With DuChinese we hosted our teacher Ellie, live from Shanghai on YouTube, answering your questions about learning Chinese.
- 2:38 HSK preparation
- 11:55 Free online resources
- 14:31 Chinese language in general
- 24:31 Hanzi
- 34:55 Pronunciation
- 42:10 Casual topics
How to prepare for a HSK test?
Per level, it can be described as:
HSK1: There are 150 commonly used words and some related grammar. And if you do around 50 hour sessions learning Chinese, you will see how easy the HSK1 test is.The Newbie level in DuChinese is very helpful for you to learn and review.
HSK2: There are 300 commonly used words and some related grammar. Both of HSK1 and HSK2 have Pinyin, even you have no knowledge about Chinese characters, it is still okey for you to pass easily. The Elementary level in DuChinese is very helpful and practical.
HSK3: First, to know all the 600 words first, including character recognizing, meaning and usages of them. Secondly, In this level you almost finish the grammar learning. And please know the important grammar very well. Like “ba” sentence, “bei” sentence and some complements etcetera. Thirdly, do as much practice as you can. HSK3 standard book course and its workbook will help your learning.
HSK4: It’s like that from HSK3 to HSK4, you need to pay much more effort than ever. At this level, you need to improve your listening skills and speed up your reading, and also you need to know how to write a short essay with the given words or pictures. So from this level until HSK6, you need to spend more time in doing exercise. Make sure that every day you do some listening exercise and reading. Not too many, but you need to keep working on them. And write an 80-word essay every week and ask a native speaker to help you correct it as well.
HSK5: Firstly, you can use your word learning application like Quizlet to review the words. The more words you know, the faster your reading will be. Secondly, at this level, remember, when you do the exercise, don’t forget to count the time. Time is very important.
HSK6: No matter the listening or the reading or writing level, it would be very advanced. And even for the native speakers, the questions of this level is kind of difficult. Skills are very important. Do some specialized traning. And improve your skills of guessing and finding answers through a long material.
Free online resources
What are good online resources?
I’d say, of course, the DuChinese app, for Android & iPhone. And there’s also our GoEast Online courses for Business Chinese and HSK learning. And if you want to learn more, of course we do have Beyond Class videos on YouTube.
There’s also Duolingo, you can learn Chinese through games. It’s great, but just know that Duolingo alone isn’t enough, despite what they make you think. And lastly, a great resource is ChinesePod.
Chinese language in general
Question from WeChat by Peter: What is the most difficult question you can explain about Chinese by a foreigner, I would like to ask? So, what do you do?
Hmmmmm, maybe this question is the most difficult question that I can explain about Chinese?
Question on Reddit: What’s a good way to motivate yourself to keep learn ing Chinese, especially when you don’t need it in daily life?
I’d say, you need to ask yourself: where is my motivation to learn Chinese coming from? Is it because you need it for your job? Or is it because you like learning languages? The first one is called external cause and the second one is called internal cause. Try to make a goal and all the learning you do is trying to achieve the goal. After achieving that, you will have a big satisfaction of yourself. Try to find some interesting connection between learning Chinese and yourself interests. Like watching TV serials, TV show and so on. Make your learning more fun. (I learned also English with TV series Friends!.)
Question from YouTube: What’s the best thing about being a Chinese teacher?
The best thing? Not the best things? I think being a Chinese teacher is the most meaningful thing that I have ever done. I can see my student’s Chinese improving every time we chat. Both my students and I have a wider view of understanding the world. When I see this happen it’s the best thing.
What’s the best sequence to learn Chinese?
When you start HSK1, you need to learn Pinyin and tones. When you are doing HSK1 and HSK2 learning, you are enhencing your Pinyin and tones as well. After HSK1 and HSK2, you can start learning Hanzi. And at the same time do a reviewing about HSK1 and HSK2 as well. When you finish HSK1,2, and Hanzi, it will be much easier for you to start HSK3 learning.
Omnia Sami on YouTube: I know when we meet a Chinese person for the first time we say 你好 and my teacher 老师好 but after becoming close friends or seeing my teacher every day it’s kinda of weird to say the same words 你好，老师好 so how can l greet them then?
Yes it’s true that if you are close friends or see each other every day , it will be werid to say 你好。你好 is more like the greeting words for the people who meet each other the first time. You can use:
or according to some specific situation, you can ask them:
“去哪儿啊” , “出去啊”, “去吃饭啊”, “忙着呐”
Question on Reddit from a user named RadicalHanzi. Also on YouTube. What is the best way to learn Hanzi?
Type Hanzi first to achieve the goal that you can recognize the Hanzi. Write them down and enhance your memory about the new Hanzi. Of course the watch some visual materials will help your hanzi memorizing and make it more interesting. You can go to radicalhanzi.com to check if you are interested in that.
On Youtube by 270sittingduck: What are some common things that Chinese learners usually get wrong/have trouble with?
Firstly, I think most of you are not familiar with the language which has tones. I think most of you can do well in individual tone pronounciation. Just get wrong with the tone when people read a word or a sentence. Secondly, the usage of 了. 就. Thirdly, the difference between 不 (bù) and 没 (méi). And lastly, sometimes when the word order is very different from English, people would be confused or speak them out after thinking about the order very carefully.
Another user on Reddit asks: Do you have any recommendations for practice methods to write characters from memory? Some words come up often so I remember just from sheer repetition but other words are very situational.
How well you can remember the words really depends on how often you see and use them. Like you said you can remember them from sheer repetition. Make a list of the radicals you’ve learned and update it with new Hanzi.
About also those situational words, you can seperate the character into different components and make a story of each part. 比如 教：一个老人+一个孩子+攵 攵looks like two x which means wrong. The story can be: an old man was teaching a child, cause he made a lot of mistakes in his homework.
New characters, if you want to remember how to write them, please write each character 10 times. When I was little, I also had to learn characters this way. After that you will have a memory which I call it muscle memory. So next time you can recognize even you can write them. If your spoken vocabulary is outpacing writing, that’s fine and normal.
Roll up your tongue. The two sides of your tongue touch the upper jaw. Now try to pronounce r and at the same time you can put your hand on your throat. Feel the vibration of your vocal cords. Then try to prounounce these pinyin.
There is also another r in er. It sounds like litter. flowers.
er： 2，儿子, 耳朵.
Question from YouTube by Junhao Wang: Can you speak in dialects?
Unfortunately I can not. The dialect I speak is like Mandarin. Just different tones. But Michael can speak Shanghai dialect! We also have many teachers who can speak other dialects.
Do you have tips for pronuncitation?
First you need to know Pinyin very well and can distinguish the tones. Listen to the word recording and try to say the word with the same tone. In DuChinese, you can listen to the audio in a slow, normal or faster speed. After listening the recording, you can also read after it. Speak as much as you can.
Question on WeChat by 安柏然™: Peng Yuxuan or Wang Junkai: Which is the most handsome? Why?
I think both of them are handsome. But for me, I think Peng Yuyan is more handsome. He has a nice body and a nice smile. Wang Junkai recently is quite popular as well. For me, he is cuter and younger than Peng.
And he is more like a little brother.
Question on YouTube: Ellie! I want to know. Are you an actor of computer generated artificial intelligence? Goddess, but just a beautiful picture, right?
Haha I think you are a big fan of Beyond Class. You even know that Michael likes video games. Indeed he does. And I am a real person who is a Chinese teacher as well.
On YouTube Sekai: 你有没有男朋友?
It’s kinda personal! But since we’re all friends here I guess it’s ok! 有
That’s all! Thank you for watching! If you want to continue learning, check out the DuChinese app or go to our online Chinese courses.