Study & Learn
Learning Mandarin

Chinese looks like one of the most complex languages to have been put into existence – but it really doesn't have to be. As a non-native, reaching complete fluency will take time, patience, passion and effort, so just have fun with it and see how far you can get! Categorised into the 4 different learning styles, My Bamboo Bridge provides ideas, extra resources and explanation on how to learn Chinese in a fun way – most useful for those with a foundation of Chinese Mandarin.

Getting started ... 

Make a realistic study plan, integrating listening, speaking, reading and writing

Think about your motivation for learning Chinese Mandarin and keep this in sight

Be patient with language learning; no one becomes fluent over night and it does take time 

VISUAL

Pictures

Books such as Chineasy transform complicated characters into illustrations and or infographics of East meets West offer cultural insight

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For daily doses of Chinese learning, check out the following Instagram accounts: Link word Chinese, Chinese Readers Guide, Simple ChineseMagic Chinese 

KINESTHETIC

Experience

Going to China itself whether to travel, work or study - befriend locals and understand cultural nuances

Activity

Get involved with clubs & communities in your local area, or find your nearest China Town and its authentic restaurants

READ / WRITE

Vocabulary

Quizlet is a great site for collating your own vocab flashcard folders 

Reading

Chinese Reading Practice has beginner, intermediate and advanced material - from recipes, to poems and essays.

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My Chinese Reading and The Chairmans Bao has a holistic range of reading resources and music

Writing

Simplified v. Traditional 

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Character stroke order 

AURAL

Listening

Chinese music isn't particularly known throughout the world, but learning song lyrics to some absolute bangers will serve you well in KTV. Search by your preferred genre of music.

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Attune your ear to Chinese by listening to the radio and making notes of new vocab - try China Whisper

Talking

Search Facebook groups with foreign language learners looking for speaking partners

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Try italki for online language partners

 

In terms of formalising your Chinese Mandarin language abilities, HSK is the official language examination of Chinese Mandarin competencies. HSK stands for 汉语水平考试 Han yu Shui ping Kao shi literally meaning “Chinese Level Test”. Consisting of writing, reading and listening, there are 6 levels (The HSKK covers speaking only, of which there are 3 levels) all outlined below. The links provided offer mock exams, vocab lists and a breakdown of the exam itself.

HSK Explained
 

HSK I 

You'll be able to use very simple Chinese phrases, meet basic needs for communication and possess the ability to further your Chinese language studies.

150 characters 

HSK II

You'll have an excellent grasp of basic Chinese and will be able to communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine day-to-day matters.

150 characters 

HSK III

You'll be able to communicate in Chinese at a basic level on daily, academic and professional matters. When travelling in China, communication should be easy.

300 characters 

HSK IV

You'll be able to converse in Chinese on a large range of topics and will be able to communicate fluently with native Chinese speakers

400 characters

HSK V

You'll be able to read Chinese newspapers and magazines, enjoy Chinese films and plays, and give a full-length speech in Chinese

1300 characters

HSK VI

You'll be able to easily comprehend written and spoken information in Chinese and effectively express yourself in Chinese, both orally and on paper

2500 characters

You are a China baby. Once you have the basics down, everything will start to get a lot easier

(promise) 

Make the mistakes a teenager would make (but with your language) - seize opportunities to explore, meet and create

You are a China adult 

You've done it - you're a 中国通 a "China hand"

See how others learn Chinese Mandarin

Popular TED talks on language learning