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Anyone else succeed after feeling totally lost learning Chinese?

Hi all,

I've been learning Spanish on Duo for some time and it is going very well...I walk around speaking it to myself all the time. Decided to try Chinese and I am so lost...completely guessing at anything that requires constructing a sentence...I can pick out characters for numbers and a few others but I'm lost when assembling...Any success stories out there that can keep me going?

September 5, 2018



ok, so I'm a native Chinese speaker - and I can give you a reverse experience. Romance languages are difficult for me, as I'm horrible at the grammar. As the use of conjugations, tenses, etc.. are just not used in Chinese. So I keep gettings things wrong, this is after living in the US for decades. But eventually, you 'get' it. So if you never had experience with Asian languages, then the totally different writing system and the different grammar will be very alien. But keep to it, you will 'get it' at some point. Ask questions, lots of supportive people here. For the writing system, some people have success learning 'radicals' - as all Chinese words are not totally random, they comprised of distinct 'radicals'. good luck!


thank you...I will do some research on the radicals in the characters and see if it can help me deconstruct them.


I started Chinese 3 weeks ago & I'm finding it incredibly easy. So far that is.

I'm actually memorising the characters & repeat all the lessons daily to help me.

The grammar is different, or the other way around. Example: in English we will say: "Good morning Mom & Dad" whilst in Chinese it is: "Mom & Dad, good morning". I've found that applies to everything. Another example: in Chinese the following phrase is said like "I'm today very busy" instead of "I'm very busy today".

So, wrap your mind around that & rewire it when learning Chinese.

They also have the same word for various characters, example: the word 'shi ' has various meanings & characters. The difference will come in with the tone of the word, you will have to recognise & practise the tone if you want to speak & listen to the language. And you should understand the meaning if you read it in context of the sentence.

I'm unable to do any listening activities so far & suspect I may have to do a lot of listening exercises to get that right & even more practise to get the pronunciation right.

Just persevere. Good luck!


Just remember that the sentence structure never changes for different types of questions. For basic sentences, the subject always goes first and is followed by the verb, then the subject. It definitely can sound unnatural to English (and Spanish) speakers because of the way it sounds translated word for word. For example:

这是什么? This is what?

In English we would put what at the beginning, but Chinese always puts the subject (this) first.

The tricky part is figuring out what the subject is when translating from English. Duolingo does not always make this easy. I suggest that maybe you write down the answer to each question along with the translation for each individual word until you can really see the pattern. Writing the characters will also help you remember them better.

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