HOW TO LEARN CHINESE
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You’re Not Taking Advantage of Now
Of course, because this is my passion project, I roll off a ton of advice and their response is:
“Oh man, it costs money?”
“Wait, I actually have to put the effort in?”
“Once the stars align and life gives me the opportunity to learn..”
“Once my schedule becomes less hectic ..”
Let me tell you the reason why you haven’t learned Chinese yet, it’s because you’re not taking advantage of right now.
I understand you’re busy. But what we, as the human race — haven’t quite grasped yet — is that now really matters.
Let me give you a quick example. If you’re gonna go to the gym. You’ve gotta go lift weights now for future gain, right? Part of this “now” concept is that people will go ahead and do some more research, they’ll strategize, go read a few more books, think about actions they will take, ask for advice and contemplate this advice instead of actually doing anything!
No. Do not give in to analysis paralysis. You won’t know the best way. You’ll make mistakes. Attack the problem. Pick up the weight. Now. Start now. Just do something now. It doesn’t matter if you use a stretchy band to gain muscle or lifting a kettlebell, just pick one up — with the correct form because no one wants to injure themselves.
Don’t deceive yourself thinking that you’ll find the ‘perfect way to learn’ that is cost-effective, fast, takes the least amount of time, and is the ‘easy way’.
There is no perfect way. Just start. Make it up as you go along in the beginning, learn from your mistakes, pick up new techniques. Just begin.
Imagine you’re commuting on the train here in China. You’ve only learned a few phrases because it’s only the beginning of the year. You’re a beginner. Take the language that you have, even if it sucks and speak now. It’s just like picking up a weight in the gym if it’s too heavy for you, there isn’t going to magically be a time where that weight isn’t heavy for you. You have to train now so you get stronger later. Otherwise, the school year is over and you haven’t made the progress you’d have liked.
You head back home and have to face the question “Hey, how good is your Mandarin?” from your friends or relatives. You have to list off a number of excuses of why you’re Mandarin isn’t up to scratch. All those excuses are to cover up the fact that you didn’t take advantage of now.
Take Advantage of Now
Do you have an APP on your phone that you’re using to study? Yep, thought so. Have you finished the app? Nope, didn’t think so.
Open the app and do one more section. Use your time wisely.
If you don’t already have an app or flashcards, what are you waiting for? Check out my resources page for the best apps and tools to learn Mandarin Chinese.
If you’re learning characters there is one simple phrase that will boost your ability to retain information. By asking someone to write it down for you, you can present this phrase in future when you come across this hurdle again, and ask your tutor to transcribe it in neatly written handwriting so you can learn the strokes.
Write it down for me
bāng wǒ xiě xià lái
This second phrase is even simpler:
What is this?
zhè shì shén me
With these two phrases, you can start building a comprehensive flashcard system to study from. This way you’re studying language that is actually useful for you in everyday life.
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.
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.