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你想了解中國嗎? Do you want to know what that means? Read on.
Chinese-Tools.com offers a wide range of material for learning Chinese Mandarin, completely free. Features include news and cultural information designed in the same way as most news sites, and a vast language learning section. You can register with the forum quite easily, simply fill in your details and verify by email, allowing you to become part of the community and interact and participate with other users. Chinese-Tools.com allows you to discover and immerse yourself in Chinese culture, life and language from the comfort of your own home.
Most importantly, the language features are extensive and easy to use; Chinese is a notoriously complex language, and for people from Latin or Slavic backgrounds Chinese-Tools.com will most certainly help you navigate the complexities of modern Mandarin. There are four key sections on the website that feature ten key lessons, each on various subjects ranging from introductions to the more advanced telephone conversations, etc. Each lesson has a table of contents, and is explained in English with examples and translations in Chinese and each lesson is accompanied by audio clips where appropriate, so you must have an audio player already installed on your computer such as Windows Media Player or VLC media player. This allows you to actively participate in pronunciation and intonation of Chinese language, but in a limited way.
The central drawback of Chinese-Tools.com, are the lessons themselves, for they do not cater for the beginner or language layman. The content of the lessons is pitched at those with linguistic expertise already. If an absolute beginner were to traverse the lessons they would quickly become dumbfounded by the complexity of the concepts, and it would quite easily become a lesson in futility. That said, for learners already familiar with grammar systems or those who already familiar with Chinese, this is invaluable indeed. It seems more suitable for teachers, rather than learners coming to language learning for the first time. There are a whole host of better websites and products (albeit at a cost) that cater to a wider spectrum of learning abilities and levels, but not Chinese-Tools.com
How useful is Chinese-Tools.com for language learners? Not particularly useful, although it is free, so you are getting what you haven't paid for. Fundamentally, Chinese-Tools.com seems geared towards non-native speakers who are perhaps already living in China or have some familiarity with Chinese Mandarin and seek to use the site more for news and forum-based communications – in this respect the site is very good. The the lessons consist of basic-one-dimension reading and writing exercises, lacking any interactive or communicative approaches that are vital in language acquisition. It may be that Chinese-Tools.com has over 50,000 members on the forum because its central function is as a place for ex-pats, teachers and language learners to interact and keep up-to-date with life in China, rather than learn Chinese from scratch.
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