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Please help me get beyond ordering some beers =)


I am a complete beginner based in Belgium and excited to learn some Chinese now. I went to China 3 years ago and was very impressed with the culture and language, but never took the time to study Chinese beyond:

… So as you see, basic survival Mandarin !:tangerine:

I hope I’ll get some motivation here learning in a forum /with some real people rather than books so if anyone has some beginner tips I’m glad about any help.

Cheers from cold Belgium !:beers:

Hey, Niels, I think for the beginner, you may start from watching some dialogues on ChinesePod. :slight_smile: This is what I did at the beginning and it did work for me. Now I tend to watch some Chinese movie without looking at the English subtitles. :slight_smile:

Hi Niels, I totally agree with “957189120” said. I have studied Chinese for 5 years with Chinesepod, studied from newbie, step by step, now I am advanced level. I will give you my Chinese learning expeirence, first I learned Chinese “pin yin and tones” , that is the first step, also very very important, so choose a good teacher is important part, the teachers from Chinesepod is really good, they are native Chinese. second, tried to practice more syllable combination followed with the teacher, then you can say more and more vocabularies,that is the step one. step two , after you know more vacabularies, then you can learn the short sentences and Chinese grammar structures, too. after you did these, you will find Chinese is not difficult to learn, hope these can help you, good luck to you!

Dear Niels.

Welcome to ChinesePod and happy learning!

I think the tips given here are a good start for you and trying out some strategies of fellow students who have experience in learning Chinese is certainly a great way to get into it if you are unsure about where to start.

From a ChinesePod standpoint, I can give you a few lesson suggestions (I linked them):

  • ATWTI: an excellent intro into the Chinese language that will teach you a good mix of vocabulary, beginners grammar/sentence structure and a bit of background info

  • Pinyin Program: The Pinyin system is essential for learning Chinese and is a bit like learning how to read music notes - once you know it it’ll be second nature. Basically it’s a Romanization system for Chinese sounds so you know how to read and pronounce everything.

  • Say it right series: Once you know Pinyin, this series will help you refine your pronunciation to perfection.

  • 66 Enjoyable Characters with Joy: a fun way to get into Chinese Characters, especially if you want to learn traditional Characters.

  • HSK test prep: a series with simplified characters that prepares you for the HSK 1 test, but is also a fully explained series which takes into account speaking, listening, reading and writing

To supplement your learning and also to get a bit of variety you can choose from our Newbie level lessons (nearly 500 in total). We have lessons on all kinds of topics that do not follow any strict curriculum so you can just browse and study whatever interests you.

When you finish a lesson you can mark it “Studied” so you can see your progress. We recommend completing 50 Newbie lessons to give you a solid foundation, after which you can start with Elementary. I personally recommend staying with some Newbie lessons after you hit the 50, and trying a few Elementary lessons to see how well you can follow, and mix it up a bit before you’re fully comfortable with Elementary.

I hope we were all able to help you and that you will feel motivated to jump right in. Chinese is a wonderful language and you will see so many fun things along the way.

Hope to hear from you again!


Hello everyone!

Thanks for the warm welcome and all the tips - I already started on the Pinyin series and am looking forward to checking out all the different series everyone suggested. Studying vocabulary is really hard for me, so I will probably write some flashcards or something like that.

Gonna keep you guys updates on the progress.


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