how to learn chinese faster

How to Learn Chinese Faster: Capacity Management

6 Responses to How to Learn Chinese Faster: Capacity Management

  1. Clarence January 5, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    Thanks for taking the time to explain it all. I wonder what your view is on the different writing systems. While in Taiwan, you use classical characters. While in the PRC , it’s abreviated ones. My study o Korean over the past decades is similar to your method and is effective.
    Thanks again.

    • Alan January 5, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words!

      About writing systems: I would recommend learning simplified characters, because that is what mainland China uses.

      Happy 2014!

      • Eric January 26, 2014 at 12:00 am #

        I think Alan’s suggestion is probably best for most people, but before you invest a lot of time and energy in learning you may want to think about this question carefully.

        Reading simplified characters after you have learned traditional is very easy, but going the other way around is much more difficult. So if you’d like to learn both in the long term, it may be better to learn traditional first. And if you have an interest in the characters themselves, or Chinese calligraphy, you will probably want to learn traditional characters.

        On the other hand, simplified characters may be a bit easier to learn. This is because they have fewer strokes, and because they tend to render better when you’re using a really small font size, like on a computer screen. Also, there is a relative deficit of material for adult learners in traditional fonts, though you can always go for native material targeted at a younger age group.

        • Alan February 3, 2014 at 11:41 am #

          Hi Eric, thanks a lot for the suggestion – I think those are very important additional considerations in choosing between traditional and simplified Chinese characters.

      • Fearchar January 26, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

        IMHO Alan’s opinion is much too simplistic. If you’ve already studied a language that uses the longer-established full-form characters (such as Japanese), then it makes sense (i.e. makes it easier) to continue in the same vein with full-form characters. If you really intend to have more interaction with Taiwanese people than Chinese people, then it makes sense too. If you are passionate about aesthetics, art or history, then simplified characters won’t satisfy you.

        Of course, if you’re swayed by the vast numbers of Chinese people as opposed to those in most overseas ethnic Chinese communities or in Taiwan, then it makes sense to assume that simplified characters are “better”. A word of caution, though: how many people can you expect to interact with in your lifetime? I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t even manage to get in touch with all of the local ethnic Chinese community, let alone consider the vast numbers of other Chinese-using people elsewhere.

        In a nutshell, ask yourself what you want to do with the written language and in what setting you want to use it.

        • Alan February 3, 2014 at 11:40 am #

          Hi Fearchar, I think you’re right – your answer is better. :)

          The people who I’ve learned Chinese with have mostly learned Chinese because of mainland China. So I was writing from that perspective.