Study smarter, not harder
It can be hard to fit in a dedicated block of study time every day. However, experts agree that daily exposure is the best way to learn a language. This is why integrating Chinese learning into small tasks in your everyday life is essential for long term success. With these 5 simple Chinese learning hacks you’ll be learning Mandarin in no time without even thinking about it.
#1 Change your phone language setting to Chinese
The average person spends 3 to 4 hours on their phone ever day. With all this exposure to your mobile, switching your language settings over to Chinese will teach you important vocabulary terms like: settings, maps, messages, search, calendar, mail, etc. The switch is disconcerting at first, but do not give up. This will not impede you ability to use your phone – think about it, you already know the icons for all of the important apps that you use. Yes there will be growing pains, but every second that you spend thinking about how to navigate with the new language settings is a second devoted to studying Chinese. Every moment counts.
#2 Post-it note your life in Chinese
Hear me out. Language learning is all about encountering vocabulary in as many settings as possible. Instead of just seeing the term for sofa (沙发) in your flashcard deck, consider also seeing it on your actual sofa! By writing post it notes with vocabulary terms on them and placing around on items in your home you can exposure yourself to the terms in new settings and create visual associations with the words. With almost zero additional effort on your part you’ll review (potentially dozens) of terms as you move about your home.
I listen to ambient music when showering, working out, and on the go. By listening to Chinese language music I fit in extra hours of studying every single day. To be fair, this isn’t active study and I rarely to listen to lyrics, but every minute of exposure to Chinese counts. This will be a bounty for your listening and speaking skills. When singing, artists don’t use tones like they normally would while speaking, but there is so much more to the pronunciation of Mandarin that you’ll begin to pick up on while listening to their music. The difficult ü in 女? Listening to singers lament about their love interests will really help with this one – trust me.
If you watch TV to unwind during your free time, then consider watching a Chinese TV show to flex your language learning muscles during your downtime. Even if you cannot understand everything that is being said, listening with subtitles on will still increase your exposure to the language and improve your listening and speaking skills. Just listening to ambient spoken Chinese helps immensely with building learners listening/speaking foundation. For show recommendations, check out our top 4 Netflix Shows for Chinese language learners.
Anki is the ultimate trick to learning Chinese (or any language to be frank). The spaced repetition software uses the power of memory curves to test you on vocab terms at the optimal time intervals. To hear more about how Anki works and read our top tips on using the software check out our post here. We generally only recommend that learners download the free Anki software for their computer; however, if you are really looking to fit language learning into your daily routine, then downloading the $20 Anki app for you phone might be worth it. After you pay the one time fee, Anki is synced to your computer flashcards and your decks are at your hands to study whenever you want. This means you can study your vocabulary terms while riding the subway, sitting on the toilet, or between sets at the gym. This is the easiest way to sneak in active study time throughout the day.