STEP BY STEP Real Chinese is made up of 10
short units: greetings, asking for directions, ordering drinks, etc. The course
is most effective if you follow the units in sequence, but you can just dip into
them, if you like. Try doing one unit per visit. It will take you about 15
minutes to complete.
WHAT DO YOU NEED? A
computer with an Internet connection. Flash, which supplies
pictures and sound, for the slideshows, the useful phrases and the video. You
can get hold of it, free of charge, by following this link: Flash. More information on Flash and the installation procedure can be found in BBC
Webwise. Without Flash you'll still see the text, but you won't be able to enjoy the audio and the video.
CHINESE CHARACTERS AND PINYIN
To see the Chinese characters and Pinyin, Chinese written in Western script, you need to make sure that your computer has the appropriate languages packs. 中国 Zhōngguó
Can you see the Chinese characters and Pinyin letters above? Then you're ok. If you can't see the Chinese characters or Pinyin or both, click here to find out what you can do to see them.
The most straightforward way to go through each unit is to start with the slideshow, look at the video if you want to - it's best with a fast connection. Then go through the useful phrases before trying the challenge. But you might prefer to do it in a different order (eg. start with the phrases) and don't forget you can always print out the useful phrases and look at them at your leisure. If you get lost at any stage and want to go back to the index page - click on Real Chinese in the left hand margin.
Slideshows Every unit begins with the slideshow, in
pictures and sound. These are edited highlights of the Real Chinese TV
programmes. Watch them with the Chinese text in vision, or with an English
translation. Click through the slideshows using the Next button. At the end
you'll get a summary. To access the slideshows you'll need Flash (see
Video Clips At the end of the
slideshow you'll see a link to the video clips. These are edited samples of the
Real Chinese programmes and will reinforce the key language. To watch them you'll need Flash 6, the latest
version of the software. If you have an older version, it may not be suitable
and you may have to download Flash once again. It takes time for the video to
download, from 30 to 50 seconds, depending on your connection and the traffic on
the Internet at that time.
Notes While you're waiting for the video you can read the cultural
notes. These contain interesting facts about today's China, as
well as useful information for the traveller. You'll also find a link to the
Cultural Notes on the right, above the slideshows, and also underneath. If you like, you can look at them while you're following the slideshow.
Useful phrases At the end of the slideshow you'll find
a link to the most essential words and phrases of the unit. When you click on it
a new window opens up. If you have Flash you'll be able to access the audio:
click on the Start button at the top to listen and repeat the phrases one by
one. As well as the translations there's also help with pronunciation and
grammar. Move your mouse so the arrow points at the red boxes, called pronunciation guide and language
note, to read them. Click on the boxes if you'd like to get all the notes
on one page. You can also access the Useful Phrases from the link on the right,
above the slideshows.
Challenges The fourth
link at the end of the slideshows leads you to the challenges. Use them to check
how much you've learnt. If you already know some Chinese you might want to
start with these, using them to brush up your knowledge.
The left hand margin shows the complete list of index pages, eg. for the challenges or the TV transcripts. Click on Real Chinese to get back to the homepage.
TAKING IT FURTHER
Have you finished the course, or are you thinking about joining a class? Check
our suggestions about the next steps you can
DELAYS ON THE INTERNET There are times of day when the
Internet, just like the roads, experiences high demand or high traffic, which
creates bottlenecks. You will then have to wait to receive some of the features,
particularly the video, the sound and the slideshows. If you experience a delay,
you can always use the simpler alternative version, which will download more
Problems viewing Chinese characters
MS Internet Explorer
You can download the necessary language packs from Microsoft.
In your browser go to Tools > Internet Options > Advanced > tick the box saying 'Enable install on demand' > click OK.
You'll be prompted to download a script when you load a page which contains Chinese characters.
If you haven't got this set, you
can get hold of it, free of charge, by following this link: Simplified Chinese Language Pack.
Search your computer for the files ie3lpktw.exe for Traditional Chinese or ie3lpkcn.exe for Simplified Chinese. Double-click on the file. It will guide you through the installation.
Problems viewing Pinyin
Versions 2.76 or higher of the fonts Times New Roman, Arial, and Courier New contain all the Pinyin letters needed.
This site specifies the use of Arial in all its pages.
To find out what version of the font you have, go to Start > Settings > Control Panel, and double-click 'Fonts'. Find 'Arial', and double-click it. The resulting font window will tell you what version of Arial is installed on your machine. If this number is not 2.76 or higher, you will need to download the latest version. You
can get hold of it, free of charge, by following this link: TrueType
core fonts for the Web.
MS Internet Explorer
If you have installed support for Chinese as described above, it should automatically display them. It will use a Chinese font (such as MS Song) for the Chinese characters, and a Latin font (Arial) for the Pinyin and other Latin characters on the page.
If you have installed support for Chinese as described above you'll need to select the font in your computer.
Go to Edit > Preferences > Fonts. Choose a Chinese Unicode font such as Arial Unicode MS. If you haven't got that, choose a Chinese GB font, like MS Song for Unicode. This will leave a space after the Pinyin characters with the tone marks.
This information is for Windows. If you're a Mac user, you can find more information on this page from Yale University.
It's worth going through this initial effort, especially if you'd like to continue learning Chinese.
In case you're still experiencing problems please email us with a detailed description of your browser configuration and we will attempt to solve your problem.
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