Cracking the Intermediate Plateau (Podcast)

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How Refold Aims to Make Immersive Language Learning Mainstream I'm Learning Mandarin

Links: Mandarin Retreat Raffle: Refold Discord: Refold Website: On today’s podcast I speak to Ethan, the CEO of Refold, an immersion based language learning system that offers a guide and a community for learners who want to achieve language fluency. Refold was initially set up by Ethan together with Matt Vs Japan, who has appeared on this podcast before. Refold Chinese has its own Discord server which I recommend all Mandarin learners check out. The community is a great place to exchange tips, chat about language learning strategies and meet other Chinese enthusiasts. 

*The I’m Learning Mandarin Podcast is now available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify . If you enjoyed this content please subscribe on your favourite podcast provider and leave a review. You can also subscribe to this blog to have new posts and podcasts pinged straight to your email.

As an intermediate Mandarin learner, one of the main challenges I face is acquiring lower frequency words. In any language the most frequent few thousand words account for over 90% of words used in daily conversation. Mandarin is no different and, although I typically understand the vast majority of words in a sentence, it’s those rarer words which can throw me off. 

So how can we overcome the intermediate plateau and learn enough low frequency words to become proficient? 

That’s where today’s guest Andrew Methven comes in. Andrew first started learning Chinese whilst on a backpacking trip in China in 2002-03. He eventually went on to train as a translator and interpreter, before joining a startup in the UK focussed on China. More recently, he started the newsletter: designed to help intermediate and advanced learners fill in key gaps in the vocabulary. 

Every week Andrew shares new words, phrases, idioms, colloquialisms and slang with the goal of helping readers maintain and improve their Chinese, while staying up to date with latest language trends. Andrew’s experiences of backpacking through China as well as his insights into overcoming the long intermediate plateau are fascinating and insightful. 

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