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Strategies to learn Chinese

Hi there. I'm interested to hear what strategies or resources other people are using to help learn Chinese. What do you use to help you learn? Do you just use Duolingo or do you use any other techniques to help learn Chinese?

Personally, I'm using a notebook and using only the Duolingo course. I've been writing down all the characters taught so far (I'm up to Greetings 2 - the 4th skill now), and been writing down the pronounciation as well as their meaning. It's helped me a lot with remembering which characters mean what and how to pronounce them.

If anyone uses any other techniques let me know below. One thing I'd like to improve is my speaking and listening abilities, and I'm not sure where to start - other than moving to China - so if you have any suggestions that'd be very useful.

Thank you.

November 21, 2017



By far the most useful thing I did trying to learn chinese was trying to put it into practice, particularly speaking it, and I've never lived in China. My suggestion would be to seek out the Chinese community where you live and try and find opportunities to practice there. And have a dictionary on you [ I find a one on smartphone useful]. Look stuff up. Also if you make some Chinese friends they use wechat and you can chat to them there. It becomes much more engaging and fun this way. Otherwise your productive language can lag way behind your receptive.


What you could also do is try to watch Chinese drama's. There are a lot of them with English and Chinese subtitles online and on youtube. Even if you don't understand Chinese yet, based on the English subtitles and the context in which certain phrases are used, you can learn phrases that are often used (like greetings, apologies, confessions or other common phrases)

[deactivated user]

    I remember using Memrise a while back. Memerise is really good for vocabulary, it's been quite some time and I am surprised at how much I remember. Although I haven't looked at these sites much since about 1.5 years ago there is yoyochinese which seems good.


    I also use Memrise and I think it's great. The approach is different from that of DL, I find them complementary. It is awesome having both available!


    for listening, you can try watching movies or listening to a song, but there are so many accent and dialect so it might be confusing if you have a friend that can speak mandarin, they can help you with speaking and listening


    I have recently moved to China and am studying at an international school. In class, we use textbooks that are really simple to understand and teach you everything you need to know. The order in which you learn it is different from Duolingo but it covers all the same stuff. Inside the textbook, there is activities, texts and vocabulary sections which include the Pīnyīn (pronunciation). There is also a workbook which has more activities, as well as the order in how to write the characters. I'm not sure if you can buy them in other countries around the world but in the first bunch of books, the instructions are in English and then when you can speak it more fluently the instructions turn into Chinese. I find the textbooks really helpful and they have made it so that in a few months of practising every day I can participate in class discussions with more understanding. I hope this helps.


    When I first started with Chinese I got a copy of the Pimsleur course. In my opinion this is a great beginners course for people who want to focus on speaking and listening. I think that it is pretty expensive so if you have access to some kind of library where you can check it out, that is what I recommend. I remember that the best material on the tones that I found was a free, not very new course, that could be downloaded from the internet. I do not remember what it was called, but I have a feeling that it was some kind of letter combination/acronym. It might have been some old course designed for US diplomats ... don't know if anyone else might recognize what I am talking about.


    If you are a total beginner and using only DuoLingo so far, I'd recommend you'd look for any resources to help you learn pinyin well (tones and pronunciation). Once you master pinyin it becomes much easier to progress.

    In addition to writing them down, I find that speaking the words outloud is also quite useful to memorize them for example.

    Good luck and enjoy!


    On the writing part, I think it is quite important to learn the basic rules for character stroke order. There is a specific order for drawing the characters and it's better to get the good habits from the beginning.


    listen more, speak more, read more, write more (I just use pinyin) USE IT


    If you are starting now, I would suggest you stick to Duolingo for some time, which you can combine with Pimsleur. You can also write down in a notebook or a file all the Duo vocabulary, and later enter it in Quizlet (which is also free) in order to review.

    Once you finish the Chinese course, the reverse course (English from Chinese) is probably worth it (although some translations seem a bit odd to me)

    In the long run: I would recommend Skritter for vocabulary. There are also many Graded Readers with audio, and they are quite cheap.


    Enjoy listening with a podcast such as : Learn Chinese - Easy Situational Mandarin Chinese Audio Lessons

    Learn Chinese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.