My Plan for Learning Chinese

November 28, 2019

What I Know Already

Before I started learning Chinese, I knew only a few things.

  • I knew that Mandarin was a tonal language and that it had four tones.
  • I knew the writing system was pictographic (rather than a Western phonetic alphabet)
  • I knew how to say “Hello” (你好)

That’s about it. So I definitely don’t have a head start. Actually, this is one of the reasons I decided to learn Chinese in the first place.

My Learning Plan


  • Duolingo. I’m using Duolingo as my primary course for learning Chinese. It’s easy to pick up and use on the go and does a good job structuring the learning process. I plan on doing a full review of Duolingo for Chinese when I’m done with the course. One thing I dislike so far is that the pronunciation sounds too robot-y and not enough like a native speaker, which makes it difficult to hear the different tones.
  • Tinycards. This is also made by Duolingo. I’ve really liked Chineasy’s decks so far. They have really great pronunciation, and the illustrated Chinese characters are surprisingly useful for memorization.
  • Forvo. I’m using Forvo to supplement what Duolingo lacks in audio and to look up individual words.
  • Chineasy Daily Podcast.
  • Anki. I’m going to use Anki later down the line to help memorize characters, but for now I’m sticking with pre-built tools like Duolingo and Tinycards.
  • Grammar website or book. I’m still looking for a good grammar book or website to help me nail Chinese grammar.

Weekly Plan (Beginner Stage)


  • 5 Duolingo lessons
  • Listen to the Chineasy Daily Podcast

Monday & Wednesday

  • 10-15 minutes pronunciation & speaking practice
  • 10-15 minutes character memorization (Tinycards & Chineasy)

Tuesday & Thursday

  • 10-15 minutes grammar practice
  • 10-15 minutes character memorization

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

  • Weekly update
  • Choice of grammar, speaking, or other practice

I send updates on my progress every Saturday.