So i’ve been learning Chinese on and off for about 7 years - more on the off than the on. I started Chinese school when I was 15 and did it for 3 years until I went to university. That would of been the year I took my GCSE Chinese - I probably wouldn’t have done that well. I’ve been to China 3 times. Twice with my Chinese school in 2007 and 2008 and once with friends in 2009. Being a British born Chinese I’ve been struggling Chinese learner for many years as I didn’t learn from when I was young, but now I’ve promised myself I’m going to be able to converse fluently in Chinese by the time I’m 25 years old - I’ve got less than 2.5 years left.
So it’s crunch time. I’ve done some research and I’ve found some good resources that I’m going to use to supplement any course I might take in the future (term has started already).
- livemocha.com - This is a language learning social network where it has coursework as well as the ability to connect with our language learners or native speakers
- fluento.com - Fluento translates youtube videos into Chinese and categorises them by genre and level. The subtitles can be clicked on and the video pauses whilst you add that word to your vocab list. This way you can get real content in Chinese and also create a list of vocabulary from which you can learn from
- yoyochinese.com - I’ve subscribed for a month to this to try it out. It’s basically like ChinesePod.com, but video based. It seems very relevant to those learning Chinese from English as Yangyang the host compares to languages so you get concepts quicker
- Skritter iPhone app - This is a great iPhone app that takes words from a bunch of textbooks they have (you probably own one of them) and tests you using flashcard style tests where you write the characters. The software is pretty sweet and you can learn words really quickly. Highly recommended. Still on the trial at the moment but will probably stay subscribed once it’s over.
- Taiwanese/Mainland dramas and films - I used to watch several Taiwanese dramas when I was a teenager, but as I grew up I started to find them boring. I hope I’ll be able to keep this one up as I need a constant presence of Mandarin in my life to keep things fresh and continue my passive learning (rather than always learning actively)
I also plan to enroll in some kind of evening course possibly at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) when the term starts again so I have some structure to my Chinese learning and hopefully this will mean 2 years isn’t unachievable for my goal! I’m going to make sure anyone that I know that knows Mandarin will know that I’m trying to learn, which will force me to learn because you want to live up to expectations. Overall I’m pretty psyched about getting back into language learning - I’m sure this type of discipline will help with learning any kind of language as well - immerse yourself as much as possible.