I signed up for a free basic account with Chineseclass 101, completed Absolute beginners level 1: lessons one to eight on Monday. Several blogs by Chinese learning folks mentioned this site. I checked it out and must say each lesson is not only straight forward but also quite chewable and relevant!!!
I realise that the best way for me to absorb the new information is to listen to the lesson several times, listen again and repeat the sentences aloud, learn the meaning of certain words in context , listen several times until I understand the sentences. To help with word recognition, I use Anki to create audio flashcards of each lesson, and flashcards of sentences, (Questions and answers) flashcards but this may be quite time consuming to some. I am doing all this in the hope that by the beginning of next week, I will be hearing whole sentences instead of words.
I knew ni (you) and shenme (what), so I could infer that this was a question. By Wednesday and after a lot of hearing and repeating, I not only learned more or less what each word in the sentence meant, but I could identify the sentence as a whole. I practised by repeating aloud, imagining the context, and changing the pronouns. ‘What is your name? What is his name? What is their name?’ and so on. Yes it is tedious, maybe i’ll find another method soon.
By Wednesday, I ‘learned’ a few colours with Mandarin4kids1 and NYChineseLearning as well as counting with tistranslation and Activechinese, all on Youtube. Anki is a great programme to use when reviewing, however, I think doing so everyday or every two days is a must for me.
By Thursday, I completed Abs beginners level 1 to lesson 25 as well as animated elementary lessons 001 to 004 on CriEnglish.com. There are many words that I have encountered that I have never seen before (which is quite normal!) or are made up of characters that I can recognise. Therefore, I made a list of the words that seemed familiar to me as well as a much smaller list of words that are alien to me to work on during the weekend writing sessions.
On Friday I concentrated on the last five lessons. I put the last seven lessons on repeat. I listened to them at least four times during the day then continued with the rest of my life 🙂 I must say I am going through a trial and error moment but I really do think just concentrating on the sounds and general meaning will help in not forgetting things.