Improve Chinese: Know the Key Elements

Building up vocabulary in a foreign language helps you get better at it fast—and Chinese is no exception. Rote learning or using a memorization technique is not the only way to learn new Chinese words; there are many other more interesting and equally effective ways.

This article will learn how to become a better Chinese speaker. Here are some of the important factors that will help you on your journey of learning Chinese. We’ve also included some tips to help you along the way. Use these tips to learn Chinese in Singapore or, for that matter, anywhere else.

How to improve Chinese vocabulary: Use Flashcards

Many students who join Mandarin classes in Singapore find it difficult to remember the correct stroke order of Chinese characters. Creating your own flashcards is known to be one of the effective ways to remember the details of what you’re learning.

It’s also best if these cards are made with images and not just written characters, as this will make them easier for beginners like yourself!

It would help to create a list of Chinese vocabulary words to make all those hard-to-read phrases more understandable. You can do this by using simple words or sentence structure within each phrase instead of expecting everyone who speaks English fluently to decipher every word without any difficulty whatsoever.

You can also ask a friend or a family member to help you with your flashcards. Even though they don’t have any history in teaching Chinese, they can at least give you simple reading speed tests using flashcards. Remember to pay attention to them while they assist you.

In case you absolutely have no time to make your own flashcards, buying them is the next best option. It is not as effective as making your own flashcards, but it’s better than nothing.

With the help of flashcards, you’ll be able to become familiar with the new language more quickly. However, don’t forget to add new flashcards to your collection every few days.

Read Loudly and Regularly

Reading your flashcards or Chinese reading materials out loud is a great way to improve your Chinese speaking skills. It’s something you can do in the privacy of your own home, without anyone around to judge you!

Spend some time reading aloud in front of a mirror or watching how native language speakers sound when they are reading. You will notice that their jaw is usually open and relaxed, their lips are curled upwards instead of down, and they end every phrase with an upward inflection. 

That means that no matter what words come after it—a question or statement—the speaker always sounds positive because of the end sound of the sentence.

Before you start with this exercise, pick something to read that interests you. A sports magazine will be a good option if you are into sports. Similarly, comic-books lovers will enjoy digging into Chinese comics. Read aloud and, if possible, record yourself and later listen to it from time to time. This will help you determine your mistakes and rectify them.


The thing about listening to Chinese is that you can do it anywhere, anytime. Therefore, always keep Chinese audio or Chinese songs and an audio player at hand. You can also practice listening to Chinese while doing other things. 

As a matter of fact, listening to Chinese songs or audio files can be done with any activity that doesn’t require you to listen, like walking, gardening, cooking, washing laundry, and many others.

Of course, at the very start, you might get distracted easily. But after some time, you’ll surely get the hang of things and will be able to combine other activities with listening to Chinese effectively.

Watching Chinese movies is another great way to improve your Chinese listening skills. However, make sure that you watch movies with Chinese subtitles or English subtitles. Watching one with Chinese voiceovers will not be of much help, especially if you are not yet familiar with all the words in the language.

Speak or Chat Online

When you chat online, you can do it with people from all over the world. And for this reason, you should take advantage of such a possibility and explore the vast online Chinese community as well as chat rooms specifically dedicated to learning Chinese. You can also try looking for language exchange partners to help you with your communication skills.

Social media sites like WeChat and Whatsapp also offer chat rooms where you can speak Chinese rather than type it out. These are great because they’ll help you improve your speed, especially if typing isn’t something that flows naturally to non-native speakers of a language.



Begin with a topic that interests you most. For example, if you love shopping, choose it as the topic. Write it as the main topic at the center of the paper (Preferably, use big sheets of paper for this exercise). 

Next, using related words as titles, add branches to your main topic (for instance, you can use a bag, credit card, money, shoes, etc., as titles for new branches).

When you come across a certain word that you would like to use but are not familiar with, pick a dictionary and look for that word. It is best to use the latest dictionary, which comes with phonetics. Using a vocabulary tree will help you build theme-based vocabulary lists which you can quickly review whenever you want.

Tips to overcome your learning plateau

Learning plateau is a phase that almost every Chinese learners reach at least once in their journey to fluency. At this stage, you might notice your progress has drastically slowed or halted, leading to your motivation running slow and making your current study regimen feel stale.

But rest assured, reaching this stage doesn’t mean that the Chinese language isn’t right for you. It’s just a natural phenomenon that occurs as you learn more about the language and reach an intermediate level of proficiency. Instead, use these three tips to overcome your Chinese learning plateau and help you get out of the learning rut.

Set Realistic Goals

Reaching a plateau in your Mandarin studies is a minor issue that needs to be addressed quickly. To effectively continue your Chinese learning progress, it’s recommended to reevaluate your goals in the long and short term.

Reminding yourself why you started learning Chinese in the first place will provide you with some much-needed motivation to get out of your current slump and allow you to set new and helpful short-term goals.

When coming up with fresh objectives, it’s best to base them on your present skill level and keep them realistic. Setting goals that are too difficult to achieve within a short period might do more harm than good.

As such, try to strike a balance between challenge and achievability; you’ll be quick to set short-term goals that can spell an end to your language learning plateau.

Choose topics of your interest.

There are many topics that might interest you, so if you have trouble coming up with one, try to think of some interesting things related to your main topic. For instance, if you are writing about riding a bike, your theme could be “my summer vacation” or “how I enjoyed my weekend.”

As an example, let’s say you’re writing about how much you enjoy biking–you can use the branch titles like “Bike routes in my city,” “My dream bike,” etc. These will help improve your Chinese writing skills and broaden your vocabulary words by focusing on themes that are relevant to your interests and experiences.

Change the pace and try new learning methods.

One of the possible reasons for your plateau is that your current language learning methods no longer seem interesting, challenging, or rewarding to you. If that’s the case, then it’s best to shake things up and switch gears to reinvigorate your Chinese learning spirit.

Dabbling into a more creative method to learn Chinese is a fun and excellent approach to make your Chinese language studies exciting again. However, no matter which approach you take, remind yourself that your main focus is to switch things up by trying something different.

Give it a go at writing short stories in Chinese, playing around with cultural idioms as well as expanding your Chinese vocabulary, or testing your pronunciation with tongue twisters – these are a couple of things you can try for good writing practice and at the same time, it will inject more fun into the learning process.

Look for more authentic material and study resources.

Typically, students will use beginner resources until they reach the plateau stage. Since these resources are usually simplified for beginners but are undoubtedly vital to understanding basic concepts and foundations, relying on them won’t do much to aid your advancement in the language.

To take your next step towards fluency, you’ll need to upgrade your resources and use more authentic material. Authentic material comes in various forms, and it can be difficult to find them if you don’t know what you’re looking for just yet.

Taking Chinese courses in Singapore is the most efficient way to get these materials since these courses offer you up-to-date instruction and relevant study resources. Add on the fact that you’ll be under the guidance of native Chinese instructors, and you’ll hardly find anything more authentic to boost your studies or even ace the HSK test in Singapore in the process.

In Conclusion

Noticing that your progress in learning Chinese has plateaued can certainly be disheartening at the start. Nonetheless, keep in mind that it’s only a phase, and with a bit of change to your study regiment, you’ll soon be back on track towards attaining complete Chinese proficiency!

You have to be fully dedicated and carve out some time to do your homework each day. This means you have to schedule a specific amount of time every school day or workday, depending on which is more convenient for you, and then stick to it. While the Chinese language can be intimidating to learn, having the right mindset and motivation can help you master your skills quickly.

Doing this also allows you to create a productive learning environment that makes it easier for you to stay motivated and focused until the end of each session. Not only will doing this help improve your Chinese characters and vocabulary but most importantly, it’ll help boost your confidence as well.

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