Learn Advanced Chinese || It Can Be Done!
So how do I learn Advanced Chinese?
Sure, textbooks are important. But if you’re after reaching pro – level Mandarin Chinese, total immersion is key.
You’re going to have to add some extra things on top of your textbook Chinese learning.
So, which things really work when you’re trying to learn a language at a more advanced level?
Learning Advanced Chinese | Listen to Chinese Music
Learning Advanced Chinese | Watch Chinese Media
Learning Advanced Chinese | Get Chinese Friends
Learning Advanced Chinese | Use Chinese Apps
Learning Advanced Chinese | Use Apps in Chinese
Learning Advanced Chinese | Use Chinese Social Media
Learning Advanced Chinese | Intermediate vs Advanced Study Techniques
Learn Advanced Chinese || Listen to Chinese Music
If you’re already a fan of listening to music then this one will be the easiest one for you.
And the best way to say that you’re “studying” when actually you’re just enjoying some tunes on the way to work.
If you don’t live in China, listening to music is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the language and learn advanced Chinese.
Depending on your Chinese language level, you can use listening to Chinese music as a way to get you used to the sounds, or you can be a more active listener and try to translate lyrics.
Bear in mind though, lyrics are often poetic and can be tricky to translate!
This also helps with your character reading ability!
Learn Advanced Chinese || Watch Chinese Media
Similar to listening to Chinese music, watching Chinese media can be very beneficial when it comes to immersing yourself in the language.
No matter what your level, you can use watching Chinese media as a great way to study.
Basic: Watch Chinese films and dramas in Chinese with English subtitles. This will help you to get used to the tones and sounds of the language.
Intermediate: Watch some of your favourite films in Chinese. Get on the Lion King in Chinese, or your other favourite Disney films and try to understand as much as you can. You already know the storyline, so you don’t need to worry about concentrating too much and getting lost!
Advanced: Watch a new Chinese film or drama – no subtitles! No cheating!
Pro: Watch a new Chinese film or drama and every new word you discover or new grammar construction you don’t understand, pause and look it up. At the end of the film, go over the new words you’ve just learnt!
Learn Advanced Chinese || Get a Chinese Boyfriend/Girlfriend
Dating in China can be an interesting culture shock, but also a great experience.
Not to mention, it’s great for your Chinese, too!
Learning European languages such as German, French, and Spanish as an English native speaker can sometimes be difficult to use in relationships.
People from many other European countries will learn English as a second language and be pretty darn good at it.
So why would you bother speaking in their language when they already speak such good English? Also, it can get a bit intimidating if their English is a lot better.
It’s very easy to give up.
However, Chinese is different. You will find that not many people at all speak English as a second language. This is true especially so in the countryside or smaller cities, but also surprisingly true even in big cities such as Beijing.
Whether this is a blessing or a curse is debatable. There are certainly ups and downs to the little English spoken in China and the fact that English is not learnt as widely as in other countries.
So how can this help my Chinese?
Well, speaking in Chinese day in day out whilst going on different dates will certainly help with immersion. What’s more, is that you’ll be putting yourself in entirely different situations and exposing yourself to entirely new items of vocabulary and different situations.
Ever had an argument in Chinese?
Plus, Chinese dating culture requires pretty frequent texting… Practice that character usage and resist using the translation feature on WeChat!
If you want to give dating Chinese guys or girls a go, do try out the top Chinese dating apps to get you started!
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Learn Advanced Chinese || Make Chinese Friends
Getting Chinese friends is not only a great way to learn the language but also learn and understand more about the culture.
You will hear Chinese as it is used in a natural environment by people of your age. Basically, the Chinese you want to be learning.
Sure, speaking to one Chinese friend is impressive. But can you hold your own speaking Chinese in front of a group of 5 or 6?
If you put yourself in a position where you have to speak Chinese, and you’ll be mimicking the environment in which you learnt your first language as a child.
You need to speak the language, so you have to learn Chinese. This way, learning Chinese will come much more natural to you.
Plus, get Chinese friends and they can tell you all about the latest Chinese social media trends, the best Chinese music, and give you some great tips on some good films and dramas to watch.
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Learn Advanced Chinese || Use Chinese Apps
However, some apps you can’t live without, such as Waimai take-out services, are not available in English.
So, you’re going to have to start on your learning Chinese, lest you go hungry!
Using Chinese apps means that without the knowledge of the Chinese characters – you can’t do much on the app. So you’ll find that within hours of usage you’ll have picked up a whole new, albeit probably very specific, vocabulary.
My favourite apps I use every day that are only available in Chinese are QQ music (Spotify) and iQiYi (Netflix).
Both are cheaper than their western counterparts, and arguably better! You can only use both of these apps whilst in China, but there is also a download feature. Downloading films and dramas on iQiYi takes up very little space and same with QQ music.
Learn Advanced Chinese || Use Apps in Chinese
An alternative to using Chinese apps, and probably for the more advanced learner, use your apps in Chinese!
Most apps will have an option to choose the language. Simply change your favourite or most used apps to Chinese… And suddenly learning those characters became a lot more vital!
If you’re ready to take the plunge, why not change your whole phone into Chinese. If this isn’t enough motivation for you learning Chinese, I don’t know what is!
(It is best to have a Chinese speaker on hand once you make this change and then panic wondering what on earth you’ve gotten yourself into)
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Learn Advanced Chinese || Use Chinese Social Media
Whilst not something your Chinese teacher may be too thrilled about you learning, it certainly helps you to speak like a native – and look super hip and cool in front of your Chinese buddies.
It also helps you to keep up with the latest trends and things going on in the world. Social media is a big part of everyday life in China.
Something that goes viral on one platform will start to appear in shop windows, in the streets etc. Don’t get left out!
Learn Advanced Chinese || Intermediate Vs Advanced Study Techniques
For a lot of students, the leap from intermediate to advanced level is far more difficult than the leap from beginner to intermediate. Lots of students get stuck in the dreaded intermediate plateau.
This doesn’t need to be the case. There’s plenty of ways for you to advance your Chinese language level.
However, in the advanced stages, your language learning will become more specialized and you’ll start incorporating a lot more authentic, native-level materials into your study routine as you take your Chinese from the classroom out into the real world.
It’s important to ask yourself questions like ‘What are my goals for learning Chinese?’ and ‘Which language skills do I want to focus on the most?’
After all, once you know where you’re going, it’s a lot easier to get there!
For example, if you’re hoping to achieve conversational fluency, watching Chinese TV shows can be extremely helpful. Watching episodes twice (once with subtitles, once without) and taking notes of new vocabulary can be a great way to pick up relevant language.
On the other hand, Chinese language students who need Mandarin for work may instead focus on on reading and watching the news or reading subject-related books and reports to acquire more formal language.
To hit an advanced level, it’s also important to incorporate spontaneous conversation into your study routine. This can be with a tutor, language partner or Chinese-speaking friends. The key here is to push yourself into communicating in Chinese without stopping to translate or using overly-structured questions.
Apart from these handy tips, you should also practice the language every day, including studying and reviewing vocabulary. Even if that means 5 minutes on Memrise of a busy morning!
加油 – jia you!
Advanced Chinese || FAQ’s
What is the best way to get to an advanced level of Chinese?
The best way to improve your Chinese to a strong level is to be in China, making Chinese friends and avoiding your native language at all costs.
This can involve tricks like changing the language of your phone to Chinese, only going to restaurants with Chinese (and no Pinyin on the menu either), and socialising with local Chinese whilst getting to know the culture. There is no substitute for immersing yourself into Chinese culture.
Where can I read advanced level content on my phone?
What is the most advanced Chinese level test I can take?
Currently the HSK 6 is the most advanced Chinese language test a foreigner can take.
This requires studying Chinese characters extensively and being able to read and express yourself in any way you want with a local Mandarin speaker.
However, this is due to change with HSK adding 3 further levels up to HSK 9 in the near future.
How many Chinese characters do I need to know to pass the HSK 6?
For the HSK 6 exam you should know 2,633 Chinese characters and 5,000 words.
Is there an advanced spoken HSK exam?
Oral HSK exams are referred to as the HSKK Exam and rather than six levels there are only three levels with the most advanced covering HSK 5 and HSK 6 content.
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