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    Depends how much free time you got on your hands and how dedicated you are.

    I'd suggest you start off by CD's/textbooks/DVD's just to get a little insight and to pick up keywords and phrases.

    Then once you become engaged and thus more serious about it, you should then think about getting a private tutor or enrolling in a part time evening class that teaches it for beginners.

    To aid the process of learning, you should start watching TV shows and films in mandarin with subtitles - You'd be surprises at some of the stuff you'd pick up from watching.

    And you could also start 'conveniently' dating a guy that speaks mandarin - and pick up learning from him too, lol. (I once dated a hot french girl - and i don't think its a coincidence that I got an A in it at school (with small effort in the subject) and that I can now speak it fluently'ish )
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    Buy the Pimsleur audio tapes, they're actually very good and i learnt to converse on the first extract!!
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    Talk with me in Chinese to improve your Chinese,I'm Chinese and I can speak a little English.In my opinion,language should be improved by communicate with each other,but just read book.I read lots of English book,so I can read,but my spoken English is very ... ...
    想让你的汉语普通话进步就和我聊天吧!我是中国人我懂那么一点点英语 。我认为用语言相互交流是学习语言的最好办法,而不只是看书学习。我 看了很多英语书所以我能看懂英语书,但是我的英语口语就 很差。
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    (Original post by python38)
    I can only speak English, but I really want to learn Mandarin. I've got some basic books on it, some of which come with CDs, but I was also considering getting a tutor as well.

    If I want to learn to speak, read and write Mandarin at a basic level, how long would it take? Should I spend any time self-studying, or would it be best to just learn from a tutor at first?

    Xiexie. :p:
    I think if you're serious about learning then it'd be useful to learn from a Chinese speaker, as they'll help you with your pronouciation and writing. But self-study is still possible!

    When writing Chinese the direction and order you draw the characters in is really important. This online dictionary is good, if you scroll down to the bottom and click "Stroke order" then it'll show you how to write the character http://www.nciku.com/search/zh/detail/%E6%88%91/1316054
 
 
 
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