Hi,

I would just like to know what your most effective way to learn Chinese is.

I've been learning Chinese now for more than two and a half years. Unfortunately do I realize that I'm not the most effective language learner. I have the feeling that I dawdled with my time. A study plan doesn't work so well for me, because I have not the right discipline for it.

So, I wonder how others do it. Is it watching Chinese movies, language exchange, writing essays, reading a lot...?

Please let me know.

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Uhm,

I'm new at Chinese learning, but, having studied several other languages I've always found effective, for me, watching movies and news broadcasting. Of course writing helps you a lot, because pushes you further in your need for a proper vocabulary.

Chatting with Chinese friends is another way to learn, even if sometimes you got stuck at a conversational knowledge and register of the language, so ... what helps you more is what suits your needs the best.

Ralph

I agree with you, chatting with Chinese friends is very helpful in developing the language. Also the writing drives you deeper into your language ability.

Yeah, I guess the most effective way is the way you have fun with.

I have studied for 1,5 years and it is hard and takes time, every day.

I don't really have any friends that speak the language so I have been quite dependant upon attending weekly evening course where our teacher is from China. I think I have kept the interest up by using Skritter for learning vocab, it is really addictive.

According to it I *know* about 900 characters and 1000 words. But I probably speak like a 3-year old 中国孩子 哈哈 ;)

Recently I have discovered that Anki can be useful for listening practise, trying to identify what is said. Then I have various books I jump between, grammar, 'chinese breeze' books from Peking University Press and also some fluentu.com video courses. Also wathing movies is probably nice, but very difficult early.

Using Skritter is very nice for keeping up or ahead of a course, you don't have to focus much on vocab but rather the other home work.

For looking up words and characters I use Pleco, also a must have I think.

Thank you for your reply. " I speak like a three year old" is funny, because I say the same about myself.

I never used skritter, because it is not for free. Actually, I have enough Chinese friends to practice my oral Chinese, but still if I have the chance I will switch back to English. Every week I watch one video by FluentU, write an essay of about 300 characters, read a short story and learn vocabulary with the help of memrise..I also try to learn a poem by heart, but this is the hardest for me to do.

 I am a lazy student, and I have trouble remembering what I learn. So, what works best for me is lots of repetition, and finding new and different ways of learning to keep me motivated.
Methods that have helped me make the most progress in the 1.5 years that I have been studying Chinese at home are:
1.  Learn Chinese in 3D app.   Since I enjoy using the app everyday, it has helped me learn new characters and vocabulary.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/learn-chinese-in-3d/id543841434?mt=8
2.  Live Lingua private course.  I took a private course on Skype with a teacher for four months, one hour per week. My teacher prepared a course tailored to my needs, that is,  learning the necessary vocabulary and expressions for my trip to Beijing last month. Well, once in Beijing I was pleasantly surprised to see that it worked! I was able to ask directions, order in restaurants, exchange currency, tell taxi drivers where I wanted to go, and even describe my symptoms when I went to the pharmacy to buy medecine. This has encouraged me to continue learning Chinese.  http://www.livelingua.com/chinese-lessons.php
3.  The Mixxer.  A free educational website for language exchanges via Skype. I had the good fortune of meeting two Taiwanese friends that I talk to twice a week.   They have  taught me a lot about the culture and the history of Taiwan and China. http://www.language-exchanges.org
4.  Anki flashcards, to save and review new vocabulary and expressions.   Also, I have downloaded the already prepared ‘Mastering Chinese Characters’ flashcards to practice listening comprehension.  These are great!  http://ankisrs.net/

5.  Schaum's Chinese Grammar .  Very good grammar book with 200 exercises. For beginner to intermediate level.

6.  Chinesepod.com.  Excellent podcasts for listening to everyday conversations, learning about the Chinese language and culture.
7.  Chinese TV dramas .  Everyday, I watch one hour of Chinese TV dramas, especially those that take place during the Qing dynasty (like Scarlet Heart     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlet_Heart   and  The Legend of Zhen Huan ). I am not sure if it is very useful for learning everyday conversation, but if I were to meet an emperor from the Qing Dynasty, I would know how to greet him in Chinese (lol).  Love the history!

Wow, you are doing lots for learning Chinese. How can you call yourself a lazy student. You have some interesting tips. I will try out Mixxer. And I will look for these Chinese TV dramas. I also love to watch dramas taking place in the Qing Dynasty. I like to watch 步步惊心。Have you ever done essay writing?

This also helps a lot in studying Chinese.

Haha, I just found out that the Scarlet Heart is in fact 步步惊心。So we do like the same.

I have never tried essay writing.  I am still a beginner so I can't imagine being able to do that yet.  Maybe one day.  Do you write in pinyin or Hanzi? 

When I finish watching Scarlet Heart, I will watch Palace (http://asdramas.livejournal.com/26741.html).  The story is similar. 

How about writing a diary in Chinese? Or just try to write some paragraphs. I write in Hanzi. I only use the pinyin to know how a new Hanzi sounds. I even can't understand a text only written in pinyin.
And thanks for the Palace link. Do you watch the dramas with English subtitles or with hanzi?

Writing a diary...what a great idea!  I will start today.   Thanks for the suggestion.  What is your method for learning how to write Hanzi?  I have just about given up trying to learn writing characters because it is too time-consuming.  When I spend  some time everyday practicing Hanzi, that leaves less time for learning  vocabulary and grammar  (and watching dramas!) , so communicating verbally with my friends is more frustrating. 

I watch dramas with English subtitles and Hanzi.  When I see interesting vocabulary and expressions, I take a screenshot of the writing, paste it on Anki flashcards and add the definition. 

Well, I also do not invest such a lot of time in writing Hanzi. I just try to remember the most common ones. I did spend a lot of time on writing Hanzi and so I neglected my oral skills. Big mistake!

The screenshot is a good idea.

The key is staying interested in the learning materials. I've tried many websites, software, books, and movies and keep a daily routine.  It is helpful to make an evaluation every once in a while to see what works and discard what doesn't.  I like Skritter for writing, pimsleur (recorded on various digital devices) to redeem the dead time driving, cleaning etc.  Also, I have discovered recently: http://www.mangolanguages.com/learn-chinese/mandarin/ that I can get free online using my county library pass.  I use several computers/dvd players to watch movies - since the mandarin movies I watch are TV series and they get really long; I have different ones playing at the same time as to not get bored.  (I may watch as little as 10 minutes per DVD - incorporated into my daily routine.)   I also try to exercise as I am doing flash cards with my IPAd through: chinese course.com.

 

 

 

 

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