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Fluenz Mandarin 1+2 [Old Version]

by Fluenz
Mac OS X
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 218.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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  • We custom made Fluenz Mandarin as language learners who knew there had to be a better way to learn languages. The multi-media application was specifically designed to help English-speakers gain fluency in Chinese.
  • To create a live learning environment, similar to what you are used to in a classroom, language tutor Sonia Gil guides you on video every step of the way.
  • Adults do not learn in the same way as children; we need to use the rules of languages we know to learn other languages. Fluenz uses your knowledge of English as leverage for accelerating your learning of Mandarin, with an emphasis on those words you are most likely to use.
  • A next-generation platform blends beautiful full motion video with engaging, interactive workouts, including voice recording so you can compare your accent to native speech.
  • Included is the Fluenz Mandarin 1+2 DVD-ROM, an audio CDs for additional training, downloadable podcasts, and the handy Fluenz Navigator for on-the-go referencing of important words and phrases.
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System Requirements

  • Platform:   Mac OS X
  • Media: DVD-ROM

Product details

  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 12.7 x 12.7 cm ; 367 g
  • Delivery Destinations: Visit the Delivery Destinations Help page to see where this item can be delivered.
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,532 in Software (See Top 100 in Software)

Product Description

Fluenz is a software company founded by a group of passionate language learners who felt there had to be another way. At the center of our Mandarin program is language tutor Sonia Gil, who went to China herself to learn Mandarin. Sonia is there to guide you throughout the program, blending full motion video explanations in English with a series of highly engaging workouts, helping you understand and speak relevant Mandarin. The Fluenz system follows three clear principles: 1) Live Learning - Learning a new language, especially one as unfamiliar as Mandarin, is difficult to do on your own. With Live Learning, we have brought to computer education the essence of the classroom experience: a teacher. All words and phrases are thoroughly explained and you are guided through a structured learning process. 2) Leverage Learning - Modern linguistics tells us that as adults, we need to use the tools of the language we already know and apply them to learning a new language. With Fluenz, you learn first in English and relate basic Mandarin grammar and syntax to that of English, rather than trying to understand Mandarin grammar with Mandarin logic. Using the English you already know to learn Mandarin is the essence of Leverage Learning. 3) Relevant Learning - You need to start learning the words and structures that will allow you to communicate the most in the least amount of time, taking into consideration which words are easier to remember for English speakers, which expressions make the most logical sense to us, and which are most useful--"cell phone" instead of "red apple." Being able to communicate right away in simple ways is the key to Relevant Learning; And, with more than 13 types of workouts covering verbal expression and comprehension, as well as reading and writing, you practice and internalize what you learn in the video lessons.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A top product 24 Oct 2008
I always enjoy learning new languages, but had never adventured beyond European ones. I wanted to expand my knowledge and learn something useful at the same time: Mandarin seemed to be the obvious choice.

I began to peruse through various language learning solutions and came across Fluenz. The product was developed by alumni from some top unis in the USA, and uses video to teach you words and that you can actually use and sentence structures that you can incorporate new vocabulary into.

Simply put, it worked.

I was impressed with the ease I had grasping the Asian language. I was capable of ordering, asking for directions, presenting myself and doing countless other useful tasks. Mandarin had always seemed like a daunting language to learn, so I was impressed that a programme could have me speaking and understanding so quickly.

I also liked the method. Fluenz uses English which made it stand out from some other language programmes I looked at (you know who you are!). As an adult and native English speaker, I found this aspect incredibly helpful. The onscreen video tutor, Sonia, encouraged me and warded off any boredom that I have experienced in past language learning attempts.

The Fluenz programme uses Pinyin or European characters to teach Mandarin. At first turned off by this, I realized that it is an inevitable choice if you want to be communicating quickly. I spoke with their customer support and they recommended a book of Chinese characters, Tuttle, which I am now using as complimentary material to the Fluenz software.

In short, a top product.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I decided to learn Mandarin to be able to undertake some of my PhD research in Cross Cultural Psychology. I chose Fluenz because I wanted a software that would be different from the traditional software I had used before when learning a new foreign language.

Fluenz is different from traditional language software in several respects.

Firstly, it goes straight to the point. You can be sure you won't be taught unnecessary words or expressions. With Fluenz, for instance, you will learn how to call a taxi, rather than how to describe the different fruits on the table. This is really helpful, especially when you have little time at your disposal. In short, you can be sure that every sentence or word you learn will be useful. That makes Fluenz different from its competitors.

Secondly, when you learn a new language with Fluenz, you don't really start from scratch. Fluenz makes it relatively easy to learn the grammar by highlighting the similarities with English. By doing so, you quickly understand all the similarities, and are able to understand the grammar much more efficiently.

Finally, Fluenz Mandarin comes with several additional features, such as videos for your mobile phone.

Overall, Fluenz is probably the most professional and efficient learning language software I have been able to use. I have tried several different softwares, including some expensive programs at my university, and none of them were as efficient as Fluenz. If you are looking for the quickest way to be fluent in a new foreign language, Fluenz is a cost effective way to do so.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn Mandarin! 30 April 2007
By Dr. C. A. Holland - Published on Amazon.com
Fluenz Mandarin is a comprehensive program for anyone wanting to learn Mandarin Chinese from scratch. It is meant for learners over the age of 13, and it would be quite useful both for those trying to establish a strong foundation before proceeding to more advanced or specialized work, as well as for those who need survival skills for business, travel or casual conversation.

The software follows a Mac aesthetic: clean, elegant, and modern. This philosophy goes well beneath the surface and can be felt throughout the program. The learning system -- which features a tutor on full-motion video guiding the learner every step of the way, a series of relentlessly challenging exercises, and the use of English to "leverage" the learning of Chinese -- are all very innovative. Fluenz Mandarin is composed of 45 sessions that cover essential vocabulary, grammar, and syntax by going over realistic interactions involving restaurants, giving and receiving directions, negotiating cabs and other forms of transportation, shopping, basic conversations, and even the 2008 Olympics. Each session can take up to three hours each, depending on the learner's speed.

Each session opens with the tutor, Sonia Gil, who led the development of the program and who guides the learner from beginning to end. She explains, gives context, motivates, and keeps the whole thing going with stories of her own experience with learning Mandarin in China.

After the introduction, there is a conversation that can be followed with or without subtitles (available in English and pinyin). Sonia follows with an explanation of every word and expression used. This is the heart of the method, since she systematically compares every word and expression in Mandarin with its counterpart in English. It seems straightforward and it is, but it makes a big a difference to anyone learning.

The tutorial is followed by a series of interactive "workouts." These start with a simple review of the vocabulary and basic expressions, move on to clever matching games, and then to actual writing. Learning to write is the only way to internalize different tones because writing provides a visual cue that helps the learner retain this most challenging part of learning Mandarin. The writing workouts combine both reading and writing, and then listening and writing, and they progress from simple words to more complicated expressions. The latter relies on an innovative color-coding scheme.

The workouts also make use of a recording device that allows the learner to record and compare her or his Chinese with that of native speakers. This device first deals with simple phrases, and then offers the learner an opportunity to insert her or himself into a conversation. After a couple of review workouts, Sonia comes back to conclude the session.

Like any software program that surpasses its many competitors in quality, effectiveness, and ease of use, Fluenz is its own worst enemy. After spending some hours learning Mandarin very fast, it's altogether natural for learners to want more and better, yet Fluenz thwarts that desire on a number of counts. For instance, the navigation doesn't allow learners to repeat a workout once completed. Moreover, there are instances in which sound would nicely complement written workouts, but isn't available. And more advanced sound recognition technology would make a difference. These are features that users should rightly expect to find in future upgrades of the software.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Product! 22 May 2007
By Jonathan Gheller - Published on Amazon.com
I work in media and technology, and speak several languages. I know what it is like to code and to create media content, and how difficult it is to learn a language. I look at Fluenz Mandarin from that point of view. The video tutorials are very good. Sonia has everything a great teacher needs: knowledge, charisma and the ability to communicate complex ideas in very simple ways. The workouts are not only a great way to practice what you learn, but it's obvious they've been designed to continuously challenge the learner. The program's overall design is pleasing, which means you can workout for hours without hating it. As someone who has learned several languages, I can only be thankful for the amount of creativity and hard work that went into it.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent product 11 Aug 2007
By Esbern Johnsen - Published on Amazon.com
I was most pleased with both service (speedy delivery) and product (reliable playback and truely effective concept). It really made me feel I could do this, from the very start.

The product teaches conversation Mandarin and Pin Yin at the same time, all on your pootah (all you need is a microphone). Features a guide/teacher who has a calm and supportive attitude, and is very pleasant to look at aswell, ten points for casting :D

I am a few weeks into this course now, and I am actually able to speak, understand and write quite a few things already. I certainly have no better linguistic skills or memory for vocabulary than the next guy/gal, but this system really works, keeping it simple and relevant throughout.

Highly recommended!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Concept, Product and Service 5 Jan 2009
By David Keyes - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I am studying Chinese just for fun--I've never been there but hope to take a vacation there this year or next. I've completed 32 of 90 Pimsleur Mandarin lessons (which are entirely audio) and plan to finish those. I've read a lot about Fluenz and its online primary tutor, Sonia Gil (who amazingly also teaches the Spanish, French and Italian courses)--you can find information on Amazon, Myspace and Facebook about Fluenz and her. They have a good philosophy on how to teach a language to English-speaking adults, which includes a teacher (better than any of us probably had in a classroom), and training techniques including video, audio, writing (typing words), recording and listening, phrase by phrase, to your own voice compared to the fluent speakers, and many other exercises. In addition to the DVD, they also provide an Audio CD which you can use in a CD player or download to an iPod or similar player. Here you can listen while driving or exercising to Sonia's associates--they provide a good supplement to the course. The Fluenz team also has recorded podcasts available to its customers, which can be downloaded for additional learning. I have enjoyed all the resources provided--altogether, it is an enjoyable and excellent way to develop a very good working skill for enough Chinese to get by while continuing to learn more. Fluenz expects to have a Mandarin 3 available this spring.

Even though I am well on the way with my Pimsleur courses (which I bought before I ever heard of Fluenz--a relatively new and small company with a great team and product), I thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from the very first of the 45 lessons in the Fluenz course, and I will definitely finish the entire course with enthusiasm and continue into Fluenz Mandarin 3 when it becomes available.

A few reviewers have criticized the fact that Sonia Gil is not a native Chinese speaker--she went to China for an intensive course, apparently in preparation for teaching this course--she is a co-founder of Fluenz. She herself says that her pronunciation, while very good, is not perfect, and that she is still learning. Her pronunciation is perfect for my purposes, and I will be very happy if I can pronounce Chinese nearly as well as she can. Also, other speakers, some native in Chinese, also are used in the DVD exercises, the Audio CD, and the podcasts. Moreover, two native Chinese speakers review and approve all the course materials. A big advantage of having Sonia be the teacher is that she has had to learn this language herself and knows and appreciates the areas where English-speaking learners are likely to have the most difficulty. In balance, I think having Sonia be the primary tutor is a plus, not a minus. We all can hear native Chinese speakers not only in the Fluenz program, but in other programs. What Fluenz does is to get you speaking Mandarin very fast and to provide a base for further learning. With this goal in mind, Fluenz elected to teach pinyin (Chinese sounds using the Western alphabet, rather than Chinese characters). The spelling and the accent marks really teach an English speaker the words and sounds very quickly--and those of us who are interested in the Chinese characters can continue our studies or supplement Fluenz with other materials.

I feel much more confident in my pronunciation and mental understanding of exactly what words I am saying, based on Fluenz, than my confidence that I am correctly hearing what I am supposed to be saying in the all-audio Pimsleur courses. I still like the Pimsleur courses very much--I just find that having listened to a lot of them, I am finding Fluenz very helpful.

If I can learn Chinese, anyone can. I am not good at languages, and I live as the troglodyte in a family of great language learners--one of my four kids is fluent not only in French, Spanish and Portuguese (and proficient in Italian), she speaks different dialects of each well enough to fool local natives into thinking that she is a native of the same region. Chinese is a tonal language (four basic tones can change the same word into four totally different meanings--some of which could be quite embarrassing if the wrong tone is used). Fluenz does a great job in teaching the tones so that even I (who cannot carry a tune or sing even in English) am beginning to feel confident that I can avoid total disaster.

Fluenz's customer service has a reputation (based on the company's own descriptions and on the many reviews in Amazon and Facebook) for prompt, responsive and friendly personal attention and service. In my case, I sent an email with several questions and, on the morning of the first following business day, I received a very nice, personally written response with the answers, helpful suggestions, and a wish for happy holidays.

I have a technical, computer observation that might be of interest to Apple Mac users. I first tried on my Apple laptop the Windows version of the Fluenz DVD, because I can run a Windows XP or Vista virtual machine on my Mac, and figured that I could use the DVD not only that way but also on my desktop, which is a Windows-based PC. Everything worked fine until I tried to record my own voice using the Mac's internal microphone while running Fluenz in the Windows virtual machine. That's when I discovered (and this is not a problem peculiar to Fluenz) that the Mac's internal microphone does not work well (very low, garbled sound, if any) when running a virtual machine via either Fusion or Parallels--I verified this problem with an Apple employee and by online research. So my choice was to buy an external microphone and connect it by a USB cable, or return Fluenz Windows and get Fluenz Mac. I opted for the latter. I now have Fluenz for Mac, and it works perfectly--I've tried all the different types of exercises--on my Mac. (And, of course, when I had earlier run the Fluenz Windows version on a Windows PC, that version worked perfectly there, too.

Lastly, the Fluenz primary program (the one on the DVD--not the Audio CD or the podcasts) must be run on your computer directly from the DVD. I think that Fluenz protects against unauthorized copying in this way. But without being able to make a backup copy or to transfer the DVD onto a computer, it places a premium on being very careful not to lose or damage a DVD costing over $300. I hope that Fluenz would for a nominal charge replace a damaged DVD, but I have not asked them and hope that I never need to ask.

All in all, I highly recommend Fluenz for Mandarin or any language that it offers. (By the way, I have no connection to the company and don't know any of the people there personally, although they seem from the company descriptions and pictures and customer service to be very nice.)

David Keyes
Houston, Texas
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely wonderful! A great 'bang for the buck'. 27 Sep 2007
By David A. Schultz - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I downloaded the full demo and now am going to order this. I've used Rosetta Stone, and will again. But this is an entirely different method; more like a traditional schoolroom approach. It makes all the difference in the world to have a (virtual) live instructor, versus a bunch of pictures like flash cards.

Now, once I've gotten this down, then Rosetta Stone will be a wonderful complement. However, this is my starting point, and I think others will benefit. At least try the demo.
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