People get stuck all the time, and most people seem to get stuck while studying intermediate Chinese. Why does this happen and what can you do to avoid getting stuck?
How’d I get stuck the first place
Daniel wrote me with a typical complaint:
…. In elementary [Chinese] I spent hours writing characters [every day] but wasn’t reading and talking so much. I was using the pleco flashcard system and studied all the characters I learned every day.But now this becomes really to time intensive…
I just feel I study a lot but I am not effective enough.
This experience is typical. As someone studying elementary Chinese, he did what he was supposed to. But then he met the laws of diminishing returns. Beginners should spend lots of time writing out characters. But as you advance, spending too much time studying characters becomes a form of waste. Spending lots of time studying is not enough: you have to study effectively.
A new strategy
The study plans and strategies you used as a beginner won’t help you as an intermediate student. The skills you need to keep advancing are different, and so your strategies will need to change. As an intermediate student, you’ll need to spend more time learning and using complex grammatical patterns. You’ll need to spend more time listening to or reading Chinese, and avoid trying to make up your own version of Chinese.
Changing your study patterns is hard. As an intermediate student, it’s harder to measure your progress. But don’t get discouraged. You only get stuck when you stop trying to learn Chinese. So keep studying, and keep having fun.
What’s causing your Chinese to get stuck? Leave a note in the comments.
By the way, I created a page to track other Chinese Language-related blogs. It automatically tracks blogs with recent updates. If you’d like your blog to appear, let me know.