The Engish Dept head, Sun-chieh Liang, arranged for me to sit in on a beginning Mandarin class. It was in a small room. The students are from Korea, Japan, Hong kong, the US- and the class was taught in English. It's for absolute beginners. Here's one thing to give you an example of how different it is. The tonal accent goes on the vowel that is said with the mouth open widest. a o ei u u I am pretty sure it will take me the rest of this life and a few others to learn enough Mandarin to be of any use, but no matter.