I just have to say how much I love Chinesepod. After listening to the podcasts for over two years (just started Intermediate lessons), I was finally able to make a trip into China by myself. I think my Chinese friend I visited thinks I'm hopeless because I can't carry on a conversation, but at least I can ask questions and get around. And that's pretty amazing since I've never had a class and only the premium level lessons! And no one has had trouble understanding me - which I believe is entirely due to all the listening practice leading to fairly good pronunciation. Because it is definitely not because I have good grammar. :P
One thing I wasn't prepared for here is all the different accents! I'm traveling from Xiamen -> Huangshan -> Hangzhou (here now) -> Beijing -> Tianjin, and everyplace I need to readjust. I only wish I was here longer because I think I could catch on in time. The minicab driver on the way to Huangshan asked me if America also has "san". "San"...? No idea. It took me a minute to realize he was asking if America also has "shan" - mountains. :)
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