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Learning Chinese FAQ

We have created this column in order to answer some of the common issues and important questions Chinese learners often encounter while studying. Our teachers put all of these common problems into one package series, where they can break these questions down and explain them in more detail. We hope this helps our students stay on track and make Chinese learning a much smoother process without any detours! We also invite ALL of our learners to participate and ask questions in the comment section! We will regularly be checking and answering the questions you leave us!

I get asked all the time by prospective students, new students, or even seasoned students–“How do I improve my spoken Chinese?” And not only do they want to know the answer to that question, they also want to know: “How can I do it fast?”
Often if you are a Westerner learning Chinese, you are not ...


Learning Mandarin Chinese is different from learning other languages such as Italian or French. It is nearly impossible to self-study Mandarin Chinese or learn through books and audio/video resources alone. To effectively learn Mandarin Chinese, you need to immerse yourself into a learning process with a native-speaking Chinese teacher. If possible, the opportunity to study ...


Quite often, I receive messages from parents outside China who would like some guidance and suggestions on how to motivate their children to learn Mandarin Chinese and what goals to set. While standardized tests may only motivate some students, I do find that the AP Chinese Language and Culture Exam is an excellent way to ...


There are over 80,000 Chinese characters, but most of them are seldom used today. So how many Chinese characters do you need to know? For basic reading and writing of modern Chinese, you only need a few thousands. Here are the coverage rates of the most frequently used Chinese characters:
Most frequently used 1,000 characters: 90% (Coverage ...


Mandarin, like most Chinese dialects, is a tonal language. This means that tones, just like consonants and vowels, are used to distinguish words from each other. Many foreigners have difficulties mastering the tones of each character, but correct tonal pronunciation is essential for intelligibility because of the vast number of words in ...


According to the official standards set by the People’s Republic of China, standard Mandarin Chinese uses:
The phonology or sound system of Beijing. A distinction should be made between the sound system of a dialect or language and the actual pronunciation of words in it. The pronunciations of words chosen for standard Mandarin Chinese do not ...


Standard Mandarin language – also known as standard Chinese, standard Mandarin language or standard spoken Chinese – is the official language of the People’s Republic of China.
“The phonology of standard Mandarin language is based on the Beijing dialect, one of Mandarin’s most popular dialects, which is part of a large and very diverse group of ...


The Han people have their own spoken and written language. Chinese belongs to the Han-Tibetan language family. It is the most commonly used language in China, and one of the most commonly used languages in the world.
Written Chinese emerged in its embryonic form of carved symbols approximately 6,000 years ago. ...


Studying anything has many advantages, and languages are no different. There are personal and professional advantages to be derived from studying them. Right now in the world Chinese is moving itself into a position to be the dominant language and cultural force for the 21st century. So it follows that learning Chinese just makes sense ...


How to Master Chinese Tones? 

Questions: I've just started to learn Mandarin. How could I master Chinese tones?  

Answers: Chinese tones are usually challenging for the beginning-level Mandarin learners. There are several suggestions for you on Chinese tones: First of all, memorize, memorize, and memorize. Try to remember the Chinese tones as much as possible. The ...


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