Learning Mandarin with EuroTalk

EuroTalk Talk Now Chinese Mandarin

Talk Now! is the world’s best selling language learning CD-ROM series for beginners, used by more than three million people to date. Designed for newcomers to the language, Talk Now! is the perfect method to access a wealth of comprehensive fundamental vocabulary and accurate pronunciation in one user-friendly plan packed with useful words, a picture dictionary, and quizzes. Anyone over 10 years of age will find the program indispensable for improving listening, understanding and spoken language skills.

  • The “intelligent” software feature remembers words you get wrong and targets your weak points
  • Extensive basic vocabulary, from first words, food, colors, phrases, parts of the body and numbers, to telling time, shopping and countries
  • Each of the target languages for Talk Now! has help available in an additional 102 languages – simply choose the flag of your native country in the beginning of the program & EuroTalk’s Talk Now! Program will provide instruction in your native language
  • Each topic contains listening practice, an easy game, a hard game, a printable dictionary as well as the opportunity to record your voice and hear how you sound in comparison to the two native speakers who tutor the user throughout the Talk Now! course
  • Each question that is answered correctly increases the user’s score – get an answer wrong and points will be lost. There are 1800 points in total to gain from the disc. A full score earns the user a ‘Gold Award’

Mandarin Eurotalk

Here are some visuals from the Talk Now CD ROM:

Mandarin Eurotalk

The program loads from the CD ROM and installs quickly and easily onto your computer.  You still need the CD ROM to access the program, though.  You can also upload it to your iPod.  Personally, I’ve tried learning languages from CDs before but no matter how many times I listen to it, I don’t seem to have picked up very much.  I think it is because I’m a visual learner.  But I digress…

Mandarin Eurotalk

There are several categories in the beginner program “Talk Now”: first words, food, colours, phrases, body, numbers, time, shopping and countries.  Pick a category and you’re ready to go…

Mandarin Eurotalk

There are five components in each category: word practice, speaking practice, easy game, hard game and a function that allows you to print the picture dictionary.

Mandarin Eurotalk

Word practice shows a picture, the Chinese character, hanyu pinyin, and the word in your language. You can elect to have the words read aloud in sequence or you can click on each word to have it repeated on command. This is handy if you need to listen to specific words again.

Mandarin Eurotalk

In the speaking practice, you can practice saying the words yourself.  You can record yourself to hear how you sound, however, you need a microphone for that.  You can choose to repeat after the speaker, or to say the words on your own after viewing the visual cues.

Mandarin Eurotalk

You can play the easy game to test how much you have retained.  The computer will read four words from the list you have just learned showing you the picture and the word.

Mandarin Eurotalk

They will then ask you to identify the word they repeat from the four words they have shown you previously.  This one’s pretty easy even if you haven’t really learned the words yourself.

Mandarin Eurotalk

In the hard game, they show you the chinese characters, the hanyu pinyin and the pictures and ask you to identify which picture represents the word they have shown you.

Mandarin Eurotalk

You can do further testing in the games section on the main menu.  Again there is an easy level and a hard level.

Mandarin Eurotalk

In the easy level, the man will show you two cards and will ask you to find the card that represents the word that he tells you.

Mandarin Eurotalk

He will continue with more and more cards until you’ve covered covered 11 cards.  In the example above, he opens four cards and asks you to find the colour red (in Mandarin of course).  Once you identify red correctly, he will ask you to identify another colour and then another until there is only one card left.  He will then move on to the next level and open five cards.

Mandarin Eurotalk

In the hard game, it is almost like the easy game except that it also trains your memory.  After reading each card out, the man will turn the card over and you have to remember which card is where.

Mandarin Eurotalk

You can have the base language in any language you prefer.  For example, you can elect Russian as your medium of instruction instead of English.

I’ve only got the Mandarin software to go by, but I have picked up a mistake.  Under food, they say that rice is “mee” which actually means “noodles”.  My Mandarin may be crap but I do know that rice is “fun” in Mandarin.  When I listened to Wink to Learn Chinese the other day, I could have sworn the pronunciation from Talk Now sounds different.  Now I’m wondering who they got to do the recording for Talk Now…  Are they even native speakers?

Here’s a video recording – if you’re a native Mandarin speaker, let me know if it sounds legit…

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

21 thoughts on “Learning Mandarin with EuroTalk

  1. I got this product: http://www.amazon.com/TOPICS-Entertainment-CS-481D-Immersion-Languages/dp/B0002DKYII/ref=dp_cp_ob_sw_title_2 which is just a tiny bit of several languages. It doesn’t seem obviously related to what you bought, but those screen shots would say otherwise. The man and woman are the same, the cartoon card dealer is the same….

    I obviously don’t know all 102 languages, but I noticed several errors in the ones I do know. As one example, in the Danish version, they use “ja” and “jo” interchangeably. “Ja” means “yes” after a question with no negation (“are you going?”) and “jo” means “yes” after a question with negation (“aren’t you going?”). You cannot mix the two, and it’s a very basic thing. I don’t see any way a native speaker could have been involved without fixing that.

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  2. Just took a look at the product you bought and yes, the images do look exactly the same.

    Although it’s disappointing to hear about the errors, I have to say that this has been one of the most effective methods I have used to learn a new language. I used to try the CD recordings in the car but never got very far with them because it went too quickly for me. I kept needing to rewind and play and I had a habit of tuning out. I guess I’m not an audio person.

    If they could just get that right, or if someone else could come up with a program using native speakers…?

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  3. Just want to make a comment on this. There might some confusion over rice in Mandarin.
    rice -> ? fan4 => cooked rice
    rice -> ? mi2 => uncooked rice, rice grain
    noodle -> ? mian4 => well, noodle 🙂

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  4. We just hired a tutor to play with Jack and read to him, complete Chinese immersion. Hope it helps. He has some Chinese programs on the iPhone too.

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  5. Perhaps that’s the way to go – total Chinese immersion. Kind of hard to learn a language when you don’t get the opportunity to practice it. I just don’t want the kids to grow up like me – unable to speak another language other than English.

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  6. Noodles: mian4 in Mandarin, mee in Malay

    In daily conversations, I speak to my boy in Mandarin. During home lessons, I teach him in English, except when we are learning Mandarin. This way, he understands and speaks both languages. Sign language also bridges the 2 languages very well. For instance, he does the ‘apple’ sign whether he hears it in English or Mandarin.

    Anyway, I want to start learning Bahasa Melayu. Is EuroTalk available for that?

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  7. Now that I’ve thought about it, I think it’s odd that the Mandarin software should teach “mi” as in uncooked rice because this is a program for travelers. If we are going to ask for rice, surely we’d be asking for the cooked stuff, right?

    Thanks for the correction on noodles.

    Yes – EuroTalk also has BM! They have the full package, too.

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  8. Just being curious here, I have been assuming that you are a Malaysian and thought most Malaysians know BM, unless they were educated overseas. If educated in Singapore, like my hubby, they would learn at least 2 languages. How is it that you learnt only one language? I am also trying to know more about Malaysia’s education options, and am quite confused at times.

    Anyway, I’m picking up BM so that I can guide my boy in future, though he should be able to pick up a language way better than me. We are considering between Chinese schools and international schools. But the hefty fees of the latter option is really putting us off. I’m even contemplating bringing the kid(s) to Singapore to study, but family separation is also an obstacle. The state of national education here is so sad that we have to consider so much.

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  9. Ah… I am Malaysian but my family migrated to Australia when I was very young so I never learned to speak BM.

    As for the Chinese dialects – my mother is Hakka and my father is Hokkien. Neither speaks the other’s dialect and their common language is English. Although my mother can also speak Cantonese, my father can’t. Not wanting to confuse us with too many languages, they opted to teach us only English. Back then they were unaware of a child’s capacity for absorbing languages. As a result, both my brother and I lost out.

    Yeah, I think a Singaporean school would definitely be better but it is not an option for us. We did consider Chinese school, but I’ve heard it is very strict, very intense and very stressful. I’ve heard of children coming home crying, and that teachers use corporal punishment. I don’t know the real extent of this but it’s enough to put me off sending my children to one.

    An international school might be expensive, but so is sending our children overseas. Besides, sending them overseas means we don’t see them as much – also not an option when they are still so young.

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  10. We are asking around about Chinese schools and hope they would sound more promising than what you heard. It can also be very competitive and stressful in some Singapore schools, though I enjoyed schooling days there. Sending young children overseas is certainly not an option as family bonding is very important. At least one parent should be around them most of the time.

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  11. Re: family bonding – I couldn’t agree more…

    Do let us know what you find out about the Chinese schools. It will be a good alternative to an IS if there is a suitable one around.

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  12. Was thinking of how to expose Ben to French now. :)….This Euro Talk is a CD Rom – so need to play on the computer? And not the CD/DVD player? Is there any that you can recommend to play on the CD/DVD player? Thanks!

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  13. They’re all on computer. If you want French ones for the CD, I think you can check out MPH language section (or possibly their travel section). Popular should have as well. If you want DVD, TW have a languages around the world which includes flashcards in French. It’s limited in that they don’t teach many words. But you’ll get them in German, Russian, Japanese and Spanish, too. Aside from those, I don’t know of others, but I’m sure you can google to find out more.

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    1. I believe it works for children, too. But I think for really young children, something like Wink to Learn Chinese or BrillKids Little Chinese or Glenn Doman Chinese flash cards would work better. The older children will enjoy Eurotalk. It’s probably the only program that was able to help me remember the chinese words I learn.

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  14. I intend to use it for my 7yo son. He’s taking a Mandarin course twice a week @1.5 hour. Other than that, he doesn’t practice. So I was thinking of getting a software for him to do that. I did download the free trial Brillkids Chinese and show him that as well. He’s quite indifferent. He’s also playing Dreambox which he really enjoys. So I was looking into something more “Dreambox-like” for learning Mandarin. Would you recommend Wink to Learn or the Eurotalk since you have experience with both of them or maybe even something else? Thanks so much for your input.

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    1. Oh, then I think the Eurotalk software will be helpful. It’s good for revision and testing what you can remember. It’s not exactly like Dreambox, but it does offer questions in MCQ style to test recall. Wink to Learn is not so appropriate because it is more like flash card format on DVD.

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