Although I finished lessons one to 25, I felt I had breezed through them too quickly. I did not want a repeat of my last learning experience, which was a failure, so I started learning Survival phrases from Chineseclass101 series. These are bite sized lessons. They are much shorter than the usual sentences 15 to 30 seconds, and they introduce a lot of useful vocabulary such as calling a waiter in a restaurant, asking if the bus goes to Beijing and asking your table neighbour to pass you the chopsticks. I realise that this level should be my foundation. There are 60 lessons in this series and I am comfortable with the first 23. This took me two days of listening as well as getting on with my life.

First part: Just listening and trying to visualise scenarios. Second part: Listening and repeating. Third part: visualising a concrete scenario and making it stick.

The vocabulary is more than ok, this level is just building short sentences and concentrating on the polite form. I think it is important to find lessons that are not too advanced. I sometimes feel that Chinese learning books such as Assimil are too advanced. They start too hard and may just discourage you. It is important to listen a lot but also to have access to different voices, accents in Chinese and so on. (I am still searching for a great drama to watch that I will be able to understand). Writing characters is not an issue yet, I will do so soon. Right now I am ok with recognition. However, I plan on using the mmenotic technique to learn certain characters as this method works for me WHEN I am in the mood.

Don’t force yourself 🙂

Also I have come to understand that I can get easily distracted. In my case I have to have one to three providers of Chinese lessons (max) and just stick to them. I also need to listen to one or two different Chinese shows regularly or I will get side tracked. Chineseclass101 is ok right now. All the other resources are too advanced for now. is great but I caught myself rote learning. So I stopped. I will find other resources that are free (I promise!)

In the meantime,  I found this show for kids and families on called 家有儿女 worth watching if you have kids or have good basic Chinese. Again, my Chinese is not enough to understand this but it is enough to read the majority of the subtitles BUT my emphasis is on understanding(social)  and not reading ( anti-social). Another thing is the sound quality on some vids is not great. As a learner this is a slight obstacle.

I am going to dedicate one more week to this level and see how far I get. By far I mean how comfortable I remain. Hopefully I’ll finish all 60 lessons by …. There is no deadline!

Q. What resources are you sticking to for your language learning? 

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