How I Learned to Speak Mandarin in 6 Months

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This isn’t a post about how great I am at languages. I’m not like some jerk on the internet claiming to achieve fluency in three months.

This is a post about the blood, sweat and tears I spent to learn Chinese.

I never thought I would learn how to speak Chinese: The tones, the characters, and the proverbs were frustrating.  The task of learning Mandarin was daunting and overwhelming–and honestly, there were many moments I thought I was just not meant to learn this language.

Yet somehow, I did it.  I learned Chinese in less than a year. read more

Overcome the Language Plateau

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We all hit it.  That point in our lives where the fast growth suddenly comes to a halt and we run right smack into a wall with no exit.  We just can’t seem to escape and find a way to start moving forward again.  You feel trapped, you feel helpless, and no matter what you do you still see yourself at the same place you were a mere few months ago.

I’m not talking about a mid-life crisis.  I’m talking about learning Japanese and Chinese.

There’s always a point in language learning where you feel comfortable, but you’re not feeling the growth.  You find yourself studying, pushing yourself to the brink in trying to chat up the locals, memorizing your flashcards–but the amount you’re learning and the rate at which your language ability is maturing is far slower than when you first started.  I think all languages learners, whether it be French or Spanish, encounter the dreaded language plateau and feel stuck. How can I get better ? What can I do to improve my language studies? read more