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Fluenz software is a stylish and innovative language software program. Why? Because, unlike many of the language software products on the market, Fluenz is not afraid to explain using English and grammar explanations. You are also guided through the course by a one-to-one English speaking tutor. Yi Wei or Sonia Gil guide you through every lesson with detailed grammar and sentence structure explanations after you have performed the activities. The advantage of this is that Fluenz (Mandarin Chinese) recreates a private classroom environment and provides you with a more nuanced understanding of Mandarin. Is Fluenz going to bring you fluency? Read on.
Fluenz is very much a language course for those who need a focused method that provides useful and practical Mandarin quickly. It is ideal for business people wanting to brush up or for learners considering working or travelling in China. At a cost of $338 or $398, it is reassuring to know that there is a teacher on hand every step of the way. Some programs avoid grammar altogether because it can put novices off. Fluenz is a classroom language course compressed onto CD and DVD and, whereas Rosetta claims to immerse you in Mandarin without explanation or instruction, Fluenz does the opposite. It explains using English grammar comparison and it introduces the Chinese Mandarin four tone system - essential for being understood in Mandarin speaking cities.
Fluenz achieves this through a series of engaging videos based around real conversations and practical language, which is then broken down into parts: reading, speaking, pronunciation and writing. There are a total of 45 sessions, each followed by one-to-one tutor explanation. The lessons build upon your previous learning as you go and have a purely functional objective, to teach you everyday Mandarin. You can revisit each teaching session to revise as much as you like. Each video is accompanied by pin yin subtitles, or English subtitles or the option of no subtitles, so it's best to watch up to three times.
One problem users may find with Fluenz is with the Mandarin writing exercises. As is common with Mandarin language courses, the writing and reading of words is done using pin yin, which represents Chinese Mandarin using Roman based alphabet, but to write using the pin yin, including the four different accents, you must hold down two keys at the same time for example, you must hold down key 'a' and key '1' to type pin yin character = à onto Fluenz. This makes writing words, phrases and sentences more complicated and tiresome; however, using your own initiative you could write it on a piece of paper as you go. Furthermore, the sessions are focused and intensive, and you might not remember all that you have learned, so repeating sessions might well be necessary which in the long run may bore more than inspire.
Fluenz is a teacher led, interactive language programme that will give you the practical knowledge to speak some level of Mandarin. There is no doubt it is thorough, with a limited focus on 'practical' vocabulary that is well explained and presented. If you feel the price is too much, why not go on to the website now for a free demo session in Fluenz Mandarin, and see if it suits you before buying? Better yet try the free online 'Day One In Shanghai' demo which claims to give you just Enough Mandarin to survive on your first day there! The method might not be for everyone. Find out if Fluenz really can guide you to fluency.
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