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How I study Chinese

I just wanted to explain the various ways that I study Chinese throughout my time living in China.

How do I learn Chinese?
The first thing that I used to study Chinese was to take a class. Whether private or a public group class, this will provide you with a (hopefully good) teacher that you can ask questions and, as you get better, speak Chinese with every day! What I took was a public class that ended up being private as no one else joined for 3 hours a day and 5 days a week in the morning so that I could get new vocabulary and corrections to help me throughout my afternoon and evenings. I did this for three months and got a nice grasp of a lot of vocab and basic conversation.

The second thing you need to do is to keep studying every day. Not for 3 hours and maybe not even an hour but 10 minutes a day will be better than nothing. Find a friend that is also interested in Chinese or one that can speak Chinese who is willing to help you out. Of course being in China does help out with this but being in another country you still can try to find other ways to talk and study with others like online groups.

After using many apps I will recommend two apps for studying Chinese.

1) DuChinese *Free* (Subscription options are available for more features)
I am extremely happy with this app. Its a simple app that presents stories in Chinese with Pinyin/Characters and translated by teachers before being published. There is also audio that goes with every single story along with a built in SRS study system. (Flashcards) You can add words/characters you don't know from the stories into your list to keep studying them. Every month (almost every week) there is a new story ranging from newbie to master levels.

2) Lingo Deer *Free*
The Asian "Duolingo". Really great app that goes through everything from Writing, reading, and speaking the language. Structured really well and provides most of the vocabulary you will need for daily communication. The lessons are broken into parts and end with a video. Various forms of practicing are available as well. From quizzes, flashcards and audio tests. A great app.

So along with studying with a friend and using these apps to help me study and review Chinese I also do other things to help me expand my vocabulary. One of these things is take pictures of Chinese characters I see around town or online that I do not understand.

即将到来 (ji jiang dao lai) Upcoming/Drawing Near
草木绿,云儿笑,空气清新境好!Green Grass, Smiling Clouds, and Fresh Air.
请勿泊车 (qingwu boche) Please don't park (your) Car
 After taking many pictures or writing down notes I then return home and study the new characters after figuring out what they mean. I use two tools to figure out what these "unknown" characters are. The tools are Google Translate and Pleco. Both are good tools but I feel that Pleco is a must have for those studying Chinese as it is a complete offline dictionary that you can buy more features for. Many buy the flashcard option and I see why as, if I had bought the flash card option, I would have many lists made.

Now that I've told you what tools I use to study exactly how do I study? For me just going over the flashcards and lessons help introduce these things to my mind what really helps me is using these new words. When going over flashcards I write down any of the words that I get wrong including their pinyin and English definition. I do this in my notebook with a pen to help me learn the character and what pinyin goes with it. Looking through my notebook you'll see lists of words for no reason but the reason is that I was studying flashcards. I then try to come up with a sentence if one comes to me quickly, if not, I continue studying the rest of the flashcards.

Other ways I try to use new words are talking to people or reading about topics that could include these words. If I learned a couple of new fruits I'd read the Baidu articles on the fruit to get me used to reading and saying those characters but it would also introduce me to other new words.

In a "TLDR" using the new words that you have learned as much as possible, whether writing, speaking or reading them, will help you memorize words the quickest along with frequent use of flashcards. Learning a new language is all about input, if you put little into learning a language then you will learn only a little. If you put a lot into learning a language then you will learn a lot in return.

Good Luck Learning a Language!

Any questions that I may be able to help with then you can ask below.


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