Learning Chinese (while in Germany)

So, I’ve start­ed learn­ing Chi­ne­se, final­ly. While pro­gress is slow, I’ve found a few things and tricks that might be worth shar­ing.

For one, it helps (me) to learn char­ac­ters by using index cards. If you are using the default Chi­ne­se lan­guage text­book (admin­is­tered and sup­plied by the Chi­ne­se gov­ern­ment as far as I can tell), then you may find the­se PDFs help­ful, which list all the char­ac­ters (and their trans­la­tions and Piny­in roman­iza­tion).

  1. First book: Char­ac­ters, Char­ac­ters Errata, Eng­lish, Eng­lish Errata
  2. Sec­ond book: Char­ac­ters, Eng­lish, Errata 1, Errata 2

Index cards are easy to cre­ate from the­se PDFs: Just print the PDFs, cut out the char­ac­ters and trans­la­tions indi­vid­u­al­ly, put them onto a long drawn-out strip of clear tape, cut the tape by char­ac­ter or trans­la­tions, and tape this onto the index cards. I like to flip them over the long side, but of course that’s up to you. You may just want to make sure you tape the cut-outs one way con­sis­tent­ly so that you can always flip long or short side, as you please. This process makes for nice and stur­dy cards.


Then, I like watch­ing CCTV (Chi­ne­se Cul­ture TV, not closed cir­cuit TV…) which you can find on YouTube. I’m talk­ing about the “Learn­ing Hap­py Man­dar­in” chan­nel of CCTV. It is pret­ty sil­ly but then enjoy­able sto­ries. (Most Chi­ne­se TV is sil­ly, to be hon­est, which is also one of my biggest prob­lems with learn­ing Chinese—little of inter­est to watch.)

Final­ly, I’ve found Google Trans­late to be of immense help when check­ing and cor­rect­ing my own (home) work. It pro­vides (sim­ple) trans­la­tions, both ways, accepts typed Chi­ne­se char­ac­ters, and even spells out the Piny­in to you! I’ve found it par­tic­u­lar­ly help­ful to fig­ure out tones, which are still the hard­est of all things for me to remem­ber cor­rect­ly.

One thought on “Learning Chinese (while in Germany)

  1. Ke Chang

    Wow 😀

    While I’ve seen that you’ve been to Chi­na and used Chi­ne­se words some­times, it’s nice and a lit­tle sur­prise to know you are offi­cial­ly start­ing learn­ing the lan­guage. 😉

    Let me know if I could help. :p


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