Learn Chinese Suggestion

Learn Chinese Suggestion

March 23, 2007 0 Comments

I received a question from Brian that I want to share with you.

Hi John, I know you visit China frequently and I have been wondering, do you give your talks in English or Chinese? Is it necessary to be able to speak Chinese at the events you attend or do the attendees usually speak English? Could you recommend any resources for someone interested in learning Chinese for business? Thanks, and keep doing more Kudlow & Company shows, you’re one of their best panelists!

Thanks so much for your note. When I give lectures in China I start in Chinese until I run out of gas, then switch to English. At this point I am good for somewhere between a paragraph and a page. It’s not necessary to speak Chinese to visit China or do business there–there are many young people who speak English; there are translators to help you talk with others; and the conferences generally have simultaneous translators. People in China, however, will greatly appreciate the honor you show them by trying to learn their language and culture. It is an act of respect.


I have found that the best tool for learning Chinese is the Pimsleur tape series. (Click on the image to see the details on the course.) You can get the beginning course (18 half hour lessons) at Amazon for less than $40.

I have used Pimsleur courses for more than a dozen languages and find them the best way to get started. And one final tip; you don’t need to buy the full course set right away. The 18 lesson intro series will give you plenty to do for a long time.


John Rutledge


  1. Mark Kuta

    March 23, 2007

    Great suggestion, John. I learned Portuguese that way, using tapes from Audio Forum. The secret is to do EACH LESSON until you are bored stiff, and can repeat it as you are driving home, dealing with road rage, etc. It took me 9 months to speak Portuguese, but in that time I did not listen to ANYTHING ELSE. Not one time.

    I always recommend to anyone who commutes, or spends time on airplanes, or has some extra time to learn another language.

  2. Lawrence

    March 23, 2007

    Thank John, I to am looking forward to taking Chinese next fall semester in college. I have decided that I am going to tackle this language head on cause it can be a huge benefit to me in the future since I want to work on Wall St after college. And besides, too many Americans are still stuck taking French and Spanish.

  3. Kondrake

    March 24, 2007

    Pimsleur but it's old hat now. For Chinese, the only game in town is Chinesepod. It uses all sorts of very cool web 2.0 features and the audio is free. www.chinesepod.com .

    Thanks, for the tip, Kondrake. I like chinesepod too. But this old dog still likes his Pimsleur too.

  4. Learn Chinese

    June 7, 2007

    Why Chinese is so difficult?
    Most of people think chinese is very difficult to learn.
    why so many foreigners, esp. those who have never come to China, find it so hard to learn and master this actually simple language?

    Copied from I Love Chinese http://www.hellomandarin.com/ilovechinese/index.html on Hello! Mandarin http://www.hellomandarin.com

    More to read: http://www.hellomandarin.com/ilovechinese/tips/20060620-01.html

  5. Julee

    June 7, 2007

    Give you my suggestion, you can try to talk with Chinese volunteers to make friends and learn more about Chinese culture on Voice Connecting China http://www.hellomandarin.com/connectingchina/index.php

  6. edward

    December 19, 2007

    how many words are in pimsleur 1.2 and 3. how many words are needed to be relatively fluent. if pimsleur is not going to add more prorams what do you suggest

  7. Study Chinese in China

    January 20, 2009

    According to me it is better for a person to have the knowledge about the language of a country in which he is going . Language plays a big role....

    So learning Chinese is must for living in China.

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