doesn’t sound artificial like in many other Chinese language courses. Dialogues are broken down to small sequences which facilitate a more focused learning. Every expression and sentence is explained on its own, along with the grammar and important cultural aspects. This way, you can learn real life, practical Chinese and many commonly used phrases and sentences. The more advanced lessons are given almost completely in Chinese, which is great for learning and for practising listening comprehension.
Every unit consists of several lessons in which the videos are around 5 minutes long. At the end of each video you can download an audio review as an mp3 file and lecture notes as a pdf. You can replay the dialogues sentence by sentence, even at a lower speed, so you can make sure that you understand every word. At the same time you can review the pinyin, the characters and the meaning of the vocabulary.
Various quizzes help you memorize what you have learned in each lesson by asking you to match pairs of words, complete sentences, translate, match images and words, choose the tones of words according to audio sequences, and build sentences. Besides, Yoyo Chinese also has a Download Center complete with Pinyin pronunciation sheets, Anki flashcards for the different lessons, quiz worksheets, audio files, lecture notes and study schedules.
In the Home area of your account Yoyo Chinese also provides you with study stats to keep you motivated while learning. Here you can see the number of your study streaks, the completed lessons, the total flashcards reviewed as well as average quiz scores.
If you are new to learning Chinese, Yoyo Chinese is the perfect tool for you as it offers a very comprehensive step by step overview of the language. One of my favourite features of the program are the study schedules which can be found in the Download Center. By having these schedules, students can learn Chinese on their own at home and keep themselves motivated by following an everyday schedule and ticking off boxes on their list of things to learn. The practical, real life language examples and the authentic dialogues offer a glimpse in the lives of Chinese people and help students who have not been to China yet to get a feeling for the country and the culture.
More advanced Chinese learners on the other hand have to be patient and wait for the next levels of the Upper Intermediate Conversational course to be released. Serious learners may also look for an additional tool to study Chinese characters in a more efficient manner. Zizzle App, which employs scientifically proven mnemonic methods is surely the leading tool out there. You can find the app for both Android and iOS.
Alexandra from Zizzle
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