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Looking for memory methods to improve speaking and listening



in the last two YouTube-Videos on FionaTian’s channel:

I enjoyed the approach. But you guys are mainly focussing on learning the characters. But I’m still at the very beginning of my Chinese-learning phase and I wanted to first understand the spoken language. More something like the Pimsleur approach without driving nails into your head by following the nasty commands.

The given hints are great, but not if you come from the opposite direction. I have two problems (without characters):

  1. I hear a word in chinese and I do not remember the English meaning.
  2. I wanted to express sth in Chinese, have the English word searching the Chinese.

None of these are covered by the regular memory-palace approach, because they concentrate on characters.

Do you have any idea, any way, how one can use memory methods for these two situations?


Chinese is not one language but two languages, one written language plus one spoken language.You can read and write chinese with a good level and at the same time have a lot of dificulties to speak or to understand spoken chinese.

Of course we need to master those two languages, but are there differents methods to learn spoken chinese and written chinese? Obviously yes, the fact is that most of teaching materials are oriented written approach, even the spoken chinese is written in pinyin.

The two videos explain how to memorize ideas or things, but to learn to speak you have to memorize sounds (and tones omg!).

So to memorize sounds you have first to listen to as much as possible spoken chinese ( look at videos, chinesepod, tv shows …) and then try to reuse the expresssions or words you have heard.

Written language as an asset which spoken language does not have, if there is a word you do not know you can look for it in a dictionary. With spoken language you cannot solve the problem by yourself you need another person (teacher, friend) to help you.Therefore video with chinese subtittle are very useful. But to learn to speak you need as quickly as possible to keep off the written material. A good way is to participate to conversation group and not only to standard lesson with texts and vocabulary list.

Another tip is to learn by heart a text. You listen to a record of a text read by a native chinese.Break it in small parts ( of 10 seconds) and repeat each part several times. You learn by heart your text and then recite it to your teacher (or friend) and ask him to correct your pronounciation.

My personal view is that you do not have to translate from english to chinese or vice versa, but only to stay in the chinese world.Do not use words alone, build sentences. If you forget a word do not give the english word but try to find a synonymous or a circumlocution.(If you have forgotten how to say 我的叔叔 say 我父亲的弟弟.)

Learning to speak chinese need a lot of practice and take time, do not lose heart.