6 Responses

  1. Huey Ly

    Thanks for the useful links Richard, those are some great sites.

    I just wanted to add a brief comment though. You can use as many learning tools, online or offline, as you want, but the best method is still just getting out there and using it. You don’t need a year’s worth of lessons to start, just work with what you know. I’ve met a lot of expats that’s been here in Xi’an for years now, but can still barely speak but a few phrases. You’re living in the country for crying out loud, there’s no excuse for you to not get out there and practice the language.

    I took maybe a year’s worth of lessons in the U.S. before moving here, and I can honestly say that I learned more within a month of living in Xi’an than all the Rosetta Stone sessions and private lessons I did in the States. This was because my roommate’s girlfriend doesn’t speak English very well, and I’m forced to communicate in Mandarin almost everyday. The human brain is a natural language learning machine! Have faith in it. Use it often and you’ll be entering the third phase in no time. Really. :)

  2. Huey Ly

    Also, I second the advice from John Biesnecker of the ChinesePod fame that you have to learn how to read and write if you want to truly learn the language. I’ve met guys who think they don’t really need to learn the characters, just learning how to hear and speak Mandarin is enough. Maybe. But really they’re just being lazy.

    Learning how a word is written and being able to write it will help your brain remember the words much better and longer. Otherwise you’re just learning something half-assedly. Learn to speak it, read it, say it, write it. Learn the words thoroughly, in all aspects. Pwn them words, make them your own.

  3. Viv Marsh

    As someone stuck between Phases 1 and 2 of Chinese learning, I find all of this v useful and would just like to add a tip for some really good flashcards – StickyStudy Chinese, for iPhone and iPad. Sometimes you just have to get down and learn the vocab, and I find this is as good as Anki but with the advantage of up-to-date HSK lists. Not cheap, but excellent. Agree re handwriting – it’s a nice-to-have in the age of computers and it really DOES help with understanding and recognising characters (less so with Simplified, obviously, but even so) – but yes, I too would rather spend time practising speaking.

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