What's the Best Way to Improve Your Spoken Chinese

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Listen and Answer is the best way to improve your spoken Chinese


Every student is familiar with the "Listen and Repeat" method. It is the traditional method of teaching others how to speak Chinese. In a school setting a teacher states a sentence or phrase in Chinese and the students simply repeat what was said. I refer to this as "robot Chinese." Students also do this with home learning systems. They purchase recordings and listen. Then they repeat exactly what the voice utters : More "robot Chinese."


Listening to Chinese is great, but employing Listen and Repeat is the WRONG way to proceed. Listen and Repeat limits the understanding of Chinese at only a very basic level. You don't even need to understand Chinese to participate. You just copy the speaker like a robot. There are several problems with this method :


1. It is passive and you don't really think. You don't use and understanding. Instead it's just a repetitive, machine-like action.


2. It isn't natural. You won't ever use this in a real life conversation. Ever.


3. It is rather boring. Because you're not actively engaging your mind, you're become disengaged with rote repetition.

As I've already mentioned, I believe that listening is an important activity in the process of learning Chinese, but a better method is required.


I call this method "Listen and ANSWER." This means that a question is asked and you respond to what was said with an appropriate phrase. The answer to the question asked. This method approximates conversation more accurately.


For example, a speaker may say, "What is your name?" and you answer, "My name is ____." This may seem like a minute difference but it creates a more realistic communication style. It is a VERY important difference.


To answer correctly, an understanding of the question is required. Thinking of an appropriate answer requires a deeper level of learning how to speak Chinese. This is active listening at it's best.


This method feels more natural. Real conversations proceed exactly in this manner. A person asks you a question and you must understand it and quickly answer.


Listen and ANSWER is much more interesting. It challenges and keeps boredom away because you're constantly accessing your memory of previous lessons. This process becomes more efficient as you proceed further.

When you use the old method, real conversations sound strange and awkward. When you employ Listen and ANSWER you are prepared.


Super Easy Chinese Lesson sets include many Listen and Answer Mini_Stories. Your Chinese improves quickly with this method. The questions are usually very easy, but by answering them, you teach yourself to use Chinese quickly.



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Mr Wang is the Founder and Editorial Director at Super Easy Chinsee Ssytem. You can also find his on Google+ and.

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