How do you make Chinese part of your real life? Or part of your daily habit?

Just an open question to share study strategy tips related to making Chinese part of your 'real life'.

For example, if you put stickers or post-it notes with Chinese characters all over your apartment, that would be an example of forcing the language into your real life. Or only reading Chinese books before bed instead of your native language.

Or how did you go about making successful study habits?  It's easy to start by saying 1 hour everyday, but how did it become a more permanent habit as part of your routine?

These are just examples - let me know what you think has worked well for you in the comments.

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 When I am alone, especially when driving, I force myself to mentally translate my thoughts into Mandarin.  Then say thme out loud.  It may be as simple as, "That other car is driving too fast", or I'm hungry now, I'd like to find a restaurant soon.. or it's starting to rain/snow, "  etc. etc.  

I simply commit to listening to my Mandarin tapes on my drive to and from work. It's the most available time for me to offer my somewhat undivided attention.

I've fallen out of this habit for now, but I used to keep a very simple diary of my daily activities.  I downloaded an app to my iPhone and whenever I had a spare moment I would try to write something.  I used the Handwriting keyboard so that I was actually practicing hanzi as well as practicing creating simple sentences.  I liked it because I could see the work that I had done at the end of each day and over several months I could go back and see how my writing had improved.  Although listening and reading are very important for learning a foreign language, they don't always give you a sense of accomplishment  when you're finished.  Writing was very motivational for me and I could actually see my progress.  

I use chinese applications, listen to chinese songs , try everyday to speak a bit of chinese with natives and use the chinese-english dictionnary to lookup unknow words when chatting on my phone.

I completely agree with James' comment about listening to Chinese tapes. It was only when I started listening to MP3 recordings of my 1-on-1 Chinese lessons, dialogues, etc. and *repeating after the recordings* (really, really crucial to do this!) that I actually started to learn Chinese. 

I now download all my lessons and dialogues onto my iPod and listen when I'm walking, cleaning, doing the laundry, etc. All that 'down time' really adds up and I learn a lot of Chinese that way!

HappyLearning!

Yeah, I agree as well. I still have dozens of Chinesepod dialogues burned into my memory. Does anybody have a favorite podcast episode/dialogue?

I like many who participate in SMC face the challenge of learning Chinese outside of China. So I believe that to make Chinese part ‘real life’ or daily life has considerable challenges. February will be a major milestone for me, as I shall be a third year (final year) Chinese language student at my university.

It may help other learners in SMC if I share my list of many of the things that I have done in the past two years.

  • Use technology where possible to aid or enhance the learning experience.
  • Learn something new every day. For example; a new grammar or sentence pattern, a short vocabulary list, new hanzi (there is always something that needs to be learned to progress)
  • Make opportunities to try even the most basic Chinese. Join Chinese social networking sites. Live Mocha, Facebook, Google+ (many Chinese language learning and teaching groups are around).  Seeking like-minded learners to help makes you feel part of something.
  • Get a teacher for one on one lesson. Skype allows you to have lessons at home at a time convenient to you. Shops around prices vary considerably.
  • Use low tech too. Print flashcards, hang posters, print out and fill grids with hanzi, test yourself.
  • Practice daily - a little bit of Chinese even 10 minutes a day is better than none that day.  Such is the way of second language acquisition.
  • Seek opportunities for some study in China. I was lucky enough to find a course of Chinese (Diploma of Modern Languages) sponsored by the Oz Government. This year I was lucky to find an intensive study tour ELTF (also sponsored by the Oz government. Depending on who you are and how old you are Hanban and your local Confucius Institute (these are actually the same thing) also have sponsorship and scholarships for the serious Chinese learner.
  • For those of you in major cities look for night schools and local community groups studying Chinese. If one doesn’t exist start one.
  • Enrol in a formal course at University. People in Oz have a choice of two (maybe three) Uni’s offering online / off campus courses and degrees. I also know this is possible through the UK’s Open Learning. In my search I also found something from New Zealand and South African Universities.
  • Watch and monitor your level of motivation.  If you feel it is ‘all too hard’ contact your support group. Perhaps review your study habits. Even review your goals.
  • Set a very realistic goal. I will learn X amount of Chinese this week, this month, this year, this decade (for those in the long haul).
  • Make learning Chinese a habit. A set time every day is better than leaving it to chance.

I could keep going with this list. However, I think I should stop. I could go on. Less is more. 

If you want clarification or more do contact me.

I wish you all the very best for you Chinese studies of 2013.

乔纳森 AKA 老龙王

Does anybody have a favorite podcast series or even just a favorite podcast dialogue/episode? I still have dozens of Chinesepod phrases burned into my memory from a few years ago. Listening to Chinesepod really helped me learn early on. Just wondering if there is anything new to check out in the world of podcasts.

Have you tried popupchinese?

Yes, I've listened to a few podcasts. What do you think of them overall?
I try using websites such as this one which through the self requested barrage of e-mails force me to think about improving my Chinese skills on a regular basis. Because in truth I am a lazy student who is thoroughly embarrassed by my level of speaking considering that I've been married to a mainlander for more than 16 years and I've been living in China for almost 15 years. By rights I should be fluent in this language.
To a non native I may seem fluent but no I am not. So, I must continue as I am with web sites and practice with friends and strangers in daily life as my wife has not the patience for it.

"How do i make it part of my real life" - I take what i learn and find a way to use it on weibo, or in an e-mail to my native chinese speakers, or use it on weixin when chatting with friends. For weixin, this allows me to also send audio notes instead of typing the pinyin or hanzi, this helps me practice the speaking and listening skills from anywhere and anytime.

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