Mike: I learned Chinese first through a university class and then by living in Taiwan for 2 years. I have been married to a Taiwanese woman for the past five years, and we often congregate with other Chinese speakers.
MandMX: Hmmm. I wonder what your wife thinks of your classes? Does she help?
Mike: My wife thinks my classes are funny, but she thinks I spend too much time working on the project.
MandMX: Mx (my wife) didn’t notice a Taiwan accent in your voice so we’re impressed. So you learn a bit from her but not her accent, right?
Mike: I’m doing my best to keep a standard Chinese accent. Beijing accents are too strong, and Taiwanese accents are too soft. I’m shooting for somewhere in the middle. I admit that sometimes it’s hard not slipping into Taiwan guoyu.
MandMX: Do you know Characters as well?
Mike: I do. I originally learned to write traditional characters, so making the adjustment to simplified is a chore, especially since I prefer traditional characters.
MandMX: Obviously you’ve been to Taiwan, but have you been to China?
MandMX: Why “Chinese with Mike” ? What are your goals?
Mike: When people hear I speak Chinese, I invariably get this response: “Aww, no way. I heard Chinese is like the hardest language in the world!” I’m out to prove them wrong. With the right teacher (namely, one who can explain in a way the learner can understand) Chinese is not hard at all. There are many myths about Chinese that I’m out to debunk.
MandMX: How has the response been? What are people saying?
Mike: People write daily with complimentary remarks about how Chinese with Mike is working for them. We have newcomers on an almost daily basis, and I couldn’t be more gratified.
MandMX: Do you have a lot of interested viewers?
Mike: In our first six months, we had about 33,000 site views, and we have viewers in over forty countries. I have to imagine that most are actually learning.
MandMX: Why do you do the videos in the basement in your parent’s house?
Mike: We shoot in a garage. We did a few in my producer’s basement when the weather in Chicago was very cold. Basically, this is the only location I have to shoot, and I like how it adds to the character I play.
MandMX: Do you do live appearances?
Mike: I teach face-to-face Chinese classes once in a while in the Chicago area. I volunteer at my local libraries by teaching free Mom-and-Tot classes, too. My friends and I were planning on staging an autograph signing for me and inviting the local media. I expect we will do it someday, complete with bodyguards and a limousine.
MandMX: What is your favorite China book? or book about China?
Mike: I read a lot of poetry from the Tang Dynasty.
MandMX: What are your thoughts on the interest in Western countries with learning Chinese?
Mike: There is no overemphasizing China’s role in the future of the global economy. I think we’ll see more and more Western countries teaching Chinese along with English as a second or third language.
Thanks MIKE! Check out his site and watch some of his lessons! These lessons are great for kids (my 3 year old loves Chinese with Mike!) and anyone learning Chinese no matter what the age!
Chinese with Mike on Facebook!
Chinese with Mike on Twitter!
Chinese with Mike on YouTube! (for those outside of China!)
Chinese with Mike on Tudou! (for those inside China!)
Now as a bonus for all of our readers and new Chinese with Mike readers… we’re going to put our comic below and the pinyin romanization of the Chinese! Hope it helps!
If you can’t read it you can click on it and go directly to the comic!
Panel 1: hei, wǒ shuō guò le bù xǔ zài wǎngshàng kàn shìpín.
māma, dànshì zhè shì “gēn màikèxué Zhōngwén
Panel 2: shénme? gēn màikèxué Zhōngwén shì shénme?
wǒmen gēn shì cóng tā de shìpín shàngxué Zhōngwén de
Panel 3: yī ge xiǎoshí zhīhòu
nǐ māma zhè shì zài gànmá?
tā yǐjīng kàn le yī ge xiǎoshí le.
zàiláikàn yī ge.
wǒ hǎo è ā