Just thought it would be good to share tips of what is out there to learn Mandarin. I am only 3 months into my study and full of enthusiasm. I am mainly interest in speaking/understanding spoken mandarin at this stage and will worry about the characters later. Pinyin will do for now.
Anyway, I found the following useful
(1)"growing up with Chinese" on youtube (the first few episodes don't have pinyin but then the bring it in)
(2) Chinese-tools.com , Just today I googled a theme we'd studied in class and this has 20 second converstations about the theme, and you can hear it spoken slowly, see the mandarin (in pinyin) and then see it in English
The two websites that benefitted me the most were busuu.com and yoyochinese.com .... Busuu is awesome for learning vocab....Yoyochinese.com for pronunciation and listening as well as grammar.
I started the Michael Thomas programme yesterday while out on my run. Learned quite a bit in 50 minutes.
The verb "to be", a few countries, the different tones, and basic sentence structure.
"I am Chinese, but he is American and she is English. What about you?"
Really enjoying it.