Alex’s Chinese Challenge – Getting started

Meet hyperpolyglot Alex Rawlings, winner of the 2011 Collins Livemocha search for the Most Multilingual Student in Britain

 Alex’s  language skills were assessed by  eleven native-speaking judges who all confirmed his  proficiency in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Greek, Catalan, Dutch, Hebrew, Afrikaans, Russian (and English!). Don’t believe us? Then take a look for yourself…

Alex doesn’t want to stop there though and has set himself a new challenge – to learn Chinese in just 10 weeks! Read his Chinese Challenge reports to find out how he gets on, and to see what tips he has for you when learning a new language.

Chinese challenge – Week 1

I’ve just come to the end of the first week of the Chinese challenge! Every day for about half an hour I’ve been working on my Chinese, using the Collins Easy Learning Mandarin Audio Course, Easy Learning Chinese Characters and Chinese Language and Culture book. It’s been really good fun and I’m really enjoying using the variety of materials available.

So far I’ve listened to the first three units of the audio course a few times on the way to and from work, and read two chapters of the culture book, which is really interesting reading about Chinese history and the way the language is spoken in practice. I’ve learnt 5 Chinese characters so far, but I’ve been concentrating on the audio side so I can get used to the sound and rhythm of the language first. So far I can introduce myself, greet people, ask how they are, and say whether or not I speak English or Chinese. The tone system is quite challenging though, and I’d like to speak to a native speaker to make sure I’m getting it right!

Next week I’m going to concentrate more on reading and writing, hopefully learn five to ten characters a day, while still listening to the audio course. But Chinese seems like a fascinating language, and I’m really glad to have got this opportunity to study it!

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