How to get past a beginner / intermediate level in Chinese

I got an email a couple of days ago from a blog reader who wrote "I watched your video where you spoke Chinese and would say I understood about 75% of it, however I know I would have no chance of replicating it if asked to speak.  How often have you encountered people like me who understand quite a bit of the language, even at fast speeds, but can only speak in short, choppy sentences?" First of all, this is a common and sometimes frustrating part of learning to speak a language, but it is Continue Reading

101 Reasons Why Learning Chinese Is Easy

Is learning Chinese hard? An age-old debate among language learners is whether Chinese is exponentially more difficult to learn than other languages. Here are 101 reasons why it is easy to learn to understand, speak, read and write Mandarin Chinese, why there are actually a lot of things in your favour and how there are a lot of tools that can help you. Chinese, like any other language, is just made up of repeated patterns, which can be practised and learnt. Verbs don’t conjugate in Continue Reading

How to Learn to Speak Fluent Mandarin Chinese – Step 3

Moving from the Beginner/Lower Intermediate Stage to a More Advanced Level In Parts 1 and 2 of my guide to how to teach yourself to speak fluent Mandarin Chinese, I talk about learning pronunciation and building a solid foundation in the language. I mentioned how it is important not to work too fast at the beginner's stage. I have made this same mistake myself, I have read through beginners books and thought I understood a lot when actually I just had a basic idea. It is important to work Continue Reading

Making Your Foreign Language Study Effective: Active Not Passive Learning

I studied Spanish at school, by which I mean I took classes in Spanish, and I got good marks in all the exams as well, but I never really thought I could speak Spanish well, even after a year or so of taking classes. Amazingly, it took me a few years to figure out why my grades were so high but my ability to use the language was so limited. My experience learning Chinese has been completely different, and not only because I put more time into it. From my experience, I can now explain why I was Continue Reading

How To Read Chinese Texts Easily Using Software

Reading Chinese texts is a significant obstacle for any Chinese learner. Beginners will often have worked through a textbook that has introduced some characters, and they may be able to recognise or read a few. They may also have looked through flashcards to get to grips with basic characters. However, learners of any language often find that reading 'real texts' requires so much vocabulary than they have learned at the beginner level, and reading can often be slow or require a lot of looking up Continue Reading