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      December 5, 2019

Home  >  Learn Chinese  >  Transparent Language vs Pimsleur

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Transparent Language vs Pimsleur

To help you find the Best Chinese Lessons, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Transparent Language and Pimsleur.

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Learn Chinese with Rocket Languages Today! With more than 16% of the world's population who speak Chinese as their first language, it's no wonder that modern education is prioritizing learning Chinese as a foreign language. From immersion-based elementary schools to language learning programs found online, it is estimated that as many as 40 million non-native speakers around the globe are currently studying Chinese.

There are two primary dialects of Chinese: Mandarin, or "Standard Chinese", the official language of China and Taiwan; and Cantonese, the official language in Hong Kong and Macau and influential in the Guangdong Province. While the two are similar, Chinese students may want to focus more on one or the other, depending on their purposes for using the language.

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Best Reviews

2019

Chinese Lessons Reviews

4.5 stars
Transparent Language

TRANSPARENT LANGUAGE

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Cost:

$29.95/month for Online Chinese monthly plan

$24.99/month for Online Chinese 6-month plan

$16.66/month for Online Chinese 12-month plan

$49.95 for Everywhere Chinese Audio Course

$29.95 for KidSpeak Chinese desktop program

Transparent Language's Chinese lessons strive to deliver "radically better language learning, in one complete experience". Their program uses speaking practice (users compare their speech to a native speaker's), multiple choice questions, listening exercises, detailed grammar lessons and more in order to approach learning Chinese from many different angles. While their instructional methods seem to be fairly similar to other programs', where Transparent Language stands out is in the fact that they offer Mandarin and Cantonese instruction, though the latter is only available in the online format and not in CDs or audio course.

Prospective customers will appreciate the 14-day free trial of their online Chinese lessons, and no credit card details are needed to access it. Because many Transparent Languages' users report that the system has a less rigid structure than other language programs in our review, we suggest that students make full use of the trial offer to see if the more flexible approach is a good fit for their motivation level and self-discipline.

In the event that a customer is not satisfied with their Chinese lessons, Transparent Language does give a full refund for all of its products, within six months of purchase for any physical/downloaded product, and a full refund prior to the next billing cycle for subscription members of Transparent Language Online.

Transparent Language is one of the few Chinese lesson programs that has an option for live instruction and tutoring. It's more expensive than the basic program, of course - $299 for an 8-week, customized online course that meets weekly, and/or $99 for 90 minutes of one-on-one online tutoring at the student's level of proficiency - but the investment may be worth it for students who need a bit more structure and personalized attention, especially with the tonal aspects of Chinese pronunciation.

We give Transparent Language's Chinese lessons high marks for including both Mandarin and Chinese options, and for offering live tutoring/instruction for those who want more in-depth help.

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3.5 stars
Pimsleur

PIMSLEUR

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Cost:

$450 for Mandarin levels 1-4 on DVD (120 lessons), audio-only available for MP3 and CD delivery

$119.95 for Cantonese Chinese I on MP3 (30 lessons), available as CD for $345

Pimsleur is a household name among language learners. Originally made famous for its basic 30-minute audio lessons, Pimsleur has expanded its offerings to include software DVDs that include flashcards, games, and other more visual methods of instruction to accompany their audio lessons.

Pimsleur is also one of a very small number of Chinese programs that offer lessons in both Mandarin and Cantonese, though the latter is only available in a 30-lesson audio format. This is important for students who may plan to use their skills strictly in Hong Kong, rather than on the mainland or in Taiwan where Mandarin is the most prevalent.

Pimsleur lets users download a free 30-minute Chinese lesson from the website, to try out their audio; we felt that we were left with a good understanding of a basic conversation in Chinese after giving it a trial run.

However, we would have liked to sample what Pimsleur provides in its DVD software, especially since Chinese characters are drastically different from English and other languages written using the Roman alphabet, and because the tonal nature of Chinese makes it valuable to be able to have one's speech evaluated in contrast with a native speaker's.

In lieu of a satisfaction guarantee, Pimsleur instead offers a Proficiency Guarantee according to some very specific terms: users must purchase a Pimsleur Level 1 program (Mandarin or Cantonese), complete the course, and take a novice-level test on an independent website. If the user fails that exam, Pimsleur will issue a full refund. We're not sure if this applies to a purchase made that included levels 1-4, or how someone studying just the audio lessons in Cantonese would then be able to take any kind of written exam on the other site.

Of all the products in our reviews, Pimsleur is the most expensive, with purchases of MP3 or audio CDs surprisingly more expensive than the DVDs that include the audio files. (Pro tip: we did notice that if we left the tab open long enough in our browser, we did get a pop-up for 30% off and free shipping on any order).

Given its primary emphasis on learning by listening, Pimsleur may be best for students who want to study their Chinese lessons on the go, with the understanding that additional effort will need to be made to grasp the written aspects of the Chinese language.

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Continued from above

From beginners learning the intonation of a simple ni hao to those looking to fine-tune their knowledge of Chinese characters and pronunciation, students have many programs from which to choose to help them better grasp the intricacies of the Chinese language. When deciding which Chinese lessons will be the best option, we recommend getting a feel for each program's methods.

The most well-rounded Chinese lessons use strategies to reach different learners - visual, auditory, and so on - through flashcards, pronunciation practice using a microphone to compare the student's speech to that of a native speaker, games, and other online resources.

On the other hand, some Chinese programs focus on a single approach to teaching the language (for example, worksheets or audio lessons) that may or may not be the best way for a particular student to learn.

When choosing a program for Chinese lessons, there are several things to consider. These include:

  • Instructional Methods. Does the format of the lessons match well with your learning style? If a free sample or trial is available, how did you feel after giving it a try?
  • Skill Level. Does the program have an option for your level, whether that is beginning, intermediate, or advanced? Can you move from one level to the next for what you purchase, or do you have to buy more levels later?
  • Value. Is the program effective? Is it worth the money necessary to purchase the program?
  • Mandarin or Cantonese. While the majority of Chinese learners and thus teaching programs focus on Mandarin, you might prefer a Cantonese program if your primary use of the language will be in Hong Kong or with speakers from that area.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Chinese Lessons available today. We hope these reviews help you learn the most common language around the globe quickly and easily!

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