Frequently asked questions

Find out everything you need to know about Chinese with Mike. Learn why he debunks the stereotypical myths around learning Chinese.

Fluency to fact, myths to method and everything in between.


What are the ‘downloads’ referred to in the Chinese with Mike videos?

The ‘downloads’ are the course books which can be purchased from here.

Why should I learn Mandarin Chinese from an American guy who teaches out of his garage?

Why should I learn Chinese with Mike?

  1. I’m really funny so you’ll be addicted to watching me and forget you’re even learning.
  2. Because I learned the language too, I recognize and explain thoroughly troublesome areas with simple explanations you’ll understand.
  3. I explain pronunciation with clear, familiar examples. I even use native speakers.
  4. I add interesting facts about the intricacies of language.
  5. I include lots of cultural tidbits that will motivate you to learn the language so you can discover the culture for yourself.
How difficult is it to learn Chinese?

If you were like me before I started learning Chinese, you may be wondering about a few things. So let’s debunk a few myths so you can get started:

MYTH: I have to know how to write characters if I want to learn to speak Chinese.

TRUTH : You will soon find out that there is a system called pīnyīn  that allows you to read and speak perfect Chinese without knowing how to write a single character!

MYTH: I am too old to learn a new language.

TRUTH : You’re never too old – and never too young! I was 22 years old when I learned my first word and plenty of older folks have succeeded in my classes. In fact I’ve met several retirees who learned later in life and spoke completely fluent Chinese.

MYTH: Chinese is the hardest language in the world!

TRUTH : You may have heard it said that Chinese takes five years to learn well and a lifetime to master. I can assure you that I’ll cut that time in half because I know what you  need to know to become proficient quickly. The Chinese language is not as complicated as people think. My philosophy in teaching Chinese is that this language is fun and easy to learn. I cut through the academic language and jargon of most textbooks and explain it to you in the easiest and most logical way.

I promise you this: If you stick with this course, I’ll put the ease into learning Chinese. So sit back and follow my lead, and this revolutionary textbook and video series will have you speaking great Chinese before you can say “Chinese rocks!”

Will Chinese with Mike teach me to write characters?

I cover some basics in the early lessons, but this course does not cover character writing as it’s more focused on learning how to speak and understand Chinese. Therefore I use pīnyīn to teach.

Will I be fluent?

Chinese with Mike will teach you to say what you want to get what you need by the end of the course. But how fluent you become depends on how much you practice. In addition to this course, you should try to speak with Chinese speakers or other learners to practice speaking. It’s the one tricky thing about self-study.

Do I need the activity book if I have the coursebook?

Listen, the more practice the better. And the two books were designed to complement each other. The activity book has conversations in them that use the language taught in the course, so it’s a good way to bring the learning together. However, the course can be done through just the video or the video + coursebook.

Do I have to buy the Chinese with Mike books, too?

My video lessons are pretty great, and comprehensive. But good language learning takes lots of practice and review. You might be tempted to watch my videos over and over again as I’m so entertaining, but the coursebook not only reviews what’s taught in the videos, it actually teaches some more stuff – like additional vocabulary – and gives more in-depth explanations. You can work more on your pronunciation and even get some cultural information. And of course there are practice exercises, and additional audio for listening practice with native speakers.

The activity book gives you a lot more practice, conversation practice and more audio.

I’ve studied Chinese before? Do I have to begin Chinese with Mike at Lesson 1?

I suggest always starting at the beginning. My lessons don’t follow traditional curricula, and each of the lessons are linked. That said, if you are confident about what you know, then you can look at the descriptions on the lessons and choose a different starting point. Or, if you feel like you just need to cover certain areas, you can buy just the lessons that pertain to them.

Do I have to watch the Chinese with Mike videos in order?

Yes. Unless you’ve studied the language before in great detail, I would advise you to watch the videos in order. I build up your language knowledge from one video to the next and carefully recycle what was taught in previous lessons. Besides, if you skip a lesson, you might miss out on one of my clever performances.

Can I just buy the Chinese with Mike video lessons that interest me?

If you have studied Chinese before and want to learn more about a certain area, then you can buy the lessons that deal with your area of interest. However, the course is linear each of the lessons are linked. You will get the most out of the lessons by starting from the beginning.