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Does anyone have any advice on what steps to take in learning Chinese (Mandarin)?


I want to get started quickly, and I'm willing to commit a lot of time and effort to studying Mandarin, but I'm confused about how to continue/get started. I don't want to learn phrases from a phrasebook... I'd prefer to build a solid base of grammatical and vocab knowledge so I can build on it and actually understand the language as I progress.

I will probably be signing up to one of the tutors on this site, but I want to achieve a level of basic competency before I do so. Ideas would be great! Specific ideas would be preferred rather than "Learn important words"

For example: "Memorise the characters and pinyin of HSK1", or "learn the Grammar on this page"

Thanks to anyone that can help!


For learning: Chinese (Mandarin)
Base language: English
Category: Language



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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    Everybody learns differently, so you have to find what works best for you. As for me, I hate memorizing vocab lists and that kind of thing. I prefer to learn from seeing that language in context, like stories, news articles, tv shows ect... Although it is really difficult at first, and time consuming, I think it gives you the best results.

    Of course if you are starting from scratch, you have to learn a few basic vocal/grammar things before you can start to learn from Chinese material. There are tons of videos on youtube and youku with good explanations of the basics.

    Chinesepod has some really good lessons for beginners with really clear explanations. Pleco is an amazing dictionary for learners, and you dao 有道 is really good for more advanced learners. Jukuu is really good for seeing a word in context, with both Chinese and English example sentence. has good stories for beginners. They also have explanations of the vocal in the story.

    Anyhow, there are a ton of good resources/blogs out there, those are just the ones I have found the most useful. In the end it just a lot of time and work. Every time you see a word you don't know, look it up! Eventually you will remember it. Good luck!

    410 syllables of pinyin
    word-lists for HSK

    Have you tried It uses a flashcard and spaced repetition system to learn vocab.

    Would strongly suggest starting with a teacher to begin with. This in order to learn pronounciation, pinyin and so on.. Think it will be useful to get it right from the beginning. Theres loads of people teaching mandarin on this website, I'd suggest try having classes with a few of them, to see which you like better.

    Also "Chinesepod" is an awesome learn-chinese podcast. Have different levels, from novice to expert. Unfortunately it's not free, but they offer the first month for 99cents, so it's worth checking out.

    Although I haven't much experience in Language learning classes, I want to share one interesting software which I used to learn Japanese few days before. That was "Rosetta Stone". I think it's quite useful for those people who are at the beginning of learning a new language. Maybe you can get more imformation from the internet.

    Oh, nice to meet you Ollie, wish you all the best !
    this is a useful website, you can study few sentences from it everyday (enclose audio), and I think you will accumulate many characters gradually, at the beginning of learning English, I watched cartoon everyday, maybe it suits you well, as for pronunciation, the hujiang site has audio, and you can find a partner, let's cheer up!!!, think they've got a free trial, but they're very good. All levels from beginner to advanced and got exercises, audio files etc.

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