eChinaJOBs APP Download

Language Learning Tips for Chinese Newbies

By Yew Chung International School , Comments (6 )     Add your comment Newsletter

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • WeChat
  • Email
  • More sharing

The Yew Chung International School of Beijing’s Secondary School Chinese Curriculum Coordinator Jessica Sun Shares How to be an Effective Chinese Language Learner

For non-native speakers, learning Chinese can be a tall order even if you live in China. Big cities like Shanghai and Beijing are full of English language resources for newly-arrived expats and there is no shortage of Chinese with a decent English language base keen to practice their English with a native speaker. This makes it easy for non-Chinese speakers to avoid the daunting task of learning the local language.

However, learning the local language can be a very rewarding experience, both practically (new friends, ease of life, a greater access to delicious cuisine) and developmentally (an expanded worldview, a greater appreciation of new cultures). If you’ve just moved to China or are looking to jump-start your language learning, YCIS Beijing Secondary School Chinese Curriculum Coordinator and veteran Chinese teacher Jessica Sun have some essential tips that will make sure you’re learning the right way.

Take Risks 
Underlying every non-native speaker with great Chinese skills is dedication to one thing: practice. While it is an exercise in humility to speak a foreign language, especially when you’re just beginning, make an effort to open your mouth and speak the language at any point, even if it’s just making sure you use Chinese when buying groceries or being chatty with the locals who make your jianbing. Open-minded and curious students who are always willing to take risks will be the most successful. Get out and meet the locals if you’re truly dedicated to learning the language.

Simplifying Strokes and Radicals 
While listening and speaking is all about interacting with native speakers, writing characters is relatively self-sufficient, relying more on independent determination than interacting with other people. However, it’s vital when learning characters that you understand stroke order, the system that dictates how individual characters are written, and radicals, the different pieces that make up any individual character. While it may seem like an unnecessary hassle to the beginner student, mastering these two facets of Chinese characters will actually make your Chinese-learning life substantially easier in the long run. As the characters become increasingly complex, learning characters actually becomes easier; memorizing characters eventually becomes a matter of simply arranging already learned radicals in new positions and writing them in a different order.

Studying with friends? Students at YCIS Beijing study characters with friends to share  their ideas on how to effectively memorize specific characters. This can make the process a lot more fun, especially when devising various mnemonics to help remember each character!

Use the Right Resources 
Nowadays there are a plethora of excellent resources available online for students of any foreign language. If you’ve just arrived in Beijing, a dictionary app is essential; Pleco has been a mainstay for years and continues to be a top choice in this category.

For learning new characters, especially as a beginner, having a flashcard app that lets you trace characters with your hand is essential. At YCIS Beijing, students regularly use Quizlet, available both on desktop and mobile.

For more advanced learners, podcasts and videos are a great resource for listening and character memorization with subtitles. Students will have no problem finding videos or podcasts dedicated to their subject of interest.

If you take these recommendations to heart, we promise you’ll be learning Chinese more effectively and efficiently than ever before.

Learn more about YCIS Beijing by visiting our website


More articles:


  Daimler Executive Fired After Yelling “All Chinese Are Bastards"

  Top 5 Viral Videos in China 2016

  Take the A, B, C talent test. Now! ^^

  Freelancing Foreigners: Making Some Extra Mao

  A More Western China? 4 Areas Where the West Has Impacted China


For the latest China related news and stories sent right to your phone follow our WeChat account:



The use of any news and articles published on without written permission from constitutes copyright infringement, and legal action can be taken.

Keywords: learning Chinese China Beijing Language Apps Chinese Teacher Chinese language

You might also be interested in

  • 3 Tips to Make Reading Time Fun and Beneficial for Your Child

    How do you ensure that children stay interested in and enjoy their reading time? YCIS Beijing Primary School Curriculum Coordinator Jennifer Mills offers three tips on how to make reading fun and beneficial for your child.

  • Four Easy Steps to Bagging Beetles with Bona Fide Bug Traps!

    During his tenure at Yew Chung International School, Dr. Wickham has shared his passion for insects through both hands-on demonstrations and interactive experiments, some of which you can even conduct at home with your own children. The easiest and least supply-intensive of these experiments is ...

  • The 3 Best Chinese Cultural Sites in Beijing You’ve Never Visited

    Children in YCIS Beijing Primary School have the opportunity to explore Beijing with their teachers, discovering different aspects of traditional Chinese culture through field trips to cultural sites around Beijing that align with what they’re studying in class.

  • Eight Great Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Artistic Talent

    The Primary Art teacher at Yew Chung International School of Beijing tells you how to foster your childs creativity.

  • 3 Reasons Why Physical Education Matters

    China has become somewhat infamous for the abandoned sites left strewn throughout the country in its rush towards urban development. Some of the eerie destinations listed below take the prize as the top five most notoriously abandoned places in China.

  • Parenting in China: 3 Expert Tips for Healthy Eating

    During one of YCIS Beijing’s regularly held parenting workshops, Registered Dietitian from Oasis International Hospital Leora Martin gave a talk discussing children’s nutrition and how to encourage healthy eating habits.

6 Comments ( Add your comment )


Memrise and Pleco. True, stroke order is essential.

Nov 23, 2017 12:40

Finally broke down and bought Rosetta

Nov 11, 2017 03:20

Things to keep in mind

Oct 28, 2017 02:49

The only point i got inspired and agreed is the word "practice" to speak and learn English.

Oct 20, 2017 21:54

being surrounded by other expats or English speaking locals doesn't help. I know a few people, who tried learning Chinese, but gave up, just because it was kindda useless to them

Mar 24, 2017 08:00

Its hard but persistence is the key I guess. :)

Feb 18, 2017 03:13

Add your comment

All comments are subject to moderation by staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate. Please use the Classifieds to advertise your business and unrelated posts made merely to advertise a company or service will be deleted.

Please login to add a comment. Click here to login immediately.

Most Read in eChinacities

This week This month

Scan the QR Code to Follow Us!

Are you an expert on Beijing

Write about your favourite places and activities in Beijing to earn rewards.

How can I earn points? Post Blog

Hot Jobs Hot Classifieds

Hot Listings