The Truth 🤔 What Really Are The Best Ways To Learn Chinese?
OK then, here’s the deal… the best ways to learn Chinese are:
Tip 1 – Make friends with Chinese people
Tip 2 – Get a Chinese partner
Tip 3 – Study on the Move
Tip 4 – Master the Tones
Tip 5 – Immerse Yourself
Tip 6 – Study 1-on-1
Tip 8 – Social Media (don’t ignore it)
Tip 9 – Download Hack Chinese
It’s a broad question that has no correct answer, but a number of potential solutions depending on the type of learner you are.
Here’s some tips to get you started learning Mandarin from your own home.
Thing is. We are all different.
Some people learn Chinese by simply memorizing characters, others like to break characters down and discover the history and their radicals, whilst some just prefer getting stuck into a good old fashioned text book.
Let us give you some of our thoughts on the best way to learn Chinese.
Tip 1 – Make Friends with Chinese People
This is a brilliant way to expand your horizons, not just regarding the Chinese language, but the culture as well.
You’ll be learning without even realising and it’s actually great fun.
Sharing dinner, going to a bar or just a casual Sunday afternoon stroll discovering China.
You cannot go wrong when making friends with locals. Our homestay option is a great way of doing this where you can live with a Chinese family and build life long friendships.
Chinese people are known to be incredibly welcoming and friendly.
Our Connection Kit can also help you make friends in China if you are a little shy when making new friends at first.
Before we move onto our next point we also wanted to share with you our LTL PODCAST – this here was our very first episode, we talk about why you should come to study Chinese in China, well worth 15 minutes of your time, we hope!Ready, steady….
Tip 2 – Get a Chinese Boyfriend/Girlfriend
The best way to learn Chinese?
Take things one step further and get yourself in a relationship with a Chinese partner!
This is actually a fantastic way of getting to know about China and the culture of relationships here, if you are willing to take the plunge of course!
Preferably your partner will speak little English.
The less they speak, the more you’ll learn.
Clearly you probably won’t likely pick your partner based on this criteria but it’ll benefit your Chinese skills hugely, and we can guarantee that! If things go well between you, even better!
Tip 3 – Study on the Move
Let’s face it, we are in a day and age where anything and everything is accessible right at our fingertips.
The joys of the smartphone allow us to study Chinese like never before.
There are so many apps you can use to learn Mandarin.
Unfamiliar with what you should download?
No problem, we regularly review our favourite Chinese learning Apps via our blog.
Take advantage of your metro journey or spend some time with your feet up taking in information, the freedom of studying on your phone is invaluable and should be taken advantage of.
Whether you spend five minutes per day or five hours, you’ll benefit from studying Chinese on your phone.
Tip 4 – Master the Tones
As you’ll see below, learning the tones in Chinese is essential and should not be neglected.
It’s a different concept to what most are used to but it isn’t as tough as you may think.
Although it isn’t an exact tip on the best way to learn Chinese per-say, it is something you HAVE to overcome.
TIP – There are four tones, each with their own “sound”.
Be sure to nail these down early and get your pronunciation spot on. By doing this you have built yourself the foundation for learning Chinese.
Tip 5 – Immerse Yourself
In our opinion, this is the best way to learn Chinese and something we ALWAYS talk about!
If you are on a tight schedule, let’s say in need of a certain level of Chinese for a new job, then immersion in China is the single most important thing to achieve.
Getting caught in the “foreign bubble” in China is an easy thing to do in the bigger cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen, so immersion is far easier to achieve visiting somewhere like Chengde.
This is where the most standard Mandarin is spoken throughout the whole of China and Taiwan and you will not find an Irish Pub or Burger King here.
Chengde Travel Guide 🧳 Ultimate Guide for Visiting Chengde
Chengde Travel Guide – Going to Chengde is a step into the unknown for 99% of our students who go there so here’s the guide to our Immersive gem!
We regularly see students visit Chengde and come back to Beijing with a much more advanced level of Chinese.
Stay with a Chinese family in Chengde, live and breathe Chinese 24/7 and you’ll see your Mandarin sky rocket, fast.
Tip 6 – Study Chinese 1-on-1
Similarly to point 4, if you are on a strict time schedule, learning Chinese 1-on-1 will prove much more effective in a two month period than learning in group classes.
Firstly, that’s absolutely nothing against learning Chinese in a group.
Group classes offer the chance to learn off your fellow students and work as a team in decoding the language.
However, studying Chinese 1-on-1 gives you the ability to tailor lessons exactly how you want to.
If you want to learn speaking you can, if you prefer to learn about the history of characters, you can.
You will also have the 100% focus of your teacher which is something that is incredibly beneficial.
Tip 7 – Take Advantage of Chinese Learning Apps
There are sooooooooo many Chinese Language Learning Apps to take advantage of it’s almost overwhelming!
That said we’ve boiled it down nicely for you. Every so often we review some of these apps and publish them via our blog.
You get the household names like Duolingo and Memrise which also cover other languages, and others more tailored towards the Chinese market.
The great thing about using apps to learn Chinese is you can pick what you enjoy most/your greater weaknesses.
Example A – Your spoken Chinese is strong but you struggle with the characters. What app should you download?
LTL Recommends – Download Skritter! An app solely focused on building your knowledge of the characters which also allows you to correct your stroke order! You wouldn’t go far wrong with downloading Chineasy also!
Example B – You are a Chinese beginner, there are so many apps you don’t know which way to turn. Help me LTL!?
For a full list of all our Chinese App reviews, visit our Reviews Category on our Blog.
PS – to find out my favourite app of all to learn Chinese… head onto chapter 9…
Tip 8 – Social Media (It’s Your Friend)
Social Media is often a distraction when trying to get a job done.
You are trying to study, you see something on your Social Media, and 20 minutes later you curse at yourself for the time lost…
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
In fact, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and the like can actually be fantastic resources to learn, well just about anything these days.
The same is true for Chinese.
There are a TONNE of fantastic channels and accounts out there ready and waiting to teach you how to learn Chinese.
Now of course, you’ll perhaps not get fluent using this method, but it’s a damn sight cheaper if you can’t quite afford a trip to China, or you have limited time on your hands.
FOR EXAMPLE – Instagram
And the great thing?
They all do something a little bit different.
You’ve got traditional Mandarin teaching with accounts who love to interact with their students like @easymandarinteacher…
You’ve got character learning lessons with @han_characters…
You’ve got @sofunmandarin who teach us Chinese with kids…
The list goes on, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
YouTube offers the same, and more… Facebook also has some great accounts and groups of a similar ilk.
Learning online is easier than ever before and there are probably more resources than you are aware… that’s where we are here to help!
Tip 9 – Download & Use Hack Chinese
This is without doubt, my personal favourite to learn Chinese and it’s called HACK CHINESE.
Hack Chinese is actually (at the time of writing) not a downloadable app, but something you use in browser.
It is the single best way to remember Chinese characters I have come across and just to prove that to you I want to show you my progress after using Hack for 120 days.
In short, I started using Hack knowing about 1,200 words (HSK 4 level) and after 4 months I’ve now expanded my vocab to 3,039 words… more than doubling what I picked up in 3 years previous.
That’s not bad going at all, and you know what, it really works.
Hack use spaced repetition to help drill home those characters.
I won’t go into a world of detail here because I’ve already written an extensive review about it… and you can also check out our video review below…
But one things for sure.
You should absolutely use this app, no matter what level of Chinese you are.
What About the Best Place to Learn Chinese?
We are one step ahead of you! We’ve got that covered already in a previous blog post!
Now, of course, you can learn Chinese anywhere in the world, it’s absolutely possible.
That said, it will only enhance the speed of learning actually being in China.
Problem is, China is one heck of a country in terms of size, where should you go?
So we decided to compile our very own list of the best places to study Chinese in China… drumroll please!
👇👇👇 We reveal the… 👇👇👇
Where Are The Best Places to Learn Chinese in China (in 2021)
Where is the best place to learn Chinese in China? The country isn’t exactly small, options are vast and it can appear tough. Here’s our favourites.
Learning Chinese – FAQ’s
What is the best way to Learn Chinese on the move?
Podcasts are a great weapon for learning Chinese on a commute to work for example.
If you aren’t at the wheel, then utilise the plethora of Chinese learning apps at your hands. Duolingo, Skritter, Chineseskill and many more are great for topping up your Chinese in those little windows of time you have.
Is Chinese really hard to learn?
It actually isn’t. It is a common misconception that Chinese is hard to learn. This is thought of because it differs so much from any western language, but there are many elements of Chinese that make it incredibly logical.
Chinese grammar is much easier than most, Chinese uses building blocks (when you know one word, you can second guess others), Chinese doesn’t use tenses… the list goes on.
Once you overcome the early stages and master the tones, Chinese is certainly not as hard as everyone thinks.
Can I improve my Chinese online?
Although coming to China is important to master elements of the language there is no doubt you can make great progress learning Mandarin online also.
Can I become fluent in a year?
Being fluent is a loose term. Many people have different definitions of fluent.
Let’s say your definition is “can I pass HSK 6 in 1 year“.
Yes this is possible, we’ve had students here do it before, we have proof in fact!
That said, this takes intensive study, a great deal of commitment and time. You must want it, and allow yourself to enjoy it.
Can I become fluent by learning online?
It’s possible to build up a good level of Chinese online but nothing beats being in the country itself and immersing yourself in Chinese culture.
How many characters do I need to know to pass HSK 6?
HSK 6 is the highest HSK exam a foreigner can take. To pass this you should know 2633 characters and 5000 words.
Can I learn Mandarin in all areas of China?
Of course, being surrounded by people who speak 100% Mandarin is the best formula for success but that doesn’t mean you cannot reach fluency in areas where other dialects are spoken, such as Shanghai or Guangdong province for example.
Many Chinese from the north are increasingly often relocating down south for the nicer weather. Couple this with the governments wish to spread Mandarin throughout all areas of China, this means actually you’ll be able to find Mandarin speakers all over China.
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