Learning Chinese

After seeing my brother begin to learn Chinese I decided to do the same. Not for any specific reason in special, but just because I wanted a challenge. I suppose I was somewhat curious about China as well.

My current approach is based on Anki, using four shared decks:

  • Phonetics: I mainly used it to learn how to pronounce those 10 initials that sound the same. I figured this would be helpful because I’d rather start slowly but without making mistakes than fixing those mistakes later. It’s something I wish I had been taught with English because of all those damn vowels that don’t exist in Spanish, but I suppose that’s not a requirement for getting a low level English certificate.

Those pesky initials

After just one week I was done memorizing those.

  • Radicals: These are somewhat like letters in English. It’s what other characters are made out of. There are a total of 214 radicals, some of them are pretty straight forward, like tree, person or power, but sometimes you end up wondering why they would make a tripod or half a trunk one of them.

  • 3000 Hanzi to learn first: It’s the main course. It’s based on a scientific paper which takes the 3000 most common Hanzi and sorts them by complexity. With Pleco they make a great duo.

  • Spoonfed Chinese: The main reason I started using this deck was because I wasn’t learning any grammar, and many of the cards I was getting with 3000 Hanzi to learn first were particles and words that didn’t make sense to me. I also wanted to make some progress speaking, given that I was learning a lot of vocabulary but no way of putting it together.

Written on February 27, 2020