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1. What is the methodology behind the lessons?Top
Innovative Language Learning holds that the ultimate purpose of language learning is communication, and that topics like grammar and vocabulary are only aids to this ultimate goal. Almost all of our lessons then begin with a dialogue and use this as a focus and jumping off point to discuss cultural points, vocabulary, and topics in grammar. Especially at the beginner stage, the lessons teach conversational language through modifiable patterns and set phrases, and only begins to introduce complex grammar in the later stages of the beginner sequence. Each phrase is broken down into syllables and repeated several times so that students have maximum exposure to the language. They are asked to repeat phrases aloud for practice. Each lesson includes a short oral quiz at the end to improve speaking ability. In our audio lessons the focus is almost entirely on speaking and listening skills.
2. How is content organized? What are levels/series/seasons?Top
Our lessons are grouped into five levels: Introduction, Absolute Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Under these five levels, our lessons are further grouped into series, which have more specific levels (for example, Lower Beginner, Beginner, Upper Beginner). Finally, under each series, you will find different seasons, which are lessons grouped into sets of 25.
3. I have some experience studying Chinese — how can I figure out where to start?Top
Set your learning level under "My Level" on the left side of the Dashboard. Choose from Absolute Beginner to Advanced and the Dashboard will recommend a lesson that best fits your profile. You can also listen to level descriptions to find one that matches your level. Remember, the first 3 lessons of every series are always free, so even as a free account member, you can still sample the different levels and series we offer.
4. What is the Dashboard?Top
The Dashboard helps you start learning Chinese, guides you along, and tracks your learning progress. It's the first thing you see when you log in to site. Once you set your learning level, it will provide a lesson recommendation for you to begin with. After you complete a lesson, it will track your progress and guide you to the next lesson in the series. You can manually add and remove series to customize your learning and study several at once.
5. What is the review track?Top
The review track is an audio track that you can use to review the vocabulary words from the lesson. After giving you the word in Chinese, there will be a pause for you to say the meaning in English. You will later be given the meaning in English, after which you are prompted to come up with the word in Chinese. Make sure to say them out loud!
6. What is the dialogue track?Top
The dialogue track is an audio track that contains only the dialogue portion of the lesson. Listening to the dialogue track is a great way to review the focus of the lesson without listening to the entire lesson.
7. What is the expansion with audio?Top
Expansion with Audio is a list of the vocab words from the lesson with sample sentences that show the usage of each word, complete with audio.
8. What is the Line-by-Line Audio?Top
Line-by-Line Audio is the dialogue of the lesson cut up line by line so that you can hear each line individually. Line-by-Line is great for improving listening comprehension and repeating practice.
9. I'm looking for a certain grammar point. How can I find a lesson that covers it?Top
To look up a grammar point, enter it into the search box located in the upper-right corner. A list of lessons that refer to this grammar point will come up; click on the name of a lesson to go straight to that lesson. For a more detailed lesson search that enables you to search certain parts of the lesson like the dialogue, click on the Advanced Lesson Search link.
10. Who are the hosts?Top
You can find more information on our hosts on the Member Introduction page
11. Can I see what I will learn before committing to a series or season?Top
Yes, you can! Next to each lesson listing on the Browse Lessons page, you'll see a light blue "Explore Curriculum" button. Clicking this link will take you to a complete listing of the entire season's curriculum. You'll see title, lesson function and a brief summary of each lesson so you can decide if this is the right series for you.