38. Tips to learn Chinese (学习中文方法建议)

To overhear people and learn characters/new words Pleco: https://www.pleco.com/

It really hurts that there is no online Pleco, you have to go back and forth from cell phone to computer, is there anything as good online?

Maybe some day something will be extracted from: https://github.com/skishore/makemeahanzi which jas a huge JSON of character data.

When you want to learn "how to say something in Chinese", the only valid routes are:

  • does it have a Wikipedia page? Go on the English one then change language

  • put an English sentence on Google Translate, then Google for it.

    If it is a common word, it will give useless dictionary results, so search instead with site:bbc.com or site:zhihu.com.

    Then find a sentence that contains the word written by a native Chinese, and understand the full sentence to confirm that it means what you want it to mean in a similar context.

    Just using the Google translate directly will lead 70% to a weird/wrong/incomprehensible translation that no Chinese person would ever say.

Good Chinese content to consume to learn:

  • 几分钟看完: illegal 10 minute summaries of movies with clips from the movies and a narrator speaking quickly instead of movie sounds.

    Some have Chinese subtitles, e.g.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFSMvtS6SYQ and it is great content to learn from, because it is someone telling a not too boring story in a natural and clear way, with supporting images to help with context.