Men's Health Magazine, September 2003
Language Dynamics courses are a 'Great Value' compared to Pimsleur and
Fred Ginocchio / Engineer
I learned more from Behind the Wheel Chinese for $69.00 than from two
courses from Pimsleur for $400.00.
Tina Booth / Teacher
This course is so simple that I was speaking basic sentences in Chinese
within a half hour.
At last a Mandarin audiocassette course which requires no reading and which
teaches you to actually speak Mandarin Chinese in a minimum of time and
effort. Designed by the experts at Language Dynamics, 'Behind The Wheel
Chinese For Your Car' takes the learner from basic to intermediate level
Mandarin without the guesswork and pain usually associated with language
learning. An expert English speaking instructor talks you through these
tapes in English while 2 trained professional native Mandarin speakers teach
you Chinese the way it is really spoken! Behind The Wheel Chinese For Your
Car is the ideal way to learn Mandarin Chinese while you drive because there
is no confusion, no reading, no looking up meanings, and no guessing. It's
all on the tapes. Use your commute time to effectively learn Chinese with
this delightful course whose method will have you speaking your first words
in Mandarin within minutes of receiving your course, and enjoying it. The
product has superb clarity of voices and exudes a spontaneity which makes
learning Chinese fun. You'll be thrilled with the fast and easy to learn
design of the course, beginning with the immediate gratification you feel
when you conclude your first one half hour session with the tapes speaking
sentences in Mandarin that Chinese speakers understand 10 minutes later on
the street. You'll be amazed at the 'natural' way you just seem to pick up
Chinese without having to learn grammar or reviewing. No need to go back.
It's all 'built in' the course. Just imagine the thrill of being able to
express what you really feel in Mandarin in 100 different ways because you
know own a Chinese linguistic blueprint, a template that you can manipulate
over and over again in different and personal ways while increasing your
fluency in Mandarin. What' s more, you will also learn to speak in the past,
present and future along with idioms all in the same course.
About the Author
Mark Frobose is nationally published foreign language author, teacher, and
speaker with over sixty foreign language titles currently in print. Mark is
fluent in Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese and is the founder of
Language Dynamics Inc. Mark, who is a popular foreign language expert, has
recently appeared on Fox 5's 'Good Day New York' and on 'LA Insight' and
countless other radio and TV programs. He has lived and studied throughout
Latin America and Europe and holds numerous degrees and certificates from
foreign and American universities. Mark has studied and/or taught languages
at the Universidad Ibero-Americana in Mexico City, Universidad Cat--lica in
Quito, Ecuador, L'Universite de Grenoble, France, Illinois State University,
University of Illinois, and the University of New Mexico. Mark has received
numerous awards and was rated as an excellent instructor by his students at
the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Mark, who holds an MA from
the University of Illinois where he was rated as an excellent instructor by
his students, later went on to found Language Dynamics Inc. which now
produces the nation's best in rapid, easy to learn foreign language courses
and books. Mark has been invited to speak at a number of foreign language
teacher conferences as a keynote speaker and has successfully written over
60 foreign language learning titles which are currently sold nationwide and
- Audio Cassette
- Publisher: Language Dynamics Inc. (October 2004)
- ISBN: 1893564606
- Average Customer Review:
based on 19 reviews.
|5 of 5 people found the following review
Great vocabulary but very disorganized, April 1, 2006
I recently bought the BHTW Chinese and honestly, I was disappointed.
Let me say that I am a translator/intrepreter for some Western languages,
teach languages, including at an Ivy League university - so
language-learning is an important part of my life.
Before I start with the specific comments, I just want to say a few words
about all-audio courses in general. They are NOT for everyone. People
learn in different ways and to learn a language, you generally have to
inundate yourself in all ways, through visual AND audio stimuli. If you
are very busy and spend a lot of time commuting, this obviously has value
but I question how much you are actually retaining and more importantly
able to reproduce in a different situation when you just listen. It can
take longer when just having the audio stimulus. One review wrote a snide
comment about how reading is bad when you drive. Um, first, they say right
on the cover it can also be for home use, say on the computer while you
are working, laying in bed etc. When I teach my language classes, I tell
the students the audio materials are very important but ALWAYS review the
text first before just listening. If this is such a nutty idea, why does
Language Dimensions offer a script for some of its Spanish courses?
Obviously, some people would like this.
The good points: This is the opposite of Pimsleur were they just take 4-5
dialogues and repeat everything a million times, exposing you to very
little vocabulary and very few situations. Here you get lots of good
vocabulary. Also, they start out CD 1 just the right way, you start
building simple sentences - you learn I, you - then some verbs work, eat
etc. Then you make sentences "I want to eat", "I have to go" etc. Very
The bad points: 1) After CD 1, any real efforts to build sentences in a
systematic way stop. Yes, there are some attempts to have structure -
changing to different pronouns, negative verbs etc. but these instances
often have no rhyme or reason. We often get lists and lists of
expressions, with only the occasional question by the English native, "How
do you say that?", "Wonderful", "Let's have some fun.." He will ask for
the pronunciation of some word he finds interesting but ignore structures
etc. which are much more complicated
2) Generally, the focus of the course is focusing on the ENGLISH and
translating it to Chinese. Thus, you will get a whole series of things in
English that sound alike, "I'm going to".... etc. but in Chinese the
structures can be very different, "Wo qu...", other times "Wo dasuan" (I'm
planning to), I give to/he gives to, sometimes "wei ta" sometimes "gei ta"
- yet no explanation is ever given on why these things are different. You
have the male and female speaker translating "I'm afraid" in 2 different
ways, no explanation. This becomes a HUGE problem if you want to suddenly
apply the Chinese vocabulary. One English sentence can be translated many
ways, and it is, and no explanation is given why. It would be better to
have a bit less vocabular and a but more instruction on how to use
structure. This happens sometimes in the series but there is no rhyme or
3) Not only do they make it oriented to the English words instead of the
Chinese words, I am 99% sure that they used their original Spanish course
as a basis and just translated everything into Chinese, based on the
grammar objectives of the Spanish course. For example, there is a whole
section on "indirect object pronouns" - an important issue in Spanish but
in Chinese, the output can be very different, involving different ways for
saying "to" - wei/gei, different verbs etc. Another section has "time and
weather" - Why would they keep putting this together in one phrase in
Chinese, I wondered. But in Spanish, the same word, tiempo does double
duty. So in Chinese we get "tianqi haishi shijian" or "tianqi huo shijian"
(neglecting to mention the important difference between "haishi" and "huo".
When you look at it from this perspective, you see how the objectives for
translating into Spanish work, but they don't for Chinese. For example, a
lot of time is spent negating present tense verbs. In Chinese, for most
present tense situations, you just use "bu" in front of the verb, that's
it. But so much time is spent on this. Or changing from person to person -
the speaker keeps stressing he wants this "formal" - well, if you are
talking about tu/usted in Spanish, this is an issue. In Chinese, it's just
ni versus nin, the verb form itself never changes for person. Sometimes,
they are even sloppy enough to say formal and the Chinese speaker still
uses "ni" instead of "nin"!
At another point, the speaker tries to make the Chinese shi/zai
constructions into something like Spanish ser/estar. There are
similarities but the attempts of the English native to do this is not
productive and misleading.
So much time is wasted on this stuff while other stuff, like say particles
zhe, guo etc. are ignored. Word order issues in Chinese are ignored. The
point is, if you try to reproduce these structures on your own, you will
have a lot of problems unless you do it exactly as was said.
4) Part of the problems lies in the fact that, while there is a ton of
useful vocabulary, there are many, many things which you are unlikely to
say - "Every child is a gift from God", "I never ate there, not even once"
- things that are nice to know but it is at the expense of reinforcing
sentences that are more standard. Vocab is not reviewed in a consistent
way. They will throw in a word like "cai", guess, but never really do
anything with it. The stories are just heaped on without any real hope of
actively reproducing the vocab - like so-and-so "speaks with a thick
accent" - just thrown in. I'd say they do nothing with 50% of the vocab or
mention something only once.
5) Fully devoid of any cultural context outside of the language
commentary. They mentioned chop sticks once. Beyond that, this could be
the Arabic course or French course. No mention of famous sites in China.
In their numerous examples, they never ONCE have a Chinese name! Always
Bob, Maria etc., never Miss Li or Mr. Wang. So the course is oriented to
the English key words and seems also to be based on the original Spanish
AND it lacks any real cultural context for China.
6) The English-speaker. His role in this is very strange. As stated above,
he will often go for pages reading phrases. Then through in a "wonderful".
He will ask about an occasional word or pronunciation but it is worse when
he makes his observations about grammar. Many things are just wrong or
absurd. He asks the speaker if there is a way to say "I give to him" (Um,
what language in the world doesn't have a way to say that?). At one point,
he starts referring to the PAST TENSE in Chinese with LE. This is
deceptive and incorrect. LE can happen in the present tense too, Wo bing
le - but they translate this as "I'm sick", no explanation. At one point,
he wants to review the subject pronouns, after 15 minutes of sentences
using the subject pronouns. In CD 7, he is surprised to learn that there
are no specific object pronouns in Chinese - they are the same as the
subject ones - um, wouldn't it be a good idea to talk about that in CD 1?
At another point, he says, "Chinese does not distinguish plural" um no,
that is not accurate either. There are many cases when you can use "penyoumen"
(friends) etc. No one says the person has to be a walking linguistics
professor but what he says should be accurate. And, as I said above, he
says many structures which sound alike in English but product different
structures in Chinese, so this does not help you to reproduce the
7) Attempts are made to address certain subjects, clothes, ordering food
etc. Yet there is often no real attempt to speak about a certain topic.
You'll get 5-6 sentences on a restaurant and then something completely
different. It would be better if they could have more of a topic focus.
In summary: Yes, it has value. If you can learn the many phrases, you can
say some very intesting things in Chinese. The problem arises, however, if
you try to USE the structures beyond CD 1. You are given very little
guidance for a whole mass of vocabulary, English structures that translate
into many Chinese structures, vocabulary that many not be suitable for
everyday situations. Buy it for the car, but something else for more
comprehensive study at home.
|1 of 2 people found the following review
Great Course - Multi-Track - 2 Native Speakers, March 24, 2006
I tried Pimsleur's Chinese (Mandarin) (Instant Conversation) and
returned it because it didn't have multi-tracks, they presented too little
vocabulary and the the course was 'rigid'.
I prefer the method in Behind the Wheel Chinese because there are
(very important for in-car language learning), a good memory technique and
great original sentence formation exercises that get you speaking Mandarin
from the get-go.
|6 of 7 people found the following review
Out of the Box Creativity - Very Effective, March 11, 2006
Giselle (Baton Rouge,
As a foreign language professor, I must say that I have experienced my
fair share of learning technologies.
I am originally from France and I speak several languages fluently. I have
tried everything from the direct method to ALM including TPR (Total
Until recently, Mandarin Chinese was not one of the language I spoke.
Now, in grand part thanks to Behind the Wheel Chinese, I do speak a good
deal of conversational Mandarin.
The method is highly effective I believe because it is structure to be
simple and yet compounding at the same time.
By 'compounding'' I mean that you can use variations of the sentence
structure forms that you learn in different way and thus magnify your
communication without having to learn a lot of vocabulary.
This means that even a small fund of vocabulary, say 100 words can give
you the ability to express yourself quite effective in a number of
situations and even create your own communication quite easily.
I give this wonderful method and course 5 stars. And I am hard to please,
|6 of 9 people found the following review
Fabulous Idea and Wonderfully Implemented, March 1, 2006
Janice (Santa Fe, N.M.)
I actually bought and used a Pimsleur Chinese course and returned it in
favor of Behind the Wheel Chinese. And I am so glad I did.
My reasons for loving this course are obvious.
First of all let me say that anyone that says this course doesn't have
structure should have his or her head examined.
The structure of this course, beginning with how easily any novice learner
can begin creating his/her own sentences is nothing short of amazing.
The idea behind the course is as obvious as it is brilliant.
Make it simple and make it fast. Provide a template from which to create
The course comes with multi-track CDs which Pimsleur didn't have. This
added a lot of needed flexibility to my learning experience.
I agree with the reviewer that stated she loves Mark's down to business
It cuts through the difficulties of the Chinese language like a hot knife
totally demystifying what many consider to be one of the most difficult
languages on the planet.
Some of the reviews I have read against this product make it obvious that
they haven't even used the course, and worse .....
They want to learn to write and read Mandarin while driving their cars.
I hope I never get caught in traffic with them.
|5 of 10 people found the following review
Great idea, but not well implemented, February 25, 2006
I've been listening to the CDs to and from work over the past three
weeks. I'm far from done with them but already have some serious concerns
that other purchasers should be aware of.
The basic idea is a fine one ... an English speaker says a word or phrase,
and a native Mandarin (Chinese) speaker repeats the word or phrase in
Chinese. From individual words and phrases you learn to buildn sentences.
The implementation leaves a lot to be desired.
The CD producers seemed to forget some important points. Because you're
listening in your car, there is a decent amount of ambient noise. Many
people will need to really crank up the sound in order to catch subtle
differences in sound and pronounciations. Second, because there are no
written materials, there is nothing to use to help you when a word sound
is difficult to hear, and the narrators do not clarify what letter sound
they are using. Many sounds are very close: B and V and P can also sound
alike; so can T and the hard G sound. There are others. But in only one
case does the English speaker say "Is that a B, a V, or a P?" In others,
I've resorted to finding an on-line English/Chinese dictionary so I could
type in the English word and find the Pinyin (English character version)
word. Sometimes the Mandarin speaker's rendering of the word sounds
different in the first repetition from the second. This makes learning
difficult -- you're wondering "Do I say 'kong tzua' or 'tong tzua' or
'gong tzua'?" No way to know without help outside the CD.
Another criticism I have is that the CD is sloppily edited. Again ... all
you have to use is a CD. No book, no booklet, nothing in writing to help
you. That means the CD better be perfect, and it's far from it. For
instance, on CD 2, there is a long series attempting to teach the listener
the phrases "I want", "I like", "I can", and "I have to." From time to
time, the editing is incorrect, so after having heard that one phrase
means "I like", the native speaker is played saying the phrase that we
just learned means "I want." The first time this happens it's very
confusing. It takes a while to keep listening, replaying, and finally to
realize that someone misedited the section. That's frustrating.
Another criticism is that, as the English narrator says, "Repetition is
the mother of skills." But there can be very long gaps between the
appearance of a word and its use in a sentence. In CD 1, for instance,
there is a long list of nouns like book, key, street, house, etc. Some of
those words have yet to be used by the middle of CD 3, and I'm sure
they'll be forgotten by then. And at the end of each CD, there is a longer
segment where we're told we're going to "tell a story" - essentially, have
a series of related sentences that give information. But instead of
building on what was already taught, the story often introduces new words,
verb forms, and phrases, which are now in the middle of much longer
sentences, making it difficult with only 2 repetiitions to hear and
I'm using this series to supplement the Rosetta Stone CD program I have. I
also bought McNaughton's Chinese Characters book. Both of those are much
higher quality in terms of the quality of the instruction they offer and
their organization. "Behind the Wheel Chinese" will give you a few new
phrases, and if it's your only way to learn Chinese in a busy schedule, it
may be helpful, but it's a flawed product that could have been much
|8 of 10 people found the following review
Awesome - , February 24, 2006
I love the way Mike Frobose lays out the drills - it really cuts to the
chase and gets you speaking the language. I would highly recommned this CD
pack to anyone that has a commute to work, or that can download it into
their MP3 player and listen to it during a workout or on a plane trip.
You might be surprised when you get the product - it practically looks
homemade, but it's definitely the best language teaching CD's out there
that I've found.