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 Welcome To : Survival Chinese Lessons - Tips for Improving vocabulary

Tips for Learning Chinese Vocabulary

Learn Chinese Language Tips and Techniques

By Rosie Wang

There's no doubt learning any foreign language requires effort, time and commitment. This holds true even more, especially when there's a big difference between one's native tongue and learning a new language.

On the other side, knowing the tips and techniques of learning a new language can make all the difference on how effective and successful you can achieve.

Based on personal learning experiences, along with others(either online or offline), here are some of the learning Chinese language tips and techniques on becoming successful in mastering the Chinese language.

By using one, or a combination of these tips and techniques, will maximize your effectiveness, minimize your time, and at the same time, make your learning fun and enjoyable.

Step I - Where to start?

Start from learning the Chinese pronunciation.

Learning Chinese Pinyin should be the first step of learning Chinese language. Pinyin contains all the Chinese phonetic alphabets where they are used in the pronunciation of Chinese characters. To distinguish the different tones, pay close attention to the four types by reading the Pinyin letters, initials, finals, and all possible combinations.

The objective of this phase is for you to be able to read any Chinese character with marked in Pinyin and also write a given pronunciation in Pinyin format. Be warned: learn the correct pronunciation from the start, do not build bad habits!

Step II - Listen, practice and memorize simple Chinese vocabulary and sentences


Take a local community Chinese class, do the practice drills with your study partner. The more you speak, the easier it will be for you to learn.

Get a good dictionary and make sure it has the phonetic spellings of the words.

Find a native Chinese speaker to converse with, many Chinese students would like to practice their English as an exchange to teach you Chinese.

Visit a Chinese restaurant or Chinese community center where Chinese is spoken natively.

Read out loud, listen to and repeat after tape or online radio, watch Chinese movies and TV programs. Listen carefully to the new sounds. Repeat them as accurately as possible, try to forget the sounds of your native language.

Sing Chinese songs.

Borrow cassette tapes from the local library, review and listen to the tapes frequently until you're able to speak the words and sentences all by yourself.

Review older vocabulary every so often to refresh your memory. Step III - Write Chinese Understand Chinese writing strokes and rules

Read our Writing Chinese section ( ) to understand Chinese writing strokes and rules. This will provide a good solid foundation on how Chinese characters are formed.


Only way to learn Chinese characters is to memorize them, practice writing a character on paper until you remember it. Start from easy ones, which also include all the strokes, for example, 一(one), 十(ten), 中(middle), 山(mountain), 上(above), 火(fire), 河(river), 入(enter).

Rather than writing one word many times before doing the next one, write each word once or twice then go through the whole list again until you've done the required number of repetitions. This will reinforce the new words more firmly in your memory.

Read Chinese newspapers, booklets and books found at your local library or Chinese market

Watch movies or TV programs with Chinese subtitles, it is a great way to learn Chinese speaking and writing at the same time in a simulated real-life scenario.

Use post-it notepaper to write down the characters and stick them on the objects you are about to learn.

Write vocabulary words using index or flash cards on one side with the definition on the other side.

Use your imagination by linking the shape of the new word by first glancing to something you are familiar with. Play vocabulary by creating a 3-column vocabulary sheet with characters, pinyin, and English definitions. Fold the paper with only one or two columns showing and then take practice written tests.

After a while, you will notice that many characters have elements in common, either related to meaning or pronunciation. Note the common elements and use them to help you remember new characters.

Take advantage of free learning Chinese resources online. If you can memorize about 1,000 - 2,000 characters, you will feel comfortable with reading and writing modern Chinese.

Step IV: Grammar?

Learn the basic grammar, but try not to worry and be constrained by the rules. After all, languages are spoken as a way to express meaning.

The basic grammar elements are almost identical with different languages; however, the sequence may be different. Pay particular attention to the differences and practice on them.

The most important points on learning new foreign languages:

Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Being self-conscious can be an obstacle in learning a language. Remember, most people are willing to helping you rather than laughing at you.

Don't be discouraged by the difficulties at first attempt. Practice, practice, and practice! you will be amazed by your own progress!

Be persistent. Allocate a set time on studying and follow the schedule. Studying a little every day is more effective than studying for a long period at once.

Rosie From Learn Chinese Language Online (

The goal of Learn Chinese Language Online (LCLO) is to reduce the Mandarin Learning curve, promote and introduce the most efficient way to grasp the broad foundation of Chinese language.

Lessons in Chinese - Learn useful phrases, grammar and vocabulary online

  1. Eating out - At the restaurant : In this this podcast lesson you will learn the following:
  2. At the hotel : This lesson contains the following parts:
  3. Shopping for clothes- Learn how to go shopping for clothes in this podcast
  4. Making phone calls in Chinese: Learn telephone Chinese
  5. Post office Chinese lesson podcast: Learn how to send and receive things at the post office
  6. Seeing a doctor : Learn how to talk about your health problems to a doctor
  7. Going Places: Learn words related to traveling
  8. Going to the bank : You will learn the following:

By breaking down the lessons into useful phrases, vocabulary and sentence structure analysis, experience has proven that most foreigners will learn enough to communicate with while in China. We have picked the most relevant topics ( the things a traveler always needs)

Chinese Dictionary


Learn English Online : For teachers and students of English

We are also developers of English learning materials . Visit our sites below and get resources for teaching and studying English:

  • English for Kids: This site offers several interactive exercises for beginners and kids to learn English. There are printable worksheets for teachers of kids, video lesson slides, ppt downloads and more.
  • English Media Lab: A cool interactive English learning site with self-grading vocabulary and grammar quizzes, pronunciation exercises, video slides and lots more for students.
  • ESL Galaxy for Lesson Plans : Teach English using free printable worksheets, board games, powerpoint downloads, vocabulary and grammar printables.
  • : An excellent site to get English materials as download bundles. There are powerpoint lessons, audiobooks, ebooks, grammar tests and video podcasts.

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