There’s no doubt about it…learning Mandarin is challenging. But one website thinks it may have stumbled upon a winning formula, at least if you’re a teenage boy. At SexyMandarin.com, online Mandarin lessons are delivered by lingerie-clad “tutors” striking a variety of suggestive poses.
For example, one lesson, entitled “What Time is It?”, gives the viewer a brief rundown of how to ask and answer that question in Mandarin. Demonstrating proper pronunciation are two barely clothed female “models” who have apparently snuck away from their husbands for some “girl time.”
The idea of someone actually using these videos to learn Mandarin may seem about as far-fetched as the idea of actually reading Playboy for the articles, but their creator, Kaoru Kikuchi, said the scantily-clad females make the language more approachable. As he explained to the Telegraph,
“If you go the textbook way with all these Chinese characters it just makes you intimidated. If you start with the colloquial way … or sexy clips it is a different story.”
Meanwhile, producer Mick Gleissner admitted the project is “ kind of ridiculous but it’s also fun.”
Ridiculous, yes. Fun, perhaps. But will it actually help you learn Mandarin? Wu Yue, a teacher from Beijing’s Mandarin Connection school, told the Telegraph she doubted it would:
“It is very entertaining, and might be good for marketing and promotion, but [it is] not good for serious language learning,” she said. “Students would get easily distracted during a class featuring sexual content.”
And in the end, marketing and promotion seem to be exactly what these videos are all about. At the end of the videos, you get the tagline “When you’re serious about learning Mandarin, head over to NewConceptMandarin.com,” a language school that offers DVDs, online classes and immersion courses, with nary a word about sexy Mandarin “tutors.”