Year Two: Intermediate Chinese

Year One | Year Two | Year Three | Year Four



Frequently Asked Questions

I am learning many new characters/words each day but I am forgetting a lot words/characters each day too. How could I avoid forgetting these learned characters/words?

It is quite natural to forget something old when you are learning something new. The most important thing for you is to use the language to express yourself. Then, you will naturally need both the words you have just learned and those you learned a while ago. A study shows that for Chinese characters 1,500 is a threshold or turning point. After you can well recognize 1,500 Chinese characters, you will not forget old ones when learning new ones because the characters you have learned are enough for you to connect them in a system. In other words, you will know all the characters are connected with a fixed number of radicals and sound elements.

In China I found with surprise that the tones of most Chinese are not standard. Does that mean tones are not so important?

The tones of local dialects are surely different from standard Mandarin. But they have their own rules and most of the native speakers can understand people from other regions. The natural tone differences are expected and will not hinder communications significantly. Unfortunately, your wrong tones may not be identical with any of the known Chinese local dialects so that they will lead to misunderstanding and mis-communication.

Should I try to read Chinese newspapers and magazines?

Not yet the time for you since you have not yet learned written Chinese systematically. Try your best to understand the most difficult lessons of your textbook is more realistic.

The 入乡随俗 textbook seems more difficult than most of the other textbooks. What are the advantages of using it?

Different from many other intermediate textbooks, this one is designed to expose you with more colloquial Chinese expressions although the grammar system is still based on the standard spoken Chinese. In the last part of the volume 2, you read some articles in written style or semi-written style. This will make you very well prepared for the next stage, the real advanced Chinese.