Chinese Writing and Language Is Fun and Easy
I found this great site, MemRise, that has language instruction for Mandarin Chinese, French, Spanish and Italian. I checked out the online Mandarin Chinese site because my kids are learning it and I had just enough Chinese lessons as a kid to know how difficult it is.
It starts off as “Seeds,” basic vocabulary building. What is great is is that:
- You hear the word pronounced by a native speaker. Chinese is a tonal language with 4 tones so it’s very important to get the pronunciation correct.
- You can hear 3 different native speakers say the word!
- The words are expressed as Chinese writing or characters, rather than the phonetic pinyin. Pinyin is like using training wheels to pronounce a word.
- There are GREAT Mnemonics images to help relate the Chinese character to the word it means. The picture and images relate to the Chinese writing of the character.
- It doesn’t show stroke order of the character. Too bad, because that is helpful.
- It shows related characters that use the word as part of another word. I don’t need this now but that’s a nice feature.
- It does offer a quiz to help reinforce the word.
- We use ‘mems’ to help you form vivid, sensory memories. We test you continuously, always making sure to give your brain just the right workout.
- In order to learn anything, you first have to connect it to what you already know. Memories aren’t stored nowhere, you know, they’re always made by creating connections to existing memories. Now, the more your brain does to encode a fact or word [“encode” is a fancy word for connect or associate with what you already know], the richer and more robust the resultant memory.
- Memrise has been designed to help you connect every new word in the densest, most vivid fashion possible. We do this with mems. Mems is our natty word for the morsels of interesting and relevant information you see beneath every word on Memrise. Mems can be mnemonics, etymologies, amusing videos, photos, example sentences: anything which helps connect what you’re learning and bring it to life. Memrise is a wonderful community of mem-makers: we believe that there’s no idea or fact that isn’t made easier to learn with a choice mem.
- Mems work best when they stimulate your senses, imagination and your emotions. The memories that result from such processing last longer, stand out better are just plain enjoyable and satisfying to recall.
- In a nutshell, the more your brain has to work to recall a memory, the more it will strengthen that memory while recalling it.
- We believe that every learner is partly a teacher, and we hope that once you get started, you’ll soon be supplying little nuggets of wit and wisdom to help the rest of the community as they learn!
- We’ve turned learning facts and language into a game where you grow a colourful garden of memory. You grow and water your memories in a garden of memory, you zoom up the leaderboards, and you learn alongside your mempals. It’s like a guiltless video-game.
Sounds fun, right? This site is in beta so expect more improvements and probably a fee structure at some point!
p.s. I have other posts on learning Chinese for kids:
Cheat Sheet for Pronouncing Chinese (Pinyin)