10 things you need to know about Chinese characters

10 things you need to know about Chinese characters

Have you ever wanted to learn how to read and write Chinese? Or prehaps you are just interested to find out a bit more about this seemingly complex writing system? There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to Chinese characters, some people think they are pictures and others just a bunch of unconnected random lines. The fact is, that learning Chinese...
How to speak about niche topics without good materials to learn from

How to speak about niche topics without good materials to learn from

In order to progress at the intermediate stages we need to branch out into topics that are interesting to us. The normal recommendations is to read a lot or find podcasts/shows with transcripts (or at least subtitles in your target language) about specific topics in order to learn new words and vocabulary in that area. But what can you do if you are studying a...
Everything you need to know about SRS flashcards

Everything you need to know about SRS flashcards

What is an SRS flashcard? Flashcards are study tools used to help remember small pieces of information. You put a question or prompt on the front of the card with the answer on the back and you test yourself. Look at the prompt and see if you can recall the answer from memory. Now with smart phones and tablets, we can easily get access to SRS flashcards apps...
5 Ways to learn gramar without a grammar book

5 Ways to learn gramar without a grammar book

If you want to speak accurately and confidently with native speakers then grammar is an important part of language learning. However if you are like me, whenever you have gone to study grammar in the traditional sense, either from a grammar book or through exercise drills, shortly after starting I find myself, fed-up, bored and wanting to find anything else to do. I...
Top 10 Beginner Mistakes I wish I knew when I started learning a language

Top 10 Beginner Mistakes I wish I knew when I started learning a language

Making mistakes are an integral part of language learning, both using the language and trying to figure out what works for you. That being said, here are 10 mistakes I wish I knew when I first started learning, and 10 mistakes you should definitely avoid!    1.) Spending too much time with English   This was probably my biggest mistakes when I first started learning...
Cantonese Literature – The many (free) books of Hong Kong Golden

Cantonese Literature – The many (free) books of Hong Kong Golden

One of the biggest misconceptions with Cantonese that I always hear is that Cantonese is a spoken only language and it is never written down. While standard Chinese is used for almost all serious documents and books, the fact that Cantonese is never written down is just outright wrong, and if you do some digging there is quite a lot out there. If you are not at an...
Speak from day 1?

Speak from day 1?

One on the most debated topics in language learning is if we should speak from day 1, or if it's better to wait and build up our vocabulary first. In this post, I am going to break down the pros and cons of each, as well as my personal take on things.   Speak from day 1   The idea behind speaking from day 1, is that in order to get good at speaking a language, we...
How To Set Goals That Actually Work

How To Set Goals That Actually Work

Goal setting can be an incredibly powerful tool, not just for language learning but for anyone trying to improve a certain skill. If done right, it can increase motivation and efficiency, and have you progress must faster than if you just did random bits of study. So why is it that goal setting, remains one of the most underused tools in our arsenal?   why...
Learn 1500 Chinese Characters in 3 months?

Learn 1500 Chinese Characters in 3 months?

Is it possible to learn 1500 Chinese characters in 3 months? The simple answer is yes. However, the sheer thought alone of having to learn thousands of characters is enough to scare most learners away from even attempting Chinese in the first place. Images come up of writing out a bunch of unconnected drawings and squiggles hundreds of times to no avail, constantly...
Two weeks without English?!?! Chinese immersion project in Hong Kong

Two weeks without English?!?! Chinese immersion project in Hong Kong

This summer I will be going to Hong Kong for two weeks and giving up my own Native language (English). Hey, my name is Luke Truman and for the past 9 months I have been learning Cantonese. I have been avoiding characters completely to focus all of my attention towards speaking. However, I am reaching a point where it is becoming increasingly obvious that to progress...