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Tools to Help You in Learning Chinese Language

The journey has started. You have learnt 汉语拼音、笔画和部首 (The basics of Chinese Language). By now, you may already know some simple Chinese characters such as 人,口,木,花, etc. You would like to continue the journey, along the way, keep the below tools handy:

  1. 汉语字典 或 汉语词典 — 汉语 = Chinese Language. Whether you need a 字典 or a 词典 is a matter of personal preference. As a general rule of thumb, most people start with a 字典 with English translation. For advanced learners, I would suggest to have a 词典. The difference between the two is 字典 gives you the meaning of a single Chinese character and some common matching with other Chinese characters. Chinese characters “mix and match” with each other and each matching has a slightly different meaning. 词典 gives you the meaning of a matching. Thus, a 词典 helps you to use Chinese words more accurately.
  2. Books / Newspaper / Magazines — Even if it is a Chinese comic book, it is helpful. It helps to keep the fire of interest burning. One of the enemies of learning a language is that you have lost the motivation or interest to learn. Thus, keep yourself busy by reading a story book, newspaper or magazines. The bottom line, the reading materials must be in Chinese Language, with or without English translation.
  3. Televisions / Radios — When you first started learning, you find that you do not know how to read a lot of Chinese characters. Listening to good television and radio programmes help you to pronounce Chinese words correctly and also to recognize the different “matching” of Chinese characters.
  4. Mobile Applications — For younger learners, they may learn by using applicable mobile apps. Mobile apps are more interesting than reading materials and TV / radio programmes. You can learn as and when you like it. They are suitable for younger learners who have short attention span where they can learn, stop (off the apps) and learn again at a later time. Caution: mobile apps may give you the wrong information (e.g. a monkey picture which reads 小狗). Thus, do not depend solely on mobile apps to learn Chinese Language.

Chinese characters used in this post

  • 和 — and
  • 或 — or
  • 人 — person / human
  • 口 — mouth
  • 木 — wood
  • 花 — flower
  • 小狗 — puppy (小 = small, 狗 = dog)

All the tools ready? The next station is to learn about the grammar. See you along the way!