3 Shortcuts to Learn Chinese Just a Little Bit Faster

We all wish we could pick up the language just a little bit faster, right? It would be so fantastic to keep moving forward every single day.

Well, I struggled for quite a long time to find a good routine for how to study. With everything else in life coming in between it can be quite tough to find that continuous progress.

Now, around 1.5-2 years after I started I have some really solid good practices :-) Here are three ways that made me move forward quicker:

1. Find Chinese friends

My fiancee is actually Chinese, so I guess that's the ultimate way to learn ;-) But actually, even before we met and I lived in Sweden I got some Chinese local friends. I had just started working and the thing was that the nearby University where I lived was hugely popular by Chinese technology students.

So I asked them if I could join some gatherings. And of course I could. And from there on I got a lot of chances to practice my new words.

If you do some research, I think you too can find some nearby community of friendly Chinese people. It's a great opportunity to learn about the language as well as the culture.

2. Learn the words in your environment

After a while of studying Mandarin I realized that I simply wasn't curious enough. Usually in life, I like to explore and learn about new things, so why didn't I just do the same with Chinese?

For example, here are some things I do every single day:

  • Open the door - kāimén - 开门
  • Throw out the trash - qù dào lājī - 去到垃圾
  • Take a shower - xǐzǎo - 洗澡

Then every time I do those things I can just repeat them for myself.

My point is that it doesn't have to be so formal when learning new words. We can try to just pick up the things that are around us.

3. Listen to Chinese children songs

My third point is one that really makes me have fun with Chinese every day. I started listening to a bunch of different songs in Mandarin for kids about 4-5 months ago. And I still keep doing it today :-)

The thing was that I could listen to Chinese in my earphones without having to pay so much attention. I automatically started repeating these songs for myself which just reinforced all those new words. I even started singing them out loud quite often, but in order to spare my fiancee from a headache I quickly had to give that up...

I found songs on all different levels of learning, so even though I wasn't a beginner anymore, there were always some songs I could listen to. Since many of the songs didn't have English lyrics I received help from my lovely fiancee to translate these.

So you can try listening to some mandarin songs for kids if you want to get some extra speed, and extra fun =)

And then one month ago I thought, why not make these songs public? So we started our own website where all these lyrics and music are available for all members. I hope you can enjoy them too!


These are 3 tips that have really helped me speed up my learning just a little bit. I know it can be tough, so remember - the brain just wants to have fun. If you make it fun, you will learn faster than ever.

Now, tell me what you think - have you tried any of these tips yourself? Or do you have some even better ones for all of us?


Matthew M. McEwan is the founder of Chinese Children Songs - the most fun way to learn Chinese. He is still developing his Mandarin skills every day, often with the help of songs. If you want, you can check out this song about two little elephants right now :-)

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