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How do foreigners learn Chinese?

My friends and I are planning to develop a website or app that offers quality and learner-friendly resources. We'd like to know about:

(This is not a formal questionnaire, and responses to any of the following will be appreciated. I do not see 'foreign Chinese learners' as 'English-speaking foreigners', though English is the only foreign language I know and in which this discussion is written)

     ·the books and dictionaries you use (their names) [Do you have many choices? Do you prefer the explanations written in the an English dictonary's way (say Oxford Advance or Merriam-Webster)? Do you wish to have up-to-date usages and examples voted by the natives?...]

     ·the classes you attend (local/online programs)[Are you satisfied with your teachers and the way they're qualified? Do you have clear goals or plans(say to work in China or to get a language certificate)? Are the help of your courses limited?...]

     ·other desirable resources [ Legal Chinese videos with quality bilingual subtitles(audio texts also available)? Links to related websites(say documentaries, university teaching videos, homestay exchange, etc)? Reminders according to the Ebbinghaus curve?  An advice column? Corrections or remarks on your recorded speech?...]

    ·ideas or suggestions for our project (you can simply recommend a similiar website or app)

Thank you in advance for your valuable answers.

Feb 17, 2015 10:49 PM
Comments · 7

I went to a top university to study the language, but as you imagine, Chinese is a tonal language so its not easy to learn and improve my listening and speaking skills. Hence you see people go to the country and are forced with no option to live by their day to day life speaking and listening to local people.



March 16, 2015

pleco for a chinese-english dictionary.  For listening  chinesepod chinesepod chinesepod, and chinesepod

March 12, 2015

Additional...When you learn chinese and have lots of pages of notes  (say 60 or more) over a long time span it's difficult to remember everything you learned. There are countless times in my chinese studies where I say "I learned that before I just cant remember what lesson it was in" so insted if flipping throught pages of notes, a quick search engine for characters would save heaps of time for me.

February 21, 2015

when it comes to learning Chinese characters I always break down a complicated character into 2 or 3 parts. for example 猫 cat 犭quan radical, 艹cao radical and the 田 tian. 


I would like to have a search engine database program that (when I enter my chinese classroom notes in the database) I can search for a character within my notes. for example if i type in 电 i would get all references to the character 电 in my notes no matter what word combo like 电池, 电脑,电视, 电雷 什么的。 I would also love a radical (or character part) search engine option. For example if I type in 犭or 犬 all characters in my notes that have 犭 in it like 猪,猴,狗 什么的 will show up.


I presented that Idea to Pleco (even suggested the name Pleco Notes) but they never developed an ad on to their program.


that kind of search engine would be awsome.

February 21, 2015

Hi, I do most of my vocabulary learning using, which is a brilliant resource (imo) but I feel like I haven't really learnt that many phrases/sentences studying here in the UK.


I don't what the resource would be, exactly, but it would be great to have something that bridges the gap between single word/character translations and the huuuuuge amount of language you get exposed to listening to songs or watching films, say. I seem to always find resources that are much to easy to understand or are completely incomprehensible :/


This gap can be bridged by chatting with natives, of course, but it's nice to have some sort of resource available for immediate usage any time of day. I started learning chinese while in China, so there I had that 24 hour resource of being able to go outside and chat with people :P

February 21, 2015
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Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language
English, French