Is Xiao Li the Most Unusual Chinese Teacher Ever?

Xiao Li is, to say the least, unconventional in her approach to teaching Chinese. Her YouTube video lessons seem more like music videos or art films than Mandarin lessons. They are strange, creepy, intriguing, compelling and possibly effective.¬†Frankly, I’m not quite sure what to make of it all. Watch the example below and you be the judge.

In this video Xiao Li teaches us a few phrases related to being hungry.

Chinese Body Parts

I have recently been learning the parts of the body in Chinese and came across a fun interactive lesson I’d like to recommend to you. This lesson, which is courtesy of, shows a picture of the human body. You simply move your cursor over the appropriate body part to hear the Chinese word as audio. The body part is also shown in Chinese and pinyin. Here’s the link.

And while we’re on the topic of body parts, here’s a video that will also help you learn Chinese body parts vocabulary.


Is Yangyang the Best Chinese Teacher Online?

Is Yangyang the best Chinese teacher teacher online? In my opinon, yes, she probably is. Here are a few reasons why.

Yangyang clearly has a passion for teaching Mandarin Chinese. She has dedicated a lot of time to teaching Chinese and has excellent credentials and experience.

She has the best Chinese instructional videos for beginners on the internet. These videos are extremely well produced and she was born to be in front of the camera.

Her website is excellent with superb resources such as her lists of common Chinese mistakes made by English speakers.

Her English is superb and her pronunciation excellent.

She makes learning fun.

And she is extremely organized.

I don’t know Yangyang. I’ve never met her and never even emailed her. But I admire her passion for teaching Mandarin Chinese. Yangyang, keep up the good work!

Chinese-English Visual Dictionary

I purchased a Chinese-English visual dictionary when I was in Hong Kong earlier this year. What a wonderful book! This Chinese dictionary is beautifully designed with pictures and the corresponding simplified Chinese characters, pinyin, and of course English.

My Chinese friend said the book would be “great for kids”. But then she started browsing and discovered a few words even she didn’t know. The book contains over 6000 words and phrases.

I don’t use this Chinese-English dictionary as my primary source of translation (I use an iPhone app for that) but instead leave it on my coffee table and browse it from time to time.

If you are visually oriented like I am, I suggest you pick it up. I paid HK$144.40. The printed price is GBP8.99.

The book is published by Dorling Kindersley. You can buy it at Amazon and other online bookstores. is a Good Place to Interact with Other Chinese Students

As a Chinese student, you probably have a number of questions about study methods or language specifics. For example, what are the best Chinese textbooks, where are the best schools for Chinese immersion, or how do you translate certain words or concepts into Chinese?

One good site for interacting with other Chinese students (and that includes socializing or getting opinions or advice) is

In addition to the message boards the site also has, at last count, 46 blogs.

The site is quite active too. I see there have been 36 entries made in the last 24 hours.

8 Reasons to Use Rocket Chinese to Learn Mandarin

I recently received an email from Lin Ping over at Rocket Languages that outlined reasons why students should choose Rocket Chinese over other Chinese study courses. Since I’ve been using Rocket Chinese for over a year now, and I agree with her points, I thought I would include them here at Chinese Study Lounge.

Reason 1.
You can learn Chinese anywhere, anytime, by learning online,
downloading the course to your computer and/or transferring the
audio lessons to your MP3 player.

Reason 2.
Learn to speak Chinese confidently by taking part in the modern,
everyday conversations that make up the popular Interactive Audio

Reason 3.
You’ll learn to speak Chinese naturally, by understanding the
culture and how the language works, with our Language & Culture
Lessons (which include loads of embedded audio clips, quizzes, and
extra vocabulary.)

These lessons will give you insights into a wide variety of
situations you’re likely to encounter in China!

Reason 4.
You’ll get 24/7 online access to the Rocket Chinese Forum, where I
will answer your questions, together with other Rocket Chinese
teachers, native speakers and Rocket Chinese learners.

Reason 5.
You can follow the easy-to-use recommended learning path or choose
the lessons in the order that is most important to your life and
work – and you won’t forget which lesson you’re up to or where
you’re headed next because we’ve included a progress tracking
feature in the Rocket Chinese Learning Lounge.

Reason 6.
You’ll know much your Chinese has improved by using the Rocket
Chinese Premium Plus interactive quizzes and self-tests, and when
you’re ready, you can get certified with the Rocket Chinese
Certificate Tests!

Reason 7.
You WON’T BELIEVE how easy it is to learn Chinese with all this at
your fingertips – learn at your own pace, when it suits you, and
most importantly, ENJOY yourself.

Reason 8.
This is the cheapest way to get serious about speaking Chinese.

Go to Rocket Chinese website

iPhone App: 5000 Chinese Audio Flashcards

Although I haven’t spent much time learning Chinese characters (I’m still relying on pinyin) I decided to install 5000 Chinese Audio Flashcards (also known as Flashcard Fu) on my iPhone 4. There are a couple of things I like about this little app.

First, it uses optimized learning. That just means that characters you have the most difficulty remembering are tested most often.

Second, Flashcard Fu has 5000 of the most frequently used characters. But the characters are divided into “decks” which means you can study the most important characters first, in bite-sized study intervals.

The 5000 Chinese Audio Flashcards app costs $2.99.

If you are looking for a Chinese flashcard app, check it out. You might find it helpful.

“Revolutionary New Way” to Learn Chinese Characters

Although I’ve been devoting my Chinese studies over the past year to learning conversational Mandarin, I would also like to learn to read and write Chinese. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I find remembering Chinese characters challenging, to say the least. I thought I good book that uses memory cues to help me remember might be a good investment. That’s why I bought Learning Chinese Characters, published by Tuttle.

This book describes itself as “a revolutionary new way to learn and remember the 800 most basic Chinese characters.”

The trick is that Learning Chinese Characters uses pictures and stories to speed the learning process and make it easier and more enjoyable.

However, after working through the first four or five chapters, this book’s method was not working for me and I gave it up. Overall I found it a slow path to learning Chinese characters. And the pictures and stories only yielded partial success.

I’ve studied memory techniques before and I have used picture stories to remember things. But in the past I always created my own stories. Using the pre-made stories in the book didn’t register with me.

But I’m not saying that you won’t find this book helpful. In fact, I think it might work well for some people. And I learned a few things too. For example, I will never forgot the image of the person’s arms spread wide to symbolize “da” (big) or the octopus associated with “ba” (eight).

Maybe I’ll take another look at this book in future. For now, I’m back to focusing on conversation.

China Panorama Approaching Chinese, Book 2

When I started studying Chinese more than a year ago my tutor suggested we use the “China Panorama” series of textbooks, even though I had already purchased Integrated Chinese. Now that I have finished book one and am 100 pages into book 2, I can say with full confidence that I really enjoy this textbook series and am glad I opted for it over Integrated Chinese.

I find it a great base for my studies. The pace is not too fast and too slow. It’s not too difficult and not too easy. And the topics/themes covered are reasonably practical. Overall I find it a friendly course. Better still, I’m making good progress with it — it’s the good results that really make me happy.

If you plan on using this book you will need a tutor or teacher to help you work through it, though. I don’t think you can just pick it up and learn much on your own.

There’s a lot more “meat” in book 2 than in book 1 so it’s going to take me a while to finish it. I hope to be done book 2 and on to book 3 by the end of this year.

China Panorama, Approaching Chinese 2 of consists of 10 lessons, which are divided into three parts. The first two parts introduce new language items and combine them with corresponding practice opportunities. The third part is composed of reviews and exercises from the chapter: new words, pattern drills, comprehensive exercises, and pronunciation drills. ¬†You can also learn about Chinese culture in the special section entitled “A Glimpse of Modern Chinese Culture.”
Once you have completed the three volume set of China Panaroma, you will have a command of approximately 1,000 basic words, 200 sentence patterns and 3,000 commonly used sentences. That’s my goal.