You shouldn’t believe anyone who tries to tell you that learning Chinese characters won’t take work. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t be interesting. In fact, that’s one of the keys to being able to remember characters longer. When you add repetition and consistency to that interest, you’ll be surprised how much your memory can improve. It’s time to ditch those flashcards. Below are 5 ways to learn, practice and improve your Chinese reading skills.
Of course, the first, best, and most obvious way is to read books(especially Miracle Mandarin Reading Text book) in Chinese. Choose a Chinese version book that you’ve read in your mother tongue. Work your way up to a translation of your current favorite, using translations of your old ones. You know the stories, so it will be easier to guess the meanings of new characters from their context.
So, you’re watching your favorite show. Why not turn on some Chinese subtitles? If only to begin to understand some slang or some idioms that you want to learn. If you’re a more advanced speaker, watch your favorite Chinese shows with subtitles on. Learn to recognize characters as they are said and improve your reading speed.
3. Pictures with explanations
At the very beginning, it is impossible to avoid the brute force memorization that comes with learning characters. But, there are a lot of tools out there to help you. Cute photos with characters that help you to see the character in a context that helps you remember its meaning. For traditional characters, using Miracle Mandarin APPs is a great method. For simplified characters with more pop culture references and the addition of mnemonic devices to help with pronunciation, Link Words is your best bet. The cute little pictures will stick in your head like glue and there’s a new one every day.
4. Homonyms and synonyms, antonyms and heteronyms
It’s easier to learn when you can learn in clumps. Memorizing 30 characters? Super hard. Memorizing 6 groups of 5? Way, way easier. You can clump based on topics, part of speech, or anything else you fancy. Our suggestion? Synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, and heteronyms. Looking at these kinds of words in groups allows you to learn to discern meaning from the functional parts of a character, to see what makes it different to its other “-nyms”. It helps you find your own ways to remember the meaning.
5. Creative writing
Using the characters you know is just as important as recognizing them. Creative writing, whether it’s a fake weather report or a novel, forces you to put words together in ways you didn’t learn in a classroom. It both necessitates and allows for improvisation and new contexts. All the better if you can think of a situation you can’t say. Then you have found a new vocabulary set or grammatical structure that is actually useful to you.
Want more info? Do not hesitate to contact us!
Address: 21F, 319 Changde Road (corner of West Beijing Road)
Closest metro: Line 2/7 Jing’an Temple, Exit 3/4/10,
A 5 min walk away
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Learn Chinese in Shanghai / at Miracle Mandarin / Video Class