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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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The Basic Strokes Used in All Chinese Characters

Types of Strokes This post is the first in a new series about how to learn to write Chinese characters. I’m not concentrating on simplified or traditional characters here, I’m just talking about the basic principles. Let’s start right from the beginning. Each Chinese character is made up of different strokes. A stroke means a […]

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Anki – An Easy Way to Learn Vocabulary in a Foreign Language

Readers of this blog will know that I have studied multiple foreign languages, and one of the key concepts behind my approach to using language is utilising technology. One of the biggest ways I use technology during my language learning is by using flashcard software to get vocabulary to stick. The piece of software I […]

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How long does it take to learn to speak fluent Chinese?

‘How long does it take to learn to speak fluent Chinese?’ As somebody who has been studying Chinese for more than six years, this is a question that I am often asked. People often expect the answer to be ‘a lot longer than for European languages’, as Chinese is often perceived as a more ‘difficult […]

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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 […]

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Why did I make a ‘British Westerner Speaking Fluent Mandarin Chinese’ video?

Why did I post a video of myself speaking ‘fluent Chinese’? Some people will say I wanted to show off, some people will say I wanted people to pay attention, some people will be impressed, and as always there will be naysayers and critics. The video is far from perfect, there are going to be […]

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