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Spend more time on learning Chinese

December 12, 2010 – 8:36 pm

When I started out with learning Chinese in October 2006, I just joined an evening class. I attended the class every week, but I didn’t do anything else at all. So that’s one hour of learning per week. In retrospective one hour of Chinese per week is equal to no hour of Chinese per week. My Chinese learning was just to slow.

In summer 2007, I went to Chengdu for a summer course of Chinese. It was then, that I realized despite one year of Chinese learning, my Chinese still sucked. After returning from Chengdu, I did a little bit more. I took the intensive course, which was two hours a week and I also learned one hour per week by myself. Unfortunately I didn’t learn during the holidays.

In 2008 I went to Kunming and Hong Kong for several months. I could speak some Chinese then, I had some short and simple conversations then, but looking back it was all very basic. Sure I was very happy at that time about my Chinese skills, but then it wasn’t much more than elementary Chinese.

Coming back to Europe late summer 2008 I did not take any further courses, but I started learning by myself. In the beginning it was rather not so regular learning. One month of busy learning, then another month without any learning. But over the time things got better. Currently I do have a little time, because I graduated, but I did not start working yet. Right now I’m averaging 20 hours of Chinese learning per week. And hell yeah, I really see progress now. Sure I’m not pounding on vocabulary 20 hours per week. As recently stated most is reading, but I also do relaxing stuff like watching a Chinese TV show.

Bottom Line
Bottom line is, spending more time on learning Chinese will result in more Chinese finding its way into my brain. While in year one of my Chinese learning journey my effort was roughly 50 hours total, now it is 50 hours in two and a half weeks. And I can say with definite certainty, more time invested results in better achievements, massive amounts of time invested result in massive improvements. 2010 is almost over and I’ll soon post an assessment of Chinese learned this year and plans for next year. If you want to learn more Chinese, spend more time on learning. I guess this is one of the best pieces of advice I can give on learning Chinese.

massive learning
Junjie previously didn’t learn Chinese characters, but this week he started writing massive amounts of Chinese characters. His artistic handwriting style is unique and might be seen in international exhibitions soon. Buy one of his works, while the prices are still humane.

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  1. 12 Responses to “Spend more time on learning Chinese”

  2. Good luck!

    By My Kafkaesque life on Dec 12, 2010

  3. A brave and essential approach, methinks. Characters are a learner’s scaffolding – the only way to differentiate between those few Chinese syllables.

    By justrecently on Dec 12, 2010

  4. The picture’s subtitle might be slightly misleading. I’m agressively learning to read characters for quite a while, but I just started learning to write them.

    You are right, characters really help remembering and understanding. Furthermore there is no intermediate learning material in pinyin, let alone advanced learning materials.

    Still no orders for my fancy handwriting art :o

    By Hendrik on Dec 13, 2010

  5. haha, I got for about 1000 pages like this too.
    however, I made one master sheet on which I draw 1×1 cm boxes in which my characters have to fit, so it’s more systematic.

    The biggest mistake I made when I started learning Chinese characters was that I wanted to know them all at the very beginning. Later, I realized that it was far more efficient to learn just like 5 new characters a day and repeat the ones from the previous day and from the previous week. So I wrote everyday like 100 to 200 Chinese characters.
    Then, when I knew like 200 characters, I started copying Chinese texts which helped me a lot, too.

    But now, I didn’t write any Chinese character for half an year as I was doing 45 credit points this term and therefore had to work 80 hours per week for university. This was a really stupid decision… but I finally learned some self-discipline about studying^^

    By Aremonus on Dec 15, 2010

  6. Hey Aremonus,

    is the exam time already over?

    I’m following the same strategy as you did. A few new characters each day. Lot’s of repetition of the previously learned characters.
    Just today I started with copying text by hand.

    I don’t want to bring my writing skills to the same level as the reading. But I think it would be nice to be able to write 10 to 20% of what I can read.

    By Hendrik on Dec 15, 2010

  7. chinese is the next intenational language

    good luck
    :)

    By lee on Dec 17, 2010

  8. Still no orders for my fancy handwriting art.
    Man, you haven’t seen my handwriting yet. Once you hear ppl complain that they can’t read yours, you’ll have developed a handwriting with, umm, characteristics.

    By justrecently on Dec 20, 2010

  9. Writing chinese characters is more fun to me while solving sudokus. It helps memorizing characters, meanings, and tones. I hope you enjoy solving some of my sudokus. Wànshìrúyì and Merry Christmas!

    By Christine on Dec 21, 2010

  10. Just out of interest, what would be an average timeframe (and workload) for a 20-something native English speaker to learn enough Chinese to be able to read a newspaper? Any thoughts?

    By Mark on Dec 24, 2010

  11. Hi Mark,

    It takes definitely more time than learning Spanish or French. The other question is, can you dedicate your whole time to learning or do you study at a university or do you have a job? The other question is, can you move to China for learning Chinese?

    If you can move to China and learn there full time, you might be able to handle daily conversations after one year and read a newspaper after 3 years. Learning outside of China while doing other things at the same time is a whole different thing. It will take you at least 10 years I guess.

    By Hendrik on Dec 25, 2010

  12. hey,please check your writing -> 买 cheers:)

    By fastreaderx on Dec 30, 2010

  13. Thank you fastreaderx :)

    By Hendrik on Dec 30, 2010

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