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How to Start Thinking in Chinese

Learn 4 tools and techniques to stop translating in your head and start thinking in Chinese

Going through Chinese lessons is enough to get by and learn the basics of Chinese, but to truly become fluent you need to be able to think in Chinese. This will allow you to have conversations with ease, read smoothly, and comprehensively understand natives. To do this, you need to go beyond just completing daily or weekly lessons.

We naturally translate in our heads because it’s viewed as the easiest way to learn the definitions needed when learning a language. This way of learning can actually hinder your skills and fluency later on. If your brain has to make neural connections between the word you’re learning, what it means in your native tongue, and the physical object the connection will not be nearly as strong. When you bypass the original translation between Chinese and your native language then there is a more basic and strong connection between just the Chinese vocabulary word and the tangible object.

start thinking in Chinese

In this blog post, you will learn the 4 important techniques to easily and naturally begin to speculate about the daily occurrences in your life. The best part is all of these techniques are supported and can be achieved through ChineseClass101.com.

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1. Surround yourself with Chinese

Surround Yourself

By surrounding yourself with Chinese constantly you will completely immerse yourself in the language. Without realizing it you’ll be learning pronunciation, sentence structures, grammar, and new vocabulary. You can play music in the background while you’re cooking or have a Chinese radio station on while you study. Immersion is a key factor with this learning process because it is one of the easiest things to do, but very effective. Even if you are not giving the program your full attention you will be learning.

One great feature of ChineseClass101.com is the endless podcasts that are available to you. You can even download and listen to them on the go. These podcasts are interesting and are perfect for the intention of immersion, they are easy to listen to as background noise and are interesting enough to give your full attention. Many of them contain stories that you follow as you go through the lessons which push you to keep going.

2. Learn through observation
learn through observation

Learning through observation is the most natural way to learn. Observation is how we all learned our native languages as infants and it’s a wonder why we stop learning this way. If you have patience and learn through observation then Chinese words will have their own meanings rather than meanings in reference to your native language. Ideally, you should skip the bilingual dictionary and just buy a dictionary in Chinese.

ChineseClass101.com also offers the materials to learn this way. We have numerous video lessons which present situational usage of each word or phrase instead of just a direct translation. This holds true for many of our videos and how we teach Chinese.

3. Speak out loud to yourself
talk to yourself

Speaking to yourself in Chinese not only gets you in the mindset of Chinese, but also makes you listen to how you speak. It forces you to correct any errors with pronunciation and makes it easy to spot grammar mistakes. When you speak out loud talk about what you did that day and what you plan to do the next day. Your goal is to be the most comfortable speaking out loud and to easily create sentences. Once you feel comfortable talking to yourself start consciously thinking in your head about your daily activities and what is going on around you throughout the day.

With ChineseClass101.com you start speaking right away, not only this, but they have you repeat words and conversations after a native Chinese speaker. This makes your pronunciation very accurate! With this help, you are on the fast path to making clear and complex sentences and then actively thinking about your day.

4. Practice daily

If you don’t practice daily then your progress will be greatly slowed. Many people are tempted to take the 20-30 minutes they should be practicing a day and practice 120 in one day and skip the other days. This isn’t nearly as effective because everyday you practice you are reinforcing the skills and knowledge you have learned. If you practice all in one day you don’t retain the information because the brain can realistically only focus for 30 minutes at most. If you’re studying for 120 minutes on the same subject little of the information will be absorbed. Studying everyday allows you to review material that you went over previous days and absorb a small amount of information at a time.

It’s tough to find motivation to study everyday, but ChineseClass101.com can help. It’s easy to stay motivated with ChineseClass101.com because we give you a set learning path, with this path we show how much progress you’ve made. This makes you stick to your goals and keep going!

Conclusion

Following the steps and having patience is the hardest part to achieving your goals, it’s not easy learning a new language. You are essentially teaching your brain to categorize the world in a completely new way. Stick with it and you can do it just remember the 4 tools I taught you today! With them, conversations, reading, and understanding will become much easier. The most important thing to remember is to use the tools that ChineseClass101.com provides and you will be on your way to being fluent!

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4 Reasons Why Chinese Slang Words Will Make You Fluent

Learn 4 honest reasons you need Chinese slang words and why they are so vital to truly learning and mastering the language.

Teachers may normally cringe at the thought of their students learning Chinese slang words. After all, slang words and phrases are typically defined as being grammatically incorrect. So why would your teacher want you to spend time learning the “wrong way” to speak Chinese? Here are 4 of the top reasons why you should study slang words and expressions when learning Chinese or any new language.

reasons to learn chinese slang words

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1. Native Speakers Use Slang Expressions in Everyday Conversation

If you are going to study a foreign language and plan to use it to speak with native speakers, then you have to learn slang words and expressions. Otherwise, just using formal expressions and grammar may alienate you from native speakers and make it more difficult to establish a real connection. So it is best to at least learn some common slang words and expressions if you’re planning to meet or speak socially with someone.

2. Slang Words Are Used All Throughout Chinese Culture

If you turn on any popular Chinese TV show, listen to any song, or watch any movie, you are quickly going to see the value of learning Chinese slang phrases. Just like everyday conversations between native speakers, Chinese culture is filled with slang phrases and expressions. Without at least some knowledge of the more common slang phrases, popular culture and most conversations will be very confusing and potentially alienating.

Want to Amaze Native Speaker? Be a Good Lover? Our Vocabulary Lists are Made for You!

3. Slang Expressions Help You Better Express Your True Thoughts and Feelings

Only relying on formal grammar and vocabulary is very limiting, especially in social situations. Just like in your native language, using the appropriate Chinese slang words can help you express a broader range of emotions, thoughts, and feelings.

4. Proper Use of Slang Makes You Sound More Natural

We’ve all met foreigners who technically used formal language perfectly but still sounded odd and well….foreign. But when you use the right slang words and expressions, you will sound more natural and like a true native speaker. If you notice, even most politicians include a sprinkling of slang expressions and words throughout their speeches to help them sound more natural and to better connect with the audience.

The Dark Side of Slang Expressions

Learning Chinese slang words can indeed help you sound more natural, better understand the people and culture, and make integration much easier. However, there is a dark side: using the wrong slang expressions can also make you look foolish, uneducated, and potentially disrespectful.

But how do you know which slang words or phrases to use and when?

The truth is that you can’t learn the most modern and appropriate slang words in textbooks or formal classroom settings. By the time the information gets incorporated into a formal curriculum, it’s already outdated and no longer in use by actual Chinese people. And while you can learn current slang expressions from Chinese TV shows, movies, songs, and games, you may not understand the context. If that happens, you may use the right Chinese slang words but in the wrong situation and still look like a fool or possibly even offend someone.

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So where can you learn current slang expressions and the right context in which to use them?

At ChineseClass101, native speaking instructors create audio and video lessons that can include slang expressions and words. Our instructors provide context and examples for all the Chinese slang words used in any lesson to make sure students understand the right time and place to use them.

Chinese slang words and expressions may be grammatically incorrect but they are vital to truly understanding and immersing yourself in the culture. In fact, it will be very difficult to fully understand any movie, TV show, song, game, or even 1-on-1 conversation without knowing a few of the more common slang expressions.

However, it is important to learn the proper context and use of even popular slang expressions or you may come across as confusing, disrespectful, or uneducated.
At ChineseClass101, you’ll learn how to use slang phrases and words to draw the right attention and avoid these problems.

Don’t forget to sign up for a Free Lifetime Account on ChineseClass101.com to access tons of FREE lessons and features to become fluent in Chinese!

Top 20 Chinese Words and Phrases you need to survive the Apocalypse

Zombies are coming, and they speak Chinese! Do you have what it takes to survive? No?
How lucky you are, we have exactly what you need. Here is the Top 20 Words and Phrases you need to survive this Apocalypse!

top Chinese words and phrases to survive zombies apocalypse

Click here to listen how to pronounce those phrases!

感染 (n)
gǎnrǎn
infection

恐怖的 (adj)
kǒngbù de
scary

骷髅 (n)
kūlóu
skull

坟墓 (n)
fénmù
grave

你最喜欢的僵尸电影是什么?
Nǐ zuì xǐhuān de jiāngshī diànyǐng shì shénme?
What’s your favorite zombie movie?

https://media.giphy.com/media/kfztfA622HDGM/giphy.gif

Click here to access this lesson for free!

启示录 (n)
qǐ shì lù
apocalypse

从坟墓中复活.
Cóng fénmù zhōng fùhuó
rise from the grave

僵尸!快跑
Jiāngshī! Kuài pǎo!
Zombies! Run!

如果有僵尸攻击,你会去哪里?
Rúguǒ yǒu jiāngshī gōng jī, nǐ huì qù nǎlǐ?
If there was a zombie attack, where would you go?

超自然的 (adj)
chāo zìrán de
supernatural

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食品供应 (n)
shípǐn gōngyìng
food supply

行尸走肉
xíng shī zǒu ròu
walking dead

鸡皮疙瘩(n)
jīpí gēda
goose bumps

想像 (n)
xiǎng xiàng
imagination

流行文化 (n)
liúxíng wénhuà
pop culture

https://media.giphy.com/media/3o85xHe5CUfiRi0d5m/giphy.gif

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민물 (n)
fresh water

遗体 (n)
corpse

令人毛骨悚然的 (adj)
lìng rén máogǔsǒngrán de
gruesome

隐藏 (v)
yǐn cáng
hide

墓地 (n)
mù dì
graveyard

Want to amaze zombies? Become their friends? Learn Chinese with our vocabulary lists!

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How to Learn Chinese in Your Car?

How to Learn Chinese in Your Car? Learn language in car

Stuck in traffic? Losing time in your car? Have you ever felt that in all this wasted time, you could have watched the 750 episodes of One Piece, finished the last Super Mario ten times, or even better…you could have learned Chinese? Between family, friends and work, in addition to this time-consuming commute, it can become difficult to find time to properly learn Chinese.

Fortunately, every problem has a solution, and what could be a better solution than turning that commute time into learning time? Stop passing the time mindlessly listening to the radio and try some of our best tips for mastering Chinese in your car!

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Click Here To Start Learning Chinese Right Now!

You can learn Chinese in your car, hands free
While driving, it’s important that you keep your focus on the road, so this is why our top tips won’t require you to use your hands!

Listening to Chinese audio content in the car is a good way to learn
This is because it is a fun and efficient way to learn. With ChineseClass101.com podcasts, you will be able to discover Chinese culture through topics about everyday life. Instead of the radio, listen to a Chinese podcast adapted to your level, from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, and you will make progress sooner that you would expect!

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You can listen to Chinese music in the car
Did you know that you can learn Chinese by singing while driving? Listen to songs from cartoon or drama and try to identify some words you learned.

Challenge yourself! Use the Chinese you’ve studied up to this point and see how much you understand! Making the jump to real-life Chinese is a scary one, but friendly children’s songs are a great place to start!

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You can learn alone in your car
When you’re driving alone, you can be as loud as you want – there is nothing better for remembering your Chinese lessons than repeating loudly, again and again. Next time you see a driver who seems to be talking alone, you will know he or she is just learning Chinese!

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You can learn through repetition with your passengers
If there are passengers in the car, it can be more stimulating to learn together. You can set a role play with Chinese dialogues. With ChineseClass101.com, you can download all the lessons transcript including the dialogues, as a PDF. Print it out and have some fun speaking in Chinese!

One of the passengers can answer the quiz available on each of our lessons, while another can correct that person. Listening to someone at a more advanced level of Chinese or a better accent is positive and helps you improve.

You can learn Chinese offline
Do you have a poor connection or are unable to use the Internet? It’s not a problem for learning Chinese! Before you start your commute, use our App to download the lessons you want to study and the podcast you want to listen to in your car, and you will be able to enjoy your lessons offline. Entering a tunnel won’t be a problem anymore. What a pleasure to listen to audio content without having the host freezing every 5 seconds!

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Click here to download the App and learn offline!

You can learn every day at your own pace
One of the best approaches for learning a language is little by little and often. It’s not efficient to take in a huge amount of information at one time. What you need is to study on a regular basis – a little bit of Chinese every day. You commute several days a week, and that is all time you can take advantage of!

You have the freedom to choose the lessons and podcasts you want to focus on, at your own rhythm. You may want to do a little revision or discover how to talk about a new topic. And if you’re wondering what to learn next, you can use the new Learning Paths, which is our customized pathway feature that gives you a step-by-step way to learn Chinese without getting lost!

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Click here to access Learning Paths at ChineseClass101!

If you don’t have a car and commute by another method, these tips are still valid! Learning Chinese is no longer limited to the classroom or your house; there are so many benefits to learning in your car or elsewhere. Reaching a conversational level will take you less time than you could ever have imagined! Don’t forget to sign up for your Free Lifetime Account and enjoy our content!

Top 10 Lines You Need for Introducing Yourself in Chinese

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Click here to listen how to pronounce those phrases!

  • 我的名字是廉。
    Wǒ de míngzi shì Lián.
    My name is Lian.

  • 我来自中国。
    Wǒ láizì Zhōngguó.
    I’m from China.

  • 我住在北京。
    Wǒ zhù zài Běijīng.
    I live in Beijing.

  • 我学习中文已经1年了。
    Wǒ xuéxí Zhōngwén yǐjīng yī nián le.
    I’ve been learning Chinese for a year.

  • 我在ChineseClass101.com网站学习中文。
    Wǒ zài ChineseClass101.com wǎngzhàn xuéxí Zhōngwén.
    I’m learning Chinese at ChineseClass101.com.

  • 您好,很高兴见到您。
    Nínhǎo , hěn gāoxìng jiàn dào nín.
    Hello, it’s nice to meet you.

  • 我27岁。
    Wǒ èrshíqī suì.
    I’m 27 years old.

  • 我是一名教师。
    Wǒ shì yī míng jiàoshī.
    I’m a teacher.

  • 读书是我的爱好之一。
    dúshū shì wǒde àihào zhīyī.
    One of my hobbies is reading.

  • 我喜欢听音乐。
    Wǒ xǐhuān tīng yīnyuè.
    I enjoy listening to music.

    Make friends? Want to impress native speakers?
    Learn Chinese with our other vocabulary lists!

  • 10 Monthly Goals to become fluent in Chinese

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    Hey Chinese Learner!

    Shortcuts for learning and tips to remember Chinese words are useful but it’s even also important to fix objectives to reach every month! What Is Your Language Learning Goal for the Month?
    In your journey to become fluent and conversational here are 10 monthly goals you can go after!

    Click Here To Start Learning Chinese Right Now!

    1) I’ll finish Survival Phrases series on ChineseClass101.com by listening to two lesson a day.

    2) I’ll give a 3 minute introductory speech in Chinese to my Chinese friends.

    3) I’ll finish reading one Chinese book by reading 10 pages a day.

    4) I’ll pass my Chinese test.

    5) I’ll write 10 postcards in Chinese to my Chinese friends.

    6) I’ll memorize 5 Chinese songs.

    7) I’ll finish memorizing 350 words with Flashcards on ChineseClass101.com.

    8 ) I’ll fully understand one Chinese movie by watching it every day.

    9) I’ll learn how to talk about past, present and future events.

    10) I’ll master 150 words by memorizing 5 words a day.

    No money, no credit card required, just you and the ton of lessons!

    If you follow those monthly goals, you will be sure to make some amazing progress. And remember, if you’re really interested in getting on the fast-track to fluency, sign up for a FREE lifetime account at ChineseClass101.com!

    How to be a Good Lover in China

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    Click here to listen how to pronounce those lovely words!

    我爱你。
    Wǒ ài nǐ.
    I love you.

    你真漂亮。
    Nǐ zhēn piàoliang.
    You’re so beautiful.

    你好帅。
    Nǐ hǎo shuài .
    You’re so handsome.

    我喜欢你。
    Wǒ xǐhuān nǐ .
    I’ve got a crush on you.

    你让我想变得更好。
    Nǐ ràng wǒ xiǎng biàn de gènghǎo .
    You make me want to be a better man.

    让所有你做的事都充满爱。
    Ràng suǒyǒu nǐ zuò de shì dōu chōngmǎn ài .
    Let all that you do be done in love.

    你是我的阳光,我的爱。
    Nǐ shì wǒ de yángguāng, wǒ de ài.
    You are my sunshine, my love.

    无法用言语来形容我对你的爱。
    Wúfǎ yòng yányǔ lái xíngróng wǒ duì nǐ de ài.
    Words can’t describe my love for you.

    我们是命中注定要在一起。
    Wǒmen shì mìngzhōng zhùdìng yào zài yìqǐ .
    We were meant to be together.

    如果你读这篇文章时想着某个人,你一定是恋爱了。
    Rúguǒ nǐ dú zhè piān wénzhāng shí xiǎngzhe mǒu gèrén , nǐ yídìng shì liànài le .
    If you were thinking about someone while reading this, you’re definitely in love.

    你愿意与我共度情人节吗?
    Nǐ yuànyì yǔ wǒ gòngdù Qíngrénjié ma ?
    Will you be my Valentine?

    爱情就是爱情,常理无法解释。
    Àiqíng jiù shì àiqíng , chánglǐ wúfǎ jiěshì .
    Love is just love. It can never be explained.

    你对我而言如此重要。
    Nǐ duì wǒ éryán rúcǐ zhòngyào .
    You mean so much to me.

    我认为你不仅仅只是一个朋友。
    Wǒ rènwéi nǐ bù jǐnjǐn zhǐ shì yí gè péngyǒu.
    I think of you as more than a friend.

    一百颗心也不足以承载我对你的爱。
    Yìbǎi kē xīn yě bù zúyǐ chéngzài wǒ duì nǐ de ài .
    A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you.

    Break up? Want to impress friends? Learn Chinese with our other vocabulary lists!

    Mini Chinese Lesson: Titles for People

    Learn Chinese with ChineseClass101!

    In this mini lesson, we teach you some  ‘titles’ you will frequently come across in Chinese.

    Some titles are used for family members.  The reference point for those older or younger is oneself.  Other titles are used for people with certain positions or occupations.  Others are more like terms of endearment.  This week we started with family members:

    • In the family:  ‘lil bro:  弟弟  (dìdi) – younger brother
    • In the family:  big bro:  哥哥  (gēge) – older brother
    • In the family:   big sis:  姐姐  (jiějie) – older sister
    • In the family:  ‘lil sis:  妹妹(mèimei) – younger sister
    • In the family:  mommy dearest:  妈妈 (māma) - mom
    • In the family:  dad knows best:  爸爸 (bàba) - dad
    • In the family:  not kissing cousins:  表哥(biǎogē) – older male cousin

    Want to learn even more Chinese?
    Click here to visit ChineseClass101!

    Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid for Chinese Learners

    Hey everyone today we are going to show some common mistakes that Chinese learners make so that you guys know what to look out for!

    Common Error #1:
    Incorrect word order when forming questions:
    English speakers tend to use English word order when forming questions with question words. In English, the question word comes at the beginning of the sentence. In Chinese the question word comes at the end of the sentence.

    Common Error #2:
    Making verbs past tense:
    getting the particles 了 and 过 mixed up. Put in a simple way, 了 is used for a completed action. 过 is used to indicate previous experience.

    Common Error #3:
    Negating verbs:
    Getting the 不 and the 没 mixed up. Put in a simple way, the 不 is used to negate action verbs in present, future, or when speaking about habitual actions. 没 is used when the action either did not happen, or isn’t complete yet.

    Common Error #4:
    In an attempt to be polite, using too many words:
    A lot of Chinese learners, in an attempt to translate what is polite in their own language end up adding too many words to their sentences, confusing the people that are listening. One tip we have is to Listen to how a Chinese person who is learning English tends to speak and try to follow that pattern in Chinese.

    Common Error #5:
    Being so afraid about having a standard accent or the correct tones:
    Some beginners are too afraid to speak because they are afraid of making mistakes, but the best way to fix this is by practicing! Chinese is a hard language so don’t be afraid to make mistakes! You will improve!

    We would love to hear your stories and any other mistakes that you guys think are common for students of Chinese! Feel free to leave us a comment and share!

    Top 5 Tools for Learning Chinese

    Today we are going to give you our top 5 recomended tools to help you with mastering Chinese.
    1.ABC Dictionary by John DeFrancis

    This is a great pinyin dictionary with great definitions and easy lookup system

    2. Adsotrans

    This is a really good online super-dictionary, found at www.adsotrans.com. Just paste in any Chinese text and let Adso analyze it. Mouse over the results to see what the words mean in English, and how to pronounce them. There are numerous other features that come with this dictionary as well. Check it out!

    3. Chinese Pera-kun

    A firefox plug-in that lets you get translation for Chinese text by putting your mouse over the word.
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3349

    4. Flashcards

    Try our flashcards on the site, chineseclass101.com. Simply add words from any of our lessons to your word bank, then go to the flashcards tab and they will be automatically populated for you.

    5. Google’s Character Writing Software

    Use pinyin to input Chinese characters. Google’s intuitive software will predict what words you want to use, and will allow you to string along sentences.
    http://www.google.com/ime/pinyin/

    6. Pinyin Chart

    Come to www.chineseclass101.com and use our pinyin chart with audio for each of the sounds of Chinese to familiarize yourself with the pronunciation of pinyin as well as to perfect you own pronunciation.

    Ok, I know we said top 5, but we thought all 6 of these products were so good we would include them all! If you guys have anymore ideas please leave a comment and let us know!