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Chinese (Mandarin) Level 1 Lessons 1-5

Learn to Speak and Understand Mandarin Chinese with Pimsleur Language Programs
By: Pimsleur
Narrated by: Pimsleur
Series: Pimsleur Mandarin Chinese, Book 1
Length: 2 hrs and 48 mins
Categories: Languages, Other Languages
4.5 out of 5 stars (49 ratings)

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Summary

The Pimsleur® Method: the easiest, fastest way to learn a new language. Completely portable, easily downloadable, and lots of fun. You'll be speaking and understanding in no time flat! 

Each lesson in lessons 1 to 5 provides 30 minutes of spoken language practice, with an introductory conversation and new vocabulary and structures. Detailed instructions enable you to understand and participate in the conversation. Each lesson contains practice for vocabulary introduced in previous lessons. The emphasis is on pronunciation and comprehension and on learning to speak Mandarin Chinese. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2000 Simon & Schuster (P)2010 Simon & Schuster

Critic reviews

"Pimsleur programs provide plenty of positive reinforcement that will keep learners on track, and we found that Pimsleur gave us more proficiency and confidence in speaking the new language than any of the other language programs we reviewed." (AudioFile magazine)

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Easy to learn

Very helpful but useful if you can use a written version of the text too to help with pronunciation. Repetition in each unit seems to help

1 person found this helpful

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great learning programme

great resource for learning and language. It gets you speaking quickly. very useful if you practice everyday. for fluency you'll also need to find a teacher but this gives you the basics.

1 person found this helpful

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So we'll put together!

At first I thought the order it taught things in was odd. But after a trip to China...the order is exactly the order you need! Very well researched and put together. A great piece of work.

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Does what it says on the tin

It does it in a way that makes learning how to speak Chinese a lot easier!! 🙌

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sandy
  • 22-01-13

Very useful!

I'm writing this review on the beginning units so it will be of use to anybody contemplating trying these lessons. I have all three phases and have been in China and I would highly recommend this course. For me, these have been very useful tools for laying the ground work for speaking Mandarin. With only these lessons I have been able to get around in China and generally convey what I need.

49 people found this helpful

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  • Robert W. Drues
  • 11-08-15

Too inconsistent

What disappointed you about Chinese (Man) Phase 1, Unit 01-05?

sometimes simple words were repeated multiple times with admonitions to pronounce them correctly, while other times, complicated and difficult multi-word phrases were not broken down so that they could be repeated correctly

What was one of the most memorable moments of Chinese (Man) Phase 1, Unit 01-05?

Realizing How difficult the Mandarin language is for an English speaking person to learn.

What didn’t you like about the narrator’s performance?

The phrases were frequently said rapidly by the chinese speaker without breaking them into simpler words. It is good to hear these words as a native speaker would say them, but without the breakdown, it becomes impossible to repeat them

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

A bit of anger at the fact that each lesson also contains the copyright statement. Since each section has 5 or 30 half hour lessons, which usually must be repeated at least 2 or 3 times each, this means listening to the copyright statement perhaps 100 times or more. Is this really necessary.

Any additional comments?

These lessons seem rather high priced compared to usual Audible content. It costs a credit for 5 lessons (2 and a half hours). Compare this to a best seller book which may be 40 hours long, also costing a credit. And the book usually has a rather short time during which it is popular.
Still, using the Pimsleur system on an MP3 player is an efficient way to learn a language, and I will continue pimsleur language courses.
I think, however, that the Mandarin course, from my limited experience with it, is below the standards that I have seen in other Pimsleur courses.

87 people found this helpful

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  • Mars
  • 09-07-15

Great method!

Started Pimsleur Chinese. I finished my first 5 units this week. It is great! Granted I studied mandarin a few years back but I forgot everything so it could be a bit more challenging for total newbies. That said, you catch up very quickly. I would recommend to re-listen to chapters two to three times at the beginning especially is you have had no exposure to the language before and write a little glossary after your revision to retain the information. Enjoy!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Kuhan
  • 19-10-15

Too Repititive

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

There is too much repetition in the chapters. Being an audio book that I can easily select chapters, I find that Pimsleur has deliberately put the same material to cover 75% in a new chapter which makes it dull and lengthy. If I wanted to revise something that I had learnt, I could just go back to the chapter. I don't need the same thing repeated on to the next chapter. Just when you are ready to learn new words and sentences, the half hour chapter is already over and you have lost precious time just repeating what you have already practiced in the previous chapters.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

He was very good

What character would you cut from Chinese (Man) Phase 1, Unit 01-05?

None, sometimes he pronounces things different from the girl so its confusing.

Any additional comments?

I don't have a choice but carry on buying the books cause they are very good in teaching except they should start a new chapter with less repetitions.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Martin Havelka
  • 16-03-15

It seems to work so far. I Learn and I enjoy it.

The pace is a tad too quick for me, but that is resolved by the audible app which allows you to slow it down.
So far the best Chinese course I've tried... Well worth the price!

10 people found this helpful

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  • T. H. Snell
  • 20-07-19

Would be much better with better target customer

Their language instruction methods are excellent, and the performance by the speakers is clear and helpful.

Two major problems, from my point of view:
1. For the price, there ought to be 10 lessons per book, instead of only 5.
2. It soon becomes extremely clear that their choice of beginning conversation (up through lesson 10 anyway) is geared to someone trying to pick up a Chinese-speaker. My hope is that future lessons will move to more interesting and versatile vocabulary than, for example, buying someone a drink and going to a hotel.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Morrcahn
  • 12-12-19

Really helps coach the proper tones

I've been told by native speakers that my accent is great. All thanks to Pimsleur.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Joseph
  • 31-10-19

The Problem with Pimsleur



The marketing teams of long-term self-improvement projects (diets / weight loss and language acquisition, namely) have an incredible advantage over the poor public. Namely, their products can promise the world on the assumption that so few consumers will actually follow-through with their regimen that results become meaningless. You didn’t lose weight? Oh, well did you cheat on your diet? Then it’s your fault, not ours.

In the case of Pimsleur language audio classes, I can’t expect that all too many people took their class every day, for 30 minutes a day, for the (30×5=150) one hundred and fifty days of instruction “near fluency” would take. Well, I did. And, being unsatisfied, I waited a few months and did the entire thing again. And I couldn’t possibly be more frustrated with the experience – especially because it sounded perfect. I drive a lot, and an audio-only, 30-minutes a day, class sounded like exactly what I needed.

Some background: I took two years of Mandarin Chinese in college, spent a very lonely semester studying abroad in Taiwan, and gave up on learning Chinese. Then, about three years later, I decided to re-commit myself to learning the language. I liked the challenge. Before going to the gym, every day, I would walk around my park for 30 minutes, speaking out loud and following every bloody instruction the Pimsleur folks gave me. About halfway through the course, I began having serious doubts about their “methodology,” but I persevered. I trusted and kept with it. What a mistake.

Allow me to start with the simplest example of all unplanned, I actually got a job in Shanghai shortly after finishing the Pimsleur course. I was thrilled – a chance to become fluent! Within a day of living in China, I realized that the most common greeting was *not* “ni hao ma?” (Are you good?) as I had been taught, but actually the colloquial “ni chi le ma?” (have you eaten?). Now, our audiobook overlords had individually taught me each of these words; they’re all very basic, but they never once introduced them as a sequence of greeting. In other words, the program ill-suited me for the cognitive structure of daily conversation. To draw a connection: if an English language program, with a focus on US American English, purported to teach you “near fluency,” they should introduce the greeting “what’s up?” at some point in their curriculum. Separately teaching the words “what” and “is” and “up” would not suffice.

This is a minor quibble, however, in contrast to the unthinking, unplanned, and poorly executed plan of study the course presents. In particular, I have the following issues:

1) Starting at around Unit 3 (of 5), the vocabulary and grammar stops building on itself. Instead, every 2-3 sequential courses reference each other, then the relevant vocabulary is rarely ever again brought up or discussed. What’s the point of learning the word for “hotel” in unit 3 (slightly before midway in the program) when it’s so rarely used for the next 75 sessions? You’ll learn the words for “pants” and “warm” and “elevator” and even “sashimi” and “environment,” but they will only be used for 30-90 minutes (1-3 lessons), then discarded. The program never tried to re-introduce the vocabulary at irregular intervals to keep the brain sharp.

2) Likewise, by unit 3, the program could and should have been entirely in Chinese. An American voice saying “now say” or “in this section” or “the word for” or “please repeat” could and should have been entirely in Mandarin. There’s absolutely no excuse for forcing the brain to think in English while trying to make it absorb Chinese.

3) If they had any sense, they’d have switched up the voice actors every few lessons, and the speakers in units 4-5 should have been someone other than eloquent 20-year-olds. Older people in China have different intonations, patters of speaking, and verbal tics than do young professionals (as I’m sure is the case across the world), and maintaining perfectly elocuted vocabulary with trained actors does nothing to help the listener prepare for the real world.

4) Perhaps it’s integral to the much-touted “Pimsleur Methodology,” but never once switching up the patter of presentation seems to be a serious drawback. Each lesson starts with a minor dialogue session, but offering dialogue throughout the lesson, at irregular intervals, would help engage the brain more directly. It would also offer opportunities for older vocabulary words to re-appear. Likewise, it would foster one of the most basic skills required for conversational communication: a practice in context clues to decipher meaning.

5) In my experience, the key formula for learning is basic: stress + rest = growth. By mandating a 7-day a week schedule, instead of something like 6 days a week, the brain isn’t given time to absorb the information.

6) No reasonable person could argue that the entire language is covered in 5 units; they need at least 7, possibly more. Promising linguistic competency, and then stopping the program objectively short of that goal, is little more than fraud.

I invested significant amounts of money into the Pimsleur program, and while it was a helpful supplement, I urge you to avoid the mistakes I did and invest your time and energy elsewhere. (Where? If I knew, I’d tell you!)

3 people found this helpful

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  • Niramon Jirasukhanon
  • 24-06-19

Found wrong sentence from chapter 1

Normally the Chinese refer to Chinese language as “zhōng wén” not ‘pudong’ (not sure how to spell it since I’m a beginner and there’s no manual for the lesson. I search a few website, every web used “ni huì shuō zhōngwén mā”
And after I got to chapter 3, I found that the lessen went veryyyyyy slow, very few sentences were added in each chapter.

Even I think their teaching technique could help me learn chinese, but I’m not sure which sentences in these book are wrong and 5 chapters per credit is too expensive.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robyn
  • 19-03-19

Too expensive

Very expensive if you consider it's just five days learning material.
The content is good.

1 person found this helpful