By John Liu, The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — A Mandarin training center with 58 years of history, the Taipei Language Institute (TLI, 中華語文研習所) recently reached a milestone of 300,000 students who have attended its tailor-made language learning program. Among TLI’s alumni are foreign ambassadors and representatives in Taiwan and mainland China, reporters from international news agencies, political leaders, professionals from Fortune 500 companies and heads of prestigious universities from around the world. TLI currently has 20,000 instructors and 18 branches globally, with 10 in China and four in Taiwan. It also offers online programs.
With 2 hours of practice per day, students can expect to gain fluency in Mandarin Chinese within a year’s time, according to Emma Dong, TLI’s Director of the Roosevelt Center. Tailor-made Courses Eschewing the fixed schedule, progression, and class materials of university language centers, TLI structures programs based on each student’s proficiency level, learning objective, and requested meeting venue. Students may even submit their own study proposals. “Our clients come to learn Mandarin for a variety of reasons,” TLI Founder and Chairman Marvin Ho said. “Some desire to practice oral conversation, others to compose a Chinese doctoral dissertation, and still others learn Mandarin to practice missionary, journalism, political, military, business or diplomatic work.” Mandarin Taught as a
Second Language TLI does not expect foreigners to learn Mandarin in the same way Chinese people do. Therefore, instruction focuses on subjects, verbs, objects, adverbs, etc. and “practical usage” instead of “theories,” Ho said. While there’s no getting around memorizing fundamental Mandarin grammar and syntax at the elementary level, students jump directly into their selected subjects at the intermediary level.