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Language courses for the self-learner have got to improve

It has become a trend now for people to learn languages on their own, using ‘teach yourself’ style language courses. A myriad of products have sprung up for those who don’t want to pay for a full class, and want to learn in their own time, at their own speed and on their own terms. […]

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10 of the most unusual English brand names in China

A light hearted post today. Since I came to Beijing this time, I have noticed changes in branding in China. I have seen just how many Chinese retail brands are on the rise and how many Chinese clothing and household shops can be seen in trendy shopping malls, alongside familiar Western brands. Brands in China […]

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How persistence will get you to an expert level in Chinese

Yesterday, I published a guest post on ‘Fluent in 3 Months’, a language learning website that I have been a fan of for a long time. I am very grateful to Benny Lewis, the ‘Irish Polyglot’ for hosting me! Head to the homepage of his travel and language learning blog to find out more. Recently, a […]

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TV in China – What TV Stations and Shows Are Popular?

I have written already on how to watch Chinese TV online. Watching TV shows can be a great way to improve your language skills, increase your listening comprehension in a language or pick up the latest slang, all in a very relaxed way! It is worth saying that watching TV in China is a very […]

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Should you learn simplified or traditional Chinese characters?

A common question I get asked by beginner Chinese learners is: should I learn simplified Chinese characters or traditional Chinese characters. Do I need to learn both? Should I learn one type first and then the other? Before I answer the question, let me start with some facts. 1. Simplified Chinese characters are mainly used […]

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Why does the West still understand so little about China?

China and the West were historically very closed off from each other. China was largely self-sufficient and didn’t trade with distant nations. It was difficult for foreigners to enter the country and exchanges were few. These days, there are dozens of flights in and out of China every day, billions of pounds worth of business […]

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How to Watch Chinese TV Online

Watching Chinese TV online is a great way of increasing your knowledge of China and improving your language skills at the same time. Learners who don’t have so much exposure to the language can watch Chinese TV to keep the language in their heads and make sure they don’t get rusty. Gone are the days […]

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Can you learn a language just by living in the country?

Many people believe that they can learn a language or ‘pick it up’ simply by spending time in a place where it is spoken and being around the language all the time.  Is it possible to learn a language through ‘osmosis’ or through total immersion? The answer is both yes and no. Let’s look at […]

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How to Practise Writing Chinese Characters Online

In Parts 1 and 2 of this series on how to write Chinese characters, we talked about the basic strokes that make up each Chinese character and also some basic principles behind the order in which you write the strokes in Chinese characters. These basic components and rules give you a foundation to get started, but they […]

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Essential Rules for Stroke Order in Chinese Characters

Basic Principles For Writing Chinese Characters In Part 1, I explained the basic types of strokes that make up every Chinese character. Now, before we move on to practising full characters, let’s look at some of the principles behind which order to write the strokes in. Before I explain this, bear in mind two things […]

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