Living Language is one of the oldest foreign language instructional companies and has been in business for over 65 years. Millions of people have used the course material to master a foreign language. One of the newer additions to their range is Living Language Mandarin Chinese.
Chinese is traditionally a language that many Westerners struggle to learn. Therefore I was interested to try it out myself and see how effective this method was. Below you will read my complete review of the Platinum edition, including an overview of the product and its major advantages and disadvantages. At the end of the review you will find an overall recommendation for Living Language Platinum challenges.
The Platinum edition costs $179. This includes access to three textbooks, nine audio CDs, and the online course.
There's also the option of an online course only. This is priced at $150 and includes access to 46 Chinese language lessons, an online tutor, and access to the forums.
If you are looking for a less expensive option, there's the essential components product. This is priced at $22.99. It includes one book of 10 lessons, an 80 page character guide, three audio CDs, and some online material including flashcards.
Finally there is the complete components option. This is priced at $49.99 and includes three books of 46 lessons, a character guide, nine audio CDs, and free online learning resources.
Mandarin Chinese is a difficult language for most English speakers. Living Language uses an academic approach to teaching reading, writing, and spoken Mandarin Chinese. The basic teaching method is divided into four stages. The first stage teaches basic Mandarin Chinese words and phrases. The second stage shows how to construct basic Mandarin Chinese sentences. The third stage reinforces the material learnt with audio, visual, and interactive conversations. The fourth stage consolidates the knowledge and shows how to use the material to create conversations.
One of the other mainstream Chinese courses comes from Rosetta Stone (my review). Rosetta Stone is priced at $299 for the level 1 to 5 course. Like the Living Language Mandarin course it also interactive conversations and offers live online lessons. The major difference between the two courses is that Rosetta Stone uses immersive learning, whereas Living Languages uses a more traditional academic approach. If you didn't like the language learning approach you used in high school and want to try something a little different, the Rosetta Stone course might be a better option. However, in my opinion Rosetta Stone Chinese is an inferior product and is overpriced in comparison to Living Language Chinese.
Another popular Chinese course is Rocket Chinese (my review). The Rocket Mandarin course is currently priced at $99.95 for the online access. This makes it significantly cheaper than the Living Language Mandarin Chinese. Like Living Language Chinese, Rocket Chinese teaches you to read, write, and speak Mandarin Chinese, and includes online games, voice recording, and progress tracking. Compared to Living Language Rocket Chinese offers slightly better value for money. If you are unsure which course to purchase, take advantage of the free six-day trial offered by Rocket Languages first.
If you are planning a short trip to China, Living language Mandarin Chinese will not be your best option. This highly academic course is more suited to people who want a comprehensive understanding of how to read, write, and speak Mandarin Chinese. Benefiting from the course requires significant time and dedication. Overall it offers a very good approach to learning Mandarin Chinese for anyone willing to dedicate the effort to make the most of the resources provided.