I started Mandarin lessons this week. For at least the past three years, maybe longer, I’ve been contemplating the possibility of learning to speak and read Chinese. Most of my favorite movies are Chinese, like The Missing Gun, which is an awesome detective movie set in a small Chinese town. Understanding what’s being said in the native language instead of reading subtitles would go a long way to improving the movie experience for me. I also think there’s a ton of exciting stuff happening in technology in China and lacking an understanding of the language means I’m missing out. At first, I thought I might try to learn using The Pimsleur CDs, which are highly rated as the solution for learning to speak just about any language. I’m using them as a supplement to studying with a private tutor, because with all the distractions of working on projects, it’s too easy to put off studying with something like a CD. The private lessons put a burden on me to demonstrate some progress to someone else and also create a feedback mechanism for me to know I’m on the right track. More on the lessons as they progress, it’s certainly a different experience learning a tonal language when compared to English or the Spanish and French languages I’ve studied in the past.