ehophi wrote:Meh, I've made flashcard decks that teach Mandarin better than any instructor or textbook would. If you're willing to dig past the first page of Google results and get creative with your search terms, you'll actually find a goldmine of free stuff that is equally or more effective than any single textbook would be.
Hell, an app like Pleco or Memeo (think CC-Edict plus built-in flashcard app), honest self-checking, some personally interesting reading material, and a good computer dictionary could replace 99% of what some professional college instructors offer.
IF you already know the structure of the language. Flashcards will not give you that. Reading could, potentially -- if you had enough structure in the first place to work out what anything meant.
Also, all professional college instructors I'm aware of teach using rules-and-output. So they are eminently replaceable with drills and flashcards and annotated reading resources. There are a few of us out here trying to do a bit better, though.