How I study Chinese

This post is to summarise how I have been conducting my self-study in Chinese language. It's been about 2 years of off and on...some months I am more regular, and some more lazy. It seems I have reached HSK 2 more or less.

Here is a list of what's worked for me the best:

Rosetta Stone -

I started out with Rosetta stone, switching between the pinyin and the character modes...learning some basic vocab, and getting a feel for the rhythm of sentences, and learning to parse the sounds. This quickly became difficult after level 2. I realised that although I could select the right image, I was not clear on what the grammar of the sentence was exactly. I still use Rosetta Stone for a change of pace from the other methods.

Skritter -

This was excellent, and I paid for 3 or 4 months. I accumulated a list of a thousand characters or so, and even after stopping my subscription, I am able to return to my Skritter account and practice writing the words from my list. I bought a WACOM tablet to work with Skritter from my desktop, and used the mobile version of the site on my phone. It helped to establish stroke order and the various rules for writing characters.

Memrise -

This was a great free resource that solidified my vocab through HSK 2. I am now working on HSK 3. The constant spaced repetition is really key. Some decks are better made than others, but I found HSK 1-3 very well done. The memory aids are also helpful and informaative.

Pleco -

This app is the best. It was a life saver the first time I traveled to China (before starting my language studies). The OCR add on...even the free really useful. Also the ability to ask a local to write the character freehand was useful. Now I have accumulated a few flashcards on Pleco from my interactions during travel, and made a few special decks for topics of personal interest, such as my acupoint chinese name decks.

Zhongwen -

This is a free android app that drills HSK level vocab without much repetition, but it includes sample phrases for each word that are read outloud. This really helps me to push my comprehension, and review basic characters constantly. I often alternate between reveiwing vocab between this app and memrise.

Fluentu -

I just discovered Fluentu through the /r/chinese language subreddit. It appears to be an interesting mix of spaced repetition and realworld comprehension. The more variety the better. I am using the free version now, but it looks like there is a premium version availiable.

Besides these online or mobile app resources, I have read through and begun doing the exercises in a great Chinese Language text book.

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