Chinese mnemonics and annotator

Practical tips


Aside from reading books, learn the vocabulary you find interesting using Anki. There is even a free android version, so you can repeat even while commuting or while standing in a queue.

I've heard about polyglots that report never having to lookup a word in a dictionary - they simply rely on the simultaneous translated text. In this way they could stay totally immersed and never waste time turning pages of a dictionary. But I think that only applies to paper dictionaries. Nowadays you can lookup a word in an electronic dictionary in less than a second - you won't lose time doing so, it might even be faster that trying to pick the right word from the simultaneous text. And I find that consulting a dictionary helps remembering the word even faster.


At times, you might feel like you are pretty fed up with your books. Maybe you feel like not able to read a single page, too bored with all this learning. That is the right time for some relaxation! Get some videoclips, music or movies - in your target language. Just make sure you get the subtitles as well. Even though I am not a real fan of subconscious learning, this immersion that happens as you watch a movie is amazing. Many phrases will simply stick in your head effortlessly.

Once I devoted one week of my summer vacation to learning Chinese in this manner. I watched quite a few of Chinese Wuxia from Ancient Chinese forum (many of them have simultaneous English and Chinese subtitles, making it a perfect choice).

When anybody asked, what I did during my winter vacation, I could respond: “Learning Chinese intensively!”, leaving them pretty impressed. :-) I did not disclose that, actually, all I did was watching Chinese movies ten hours daily :-) But honestly, I did more progress then if I believe I would using only the traditional language learning methods. And I felt more relaxed after this week than ever before.