Hey to all the new and frequent faces here. If you guys don’t know already, I’m Kwadwo, the creator here at Elementary Chinese.
I help Mandarin learners who are struggling to improve their Chinese by showing them how to clearly choose and easily achieve your language goals so you can build momentum and reach your goals. That way your ability to communicate goes up, your self-confidence and Chinese speaking confidence sky-rockets.
I like connecting with Chinese people through speaking their language.
I went live with Austin in China to chat all things Chinese.
In the Live Q&A we covered these questions:
- Where do you start?
- How do you maintain your Chinese when you’re not in China?
- Do you find your personality changes when you speak Chinese?
- What’s your opinion on the difficulty of Chinese grammar?
- How long on average does it takes to get a decent level of Chinese?
- Any tips on studying Classical Chinese?
- Would you say “be conversational” is too generic a goal?
- Chinese tutors and cultural differences.
- Did you use Language Drops or Duolingo?
- Strategies that have worked for you to memorize Chinese characters?
Watch the video to find out our responses to your questions.
If you have any other questions you’d like answering, leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post + I’ll be sure to get back to you.
Where do you start?
When you learn Chinese, where do you start? There are so many resources, YouTube channels, tutors, books, apps, and methods of learning a language. It can all be a bit overwhelming and anxiety-inducing.
Before you ask “Where do you start?” you need to ask one of two questions:
Depending on your answer, the approach is different. The learning environment is different.
Chinese is difficult due to its complex tone system. I would recommend starting with vocabulary and tones. Before you get to vocabulary, start with pinyin. Commit, sell out, and dive into learning pinyin, vocab + tones. That is your base to build on.
What is pinyin?
Chinese uses characters, pinyin is the roman alphabetization of Chinese sounds.
Take around 3 weeks to master them. Spend around 30 minutes a week dedicating your brainpower to these three things.
There is nothing worse than being a year into learning and misunderstanding tones or words because you’re not understanding what you’re hearing. Lack of tonal listening skills will make your Chinese speaking ability suffer detrimentally.
Chinese is like climbing a mountain. You need two things:
- A guide
- Your interest (passion)
How do you maintain your Chinese when you’re not in China?
You have to engineer your environment. If you’re a beginner/intermediate student you need a study plan.
Three things you need in a study plan:
- Pick a book and listen to the audio
- Choose a really interesting online resource at your level
- A person to study with
I formed this community because there are so many people learning Chinese on their own who have made limited to no progress. They feel like they can’t communicate after years of learning, university courses, or tutors. If you’re looking for accountability then consider joining the DIY Chinese Community.
Learn Chinese The Best Way & Always Make Progress Webinar
Have you been “studying” Chinese, but haven’t made much progress? Don’t know how to improve your Chinese? Feel stuck? Losing motivation? Finally, make progress!👇🏾
The Great Firewall of China
Want to use the VPN I use for a stable, quick connection in China? I depend on it to upload more than six videos a week and live-stream on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. And here’s my second choice for a VPN. Plus, when you download from either link, they share some of the cost with me, so I can keep creating the videos you love.
A quick and important disclosure:
Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. I recommend them because they are helpful and useful.