Knowing Chinese makes you sexy, rich and happy :)

My Single Most Effective Learning Recommendation

May 26, 2008 – 3:51 am

Previously I have given You a whole bunch of learning methods, I also recommended You to go to a Chinese university to learn Mandarin and encouraged You to talk to Chinese persons. However I wondered what method is useful in particular. Which one has the best ROI (Return of investment)? I believe it’s actually hearing and using vocabulary You just picked up from Your textbook. Let me explain in detail.

I’ve experienced this several times myself and about 2 weeks ago I sent a email to a former Chinese learning classmate. His answer was similar to my experience, so I think this is consolidated knowledge and I have to share it with You. But let’s take this story slowly from the beginning.

Sometimes I have a difficult word or two on my new-words-to-learn-list it is impossible to remember. Difficult in the sense of especially difficult to remember. Then I wonder how to get them in my head. Here is my approach on how to tackle these. So You think hard on how to remember and some lucky day suddenly in a conversation with a Chinese person I hear exactly this word and I recognize it. At that point I try to also make a statement about the same topic using exactly this word. Then the word is almost sticking in my brain. A little more effort is needed. I just have to use it 2 or 3 times again in the next few days and I can put it of the learning list.

Another related method is to take just one word You can’t really get in Your head, then go to a Chinese person and strike up a conversation around this word. In this way You use and hear this word.

I’ll say this again, just to make it clear. Use Your words. Just having them on a learning list might not be enough. Often the active use of words is the one method that can put some word into Your brain withing minutes.

I have one point to add. In the classroom You often make artificial discussions to use new words. I realized, that such discussions are only half as effective as the previous mentioned. Why, I am not sure, but it might have to do something with the setting. In the real world, when You discuss about some topic, You really need a word. It’s absolutely neccessary. In the classroom the discussion is artificial and there is no real need to use a certain word. Therefore it doesn’t really load the word into Your gray thinking mass.

The next time You can’t really remember a word, use it in a chat with someone. Chances are good You will remember it then. I hope You liked todays recommendation on how to learn some words more effectively. Now, if You don’t have someone to talk to in Chinese, You might consider on finding a Chinese girlfriend who can help You with Your Mandarin. Alternatively go to China, for example to Kunming which is a lovely city in China’s southwest. I slowly get ready for my return to Hongkong which will be in a little more than one week.

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  1. One Response to “My Single Most Effective Learning Recommendation”

  2. It really is a fast way to learn it like this – but you might have the problem that u dont have e chinese speaking person beside u, especially when ur in europe.
    Then just imagine you are talking about this word, forinstance when ur in bus or on plane..
    For instance, you learned the word niu (cow). Then just think of some sentences in ur mind, like “那儿有一个牛。 他很喜欢吃草所以他在草原” Doesnt make very much sense, but the next time you hear 草原 or 草 u will think of 牛。That’s how I learned most of the foreign languages so far – and prevent from feeling bored whenIam stuckina traffic jam, for instance.
    Btw, even if u dont have a new chinese word, just try to think in chinese and once you dont know a word, look it up (I loaded a dictionary on my PDA,works quite well). Like this you will get more fluent in chinese and even learn some more words – instead of being bored.
    Having a native beside you is of course better, especially because he will correct your mistakes and you dont need a dictionary – but why not use some time that would be wasted anyways?

    By Aremonus on Jul 8, 2008

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