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Hello everyone here, my name is Josh and i come from Australia. Right now i don't know anything about chinese language but i have fall in love with the food in China and Chinese culture. I want to start learning chinese but don't know what is the right way to do it. Anyone have suggestion pls feel free to post here. Thanks, wish everyone have a good day.

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If there are Chinese classes close to where you live, it will be easier to start with.

You will need to spend a lot of time outside classes repeating the pinyin syllables and tones, and learning the Chinese characters.

But having a teacher explain these to you first will make it easier.


Or, you could buy a textbook that explains the basics. I started with Assimil's "Chinese with ease" a long time ago. It is good for self-learners because the audio tracks are veeeerrrrrryyyy slow. (But later on you will realize that normal Chinese speech is much, much faster!)


Or, if you have one or two years to spare, you could go study Chinese at a university in China?


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On 12/22/2018 at 1:12 AM, Gall1994 said:

Right now i don't know anything about chinese language but i have fall in love with the food in China and Chinese culture.


Welcome to the forum!


Here's a look into Chinese food, including how to make some dishes yourself at home: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/52430-alphabetical-index-of-food-articles/ 

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  • 1 month later...

Hello Josh,


I started learning Chinese a little bit over 1 year ago and I live in the UK. I use a lot of resources online, some are free some I paid for and I also attend weekly classes mainly for my speaking and pronunciations. First, I really recommend you to listen to this Chinesepod episode where they talk about what to tackle first and reasonable expectations for beginners https://chinesepod.com/lessons/what-to-expect


Chinesepod - for listening, grammar, vocabularies. It has some free contents on the website, itunes podcast and youtube but to get full access you have to pay. It is not cheap but they often have offers around big holidays like Christmas, Chinese New Year etc. Try their free contents first to find out.


Youtube - for listening, grammar, beginner phrases. Youtube in general has tons of free videos especially for beginners. I used Yoyo Chinese at some point, Fluent in Mandarin, some grammar videos made by a guy called Ben Hedges but I can't remember his channel name. I find the advantage of listening to western teachers is that they know how to approach the language from an English speaker perspective.


Skritter or Anki - app for writing and reading characters. I personally have been using Skritter and it has helped me a lot. However, the subscription fee is expensive and I heard that Anki is the free version of it and I also seen a few other free apps similar to Skritter. 


Hello Chinese - app exercises for grammar, speaking, vocabularies and a bit of reading and writing. A lot of the exercises are free and I really like the speaking part of it as I can listen to my own pronunciation and correct it. 


Pleco - A good dictionary on your phone


Du Chinese - for reading


I'm sure you will find more resources once you read more on this forum. Good Luck!

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1) For formalized structure, enroll in a Chinese class if possible. If not try to find a basic primer to work through (especially for points 2 & 3 below). This forum  has (per my recollection) some threads dedicated to this since a number of members learned through self study and reached advanced proficiency. Otherwise you can look into 'online courses'. For example, https://www.coursera.org/ has beginners Chinese courses which you can audit (Free!) or enroll.

2) For fun and speaking practice, find a language partner. Large universities may have formal language exchanges that you can seek out. (Such as hosted by an international student center, or you can post an ad with the local Chinese Student Association, etc. Any university will probably have a Chinese student group)

3) Not near a university, no problem (maybe!), you can literally do what I did when I was a teen, chat up the local authentic Chinese restaurant waitstaff, get to know them (where exactly they are from, etc.), and set up a language exchange with whomever wanted to practice their English. (One caveat to this is not everyone may speak standard Chinese or Putonghua, but generally if someone is from the north or under 30 years old and educated in China he/she will likely speak relatively standard Chinese**) 

BONUS: you might learn more about Chinese food too (I for example learned how a spicy noodle dish was prepared (similar to this but 1000x spicier) since my language partner was from Xi'An but had lived extensively in Beijing as well)

4) Other, if you prefer online interactions, sign up for something like italki to also supplement your coursework or textbook studies ~~ but note that results will very depending on who you chat with or study with (such as if professional teacher Vs community member), but then you can have some interaction via the cool, calming glare and gentle hum of your PC.


**Broad generalization and not 100% guaranteed, but the more you learn about China and the Chinese language the more you will understand about dialects, standard pronunciation, etc. However, if a language partner doesn't have very standard Mandarin, interactions won't be 100% for naught b/c you WILL ultimately encounter different accents throughout the course of your studies so this will just jump start THAT exciting adventure....


Welcome & Good Luck! It's an exciting marathon haha.

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off the top of my head and personally my experience .... 


1. Be aware it will take many years, decades, forget the "learn Chinese by teatime approach“. There is usually a motivation behind this, which is derived from marketing, bragging etc. The enjoyment should be in the process, slowing chipping away at what seems an insurmountable task. Don't measure yourself to others. 

2. There will be plenty of signposts along the way, your methods will change depending of progress, enjoyment, skill, learning ability, interests. What works for one may not work well for another.

3. Perseverance and enjoyment is the key. If you like manga, food, literature, history, general chit chat or whatever takes your fancy then  incorporate that into your learning. Most the advice and set teaching I see may be very well be sound in theory but in practice it can be mind-numbingly tedious. I am not suggesting to ignore set teaching methods and books but try find a happy medium, or you will quit.

4. Try carry all four disciplines (reading, writing listening , speaking) along together, even if you have a preference for one over another. There is a massive synergy between them all. 

5. As for writing, I personally see it as the optional one and don't have much interest in it. However I do think being able to write out the first 1000 characters will help your reading tremendously. If you enjoy it, even better! 

6. There are a huge amount of post, websites, advice on how to shortcut and optimise learning. However in all this, the key element, that is: hard work and brute force is a necessary

7. much much better to do a bit every day rather than ram in 6 hours on a Saturday. Chinese should be drip fed into you.

8. as for tools, APPs. PLECO and possible ANKI is near vital. Given PLECO now has a very good flashcard option I would say ANKI can be omitted (despite I being a loyal ANKI fan for many years). 

9. Look at @abcdefg posts on Chinese food, he has done a lot of hard work breaking down the barriers and simplifying  Chinese dishes. There is a good APP called 下厨房 xiachufang. It can be good in that you get to know the names of popular dishes and importantly names of spices. Abcdefg has all these included too. 

10. May text books written within China can be pretty awful and written by teachers who seem to have a unique view of society. New Practical Chinese Reader may seem an odd choice but the author actually does really understand chinese traditional soceity. I remember in class us groaning at all the odd phrases  and thinking "whenj am I every going to hear that" However only after personally withness the exact same phrases and near identical conversation used many times I realise its one of the best books at actually understanding a large part of Chinese society. If that doesn't interest you then perhaps skip it. I wouldn't focus on one text book though. Several are required just to see the same view point or grammer point from different angles

11. Get exposure to characters and become less reliant of pinyin as soon as you can. Start writing within, at least the first month (can be 10mins a say at the start) it will pay off. I made a big mistake at the start not doing this and a heck of a lot of charactes started to look identical i.e. very common ones  今 and 令, 已 and 己 Pogress came to a standstill and once I (relunctantly) took up writing characters and ignorning pinyin  it took off again. 

12. get time away of the text books as soon as you can. Chinese breeze, Mandarin companion are excellent to get you reading stories early on. Plenty of other graded readers. Mandarin Companion is the most interesting

13. Start using wechat and find people to chat to , you will see a lot of words that never seem to appear in text books, HSK lists as perhaps they are deemed undesireable however its real everyday speak here. An english equivalent might be "Yeah right whatever dude!", "see ya later" These type phrases confuse some Chinese I met who have excellent English ability. A big observation by many overseas learners of Chinese,  is that they have been studying chinese for years, start interacting with natives and soon get a cold shock that they can't understand a lot. Its quite depressing at times. 

14. A grammer book is essential such as Basic Chinese Grammer.  You don't have to read it methpodically but as you progress you will see its a vfery useful companion

15. Focus on pronounciated early, it's very difficult to get yourself out of bad habits once its crystalized. Make such any teacher you use focuses on this. Many don't as they want to get you making progress. However its very shortsighted. Resist the temptation to get going by diving straight into material and not focusing on pronounciation 




..... again, just my "path" of learning chinese with more wrong turns that right, others will have different viewpoints.


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