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.