The real story
Dear learners of Chinese, from every region in the world, from all age, all gender, all means and all aspirations: there is still hope in your quest. We live in a world of democratization of the Internet, of knowledge resources everywhere, that we can access from any channel, from computer to smartphone and tablets.
As beginners, we are confronted to both discouraging accounts of all the difficulties we will face, and to fluent speakers boasting of how easy it was to learn for them. Numerous new methods continuously arise, in order to compete with traditional models in which you have to take affordable lessons, but for many years, without any guaranteed success. But even these new methods do not lead us that far, because they are not complete, not systematic, or just trap us at an elementary level. There may be fun at first, but we have only one life and want to speak Chinese now, not have a good but fruitless time with short sighted methods. But before this, many of us fail and give up. We do not take off in speaking, reading, writing Chinese, and we eventually abandon.
Chinese is very hard for non Chinese people who are used to an alphabet, because we are still able to pronounce words, though we may not know the meaning. With Chinese, you can understand the meaning of a word without being able to read it. You can understand and read a word but without a clue on how to write it on a blank paper. On top of that, we should add the famous four Chinese tones, due to which only a few of us will be able to blend into the crowd without being identified as a foreigner when speaking Mandarin.
Do you want to learn Chinese like Chinese people have learned their language? Do you want to write hundreds of times a character in order to remember it, and at the end forget it as it happens to most of the learners? And I am speaking in the name of 90% of the people who have given it a try. Not in the name of the 10% who did succeed. Bring me the actual figures if it makes a difference but the proportion will still be the same.
We are fully aware of the usefulness of understanding the whole history of transformation behind a character. It is nice, and fascinating. We would love to dedicate a lot of our time to it. We also know for sure that simplified characters derive from traditional ones, and so forth. But you know what? What matters to us is not to know more about Chinese language than the Chinese people themselves. Not all of us yearn to become a doctor in Chinese Mandarin language and fill conference rooms. What we want is to , in the shortest possible time, absorb lists of characters and remember them in the quickest and most efficient way, to communicate with Chinese people. We do not want to give up. We do not want lose our time. We want it right now!
Now, just ask to some Chinese people around you, who speak English, or French for instance. Did they study Latin? Did they study ancient Greek? Very few of them actually did. They started by learning French upfront. They started by learning English upfront.
Thus, we will also start to learn Mandarin Chinese upfront. We will provide material to help people use the incredible resources of their own language to save time, learn faster and remember forever, in a way they have never dared to dream of.
We are a team of teachers, engineers, linguists, writers and even poets, who have already started to gather all of our resources, understanding and creativity to prove we can make it. We love China, its people, its culture, its language, its tradition and its future.
It is not for us to require Chinese people to learn our language, but for us to learn their own language. 1 billion people already speak Chinese Mandarin. Why couldn’t we?
We can expand our own understanding of the world through a new cultural and intellectual prism, thanks to the Chinese language. We do not understand the same reality in the same way, neither do we express it in an obvious similar way. But the payoff is so high when we start to communicate, exchange, and build a new road towards peace, respect, mutual understanding.
That is how we conceive the world, and we want to support learners, teachers, institutions, in their dedication to maximize the chances of success.
A quick example
For instance, you want to remember how to write the Chinese character for Mum, or Mother, which is 妈。It’s pronunciation is «ma». And you want to remember it now.
To simplify, as an introduction, think of Chinese as a language with an alphabet of 214 keys.
女 nǚ means woman. It is the key radical. 马 mǎ means horse. It is the phonetics component that gives «the sound» to the character.
A Mum has nothing to do with a horse, but has to do with a woman, right? But how to remember the pieces? First of all, you would have had to learn the keys that matter to know the first characters. Then, you can invent a story to remember it. For instance:
女 + 马 = 妈 woman + horse = mother (妈妈 : māma)
This woman beside a horse is a mother.
It may sound weird, of funny, but at the end, guess what? It works. The story is only there to strike your mind, make you remember the sound or character. That is an example of application of how we want to proceed, already available on Youtube (see at the end of this post).
We have proved that such an approach works, even for people with no clues or no desire to study Chinese. It means there is really something about to make use of.
Where we go
Some people have complained that such an approach already exists. This is all about mnemonics and so on. Maybe. But not with the systematic approach we believe is necessary. Not for every word made of different characters. Not in different languages. Not in a mature way (many of us are not children anymore!). Not with a poetic or funny or surrealistic approach when we have no historical clue about. Thus, we will keep doing our way. We will keep raising the enthusiasm and hope that our method has arisen for many early learners or for those who were about to give up, drained mentally and financially by other approaches.
We self-fund this project and gather our creativity, knowledge and skills to make it happen. We believe we will have an impact and we want you to get on board to benefit from it. Mandarin Chinese brings much more than just language skills. It opens new realms of thinking and action.
This is not a dream. It has already started. We call this project HSK Academy.
Why HSK Academy? HSK can stand for the Chinese HSK tests that assess the level of Chinese, and help people to concentrate on characters and words that statistically matter. We are strong supporters of it and encourage people to pass these tests one after the other. But we are also more than that! Chinese is named Hanyu in Mandarin. HSK stands also for Hanyu Super Knowledgable, because we believe that it truely is!
We have already launched our website: people from 100 countries came to learn and practice about Chinese Mandarin in a matter of weeks. Many of them come back to enjoy reliable resources that support their training.
We have already launched our Facebook page: a thousand of people have quickly joined a few weeks after its launch, and benefit from quizzes, videos, and much more.
We keep expanding our social presence on Youtube, Twitter, and through any other means.
Our team will release new powerful tools to democratize, simplify and accelerate the way people learn Chinese Mandarin.
It is time for you to join. To push boundaries. To go where many believe we just could not go. Because learning Chinese is a difficulty we know we will overcome. Because it already works.
We choose to go to the Moon. We choose to go to the Moon and we will go to it.
We pay with these words tribute to the famous speech of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, former President of the United States, who promised to go to the Moon, what Americans eventually succeeded to achieve. We will also achieve our objective of helping to learn Chinese the smart way.
Get on board with us.