Hacking Chinese

A better way of learning Mandarin

Learning Chinese as a beginner

Situation: You have just started learning Chinese or plan to do so soon. You’re still getting acquainted with characters, tones and other peculiarities of the Chinese language. You want guidance and help regarding the basics.

Goal: To be able to understand spoken phrases, high-frequency words and short, simple texts related to areas of immediate personal relevance, such as family, shopping or work. To be able to use simple sentences to communicate about family, living conditions, education and work in familiar situations.

Range: From zero beginner to elementary level. CEFR A0-A2. ACTFL up to Intermediate Mid. Self-evaluate your Chinese ability here.

Back-to-school course discount: Until the end of the month (midnight, August 31st, pacific time), get $10 off Unlocking Chinese: The Ultimate Course for Beginners. Simply use the promo code “kai1xue2” at checkout!

Tune in to the Hacking Chinese Podcast to listen to the related episode:

Available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, Overcast, Spotify, YouTube and many other platforms!

I have taught many introduction courses in Chinese, but I still remember what it was like to set out on this incredible journey myself in 2007. Since then, I’ve spent a great deal of time and effort to figure out how to best help beginners get off to a good start.

Chinese beginner: The most popular articles

If you want to know what everybody else finds useful, start with these articles:

50 beginner questions about learning Chinese

Below, I will answer the most common questions beginners have about learning Chinese. For each question, I provide a short and direct answer whenever possible, as well as links to further information.

For each question, I provide a short and direct answer whenever possible, as well as links to further information. Click on the question to see the answer. You can expand all questions (great if you want to search among all answers) and you can also collapse all questions. You can also expand each category below by clicking on it.

If you have a question not already covered here, you’re welcome to leave a comment and I will consider including it here!

1. Questions about learning Chinese as an adult

2. Courses, textbooks, teachers and guidance

3. Speaking, listening and conversing

4. Mandarin tones and pronunciation

5. Reading, writing and communicating in text

6. Chinese characters, words and grammar

I hope you found this Q&A useful! If you want to receive weekly updates from me with tips and tricks for learning Chinese, please sign up for the newsletter below. It also contains a crash course in how to learn Mandarin, with a broader scope than the questions above. Good luck with your studies!

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All articles in this category

Here’s a list of all articles tagged as “beginner”: