Chinese as Lego blocks

Chinese is a character-based language, the trick of grasping it fast is to think the characters as building blocks of the language. Just like the Lego blocks, when you have enough types and number of blocks, you could literally build anything under the sun. For example:  我、不、是、中、国、人 我(wǒ) I/me 不(bù)negative 是(shì)identifier (similar to the be…

Lego or Cucumber?

A friend of mine has lived in Beijing for 2 years, the other day he was joking about his Chinese and said he still couldn’t figure out mum(妈 mā) and horse(马 mǎ) after hours of classes. Most people think that by putting themselves in the language environment, they could pick up the language quickly and automatically. To…

Tone deaf ?

People all say that if you are tone deaf, there’s no way that you can master a new language, especially a super tonal one such as Chinese. Well, I’d say it takes more effort, but definitely possible– not all Chinese people have perfect pitch. Immerse yourself in the language, just like when you were a…

Learn at your own pace

Many of my students ask me whether there is a particular sequence of learning Chinese, yes there is, but it’s as simple as the following: Know the Romanised pronunciation system first — Hanyu Pinyin. (This will help you to speak before recognising the characters, also help you to learn new characters as time goes by.)…