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5 Most Common Mistakes When Studying Chinese

5 Most Common Mistakes When Studying Chinese

This article is intended to go over some of the most common mistakes committed by students when trying to learn Chinese. The points listed here are based on my experience as a student and as the manager of a small Chinese Academy.

1. Neglecting to study Chinese characters

One of the most complicated aspects of the Chinese language is without a doubt its writing system. Learning how to read and write characters is a difficult task that can discourage many students.

Many students who are anxious to learn Chinese as quickly as possible decide to put aside studying writing to focus on learning how to speak Chinese through the phonetic system (pinyin).

There is no doubt that learning Chinese exclusively through pinyin is the most common mistake committed by people when starting to learn Chinese. Aware of this, over the past years, many “miraculous” Chinese courses based on this principle have appeared, promoting it as an easy way to learn Chinese in a few months. Nonetheless, in Chinese, just like any other language, there are no shortcuts. It’s true that some ways of learning are more efficient than others, but learning Chinese only through pinyin is certainly not the way to go.

While pinyin is very useful in the beginning, it’s problem resides in the phonetics of mandarin. As opposed to in Western languages, words are fairly short in Chinese (normally 1 or 2 syllables) and there are relatively few possible sounds (somewhat more than 400 syllables). Combine this with the fact that in the beginning, the majority of students have trouble differentiating certain sounds and above all the tones, it’s very common for students to quickly feel like everything sounds the same.

The basic unit of Chinese is the character, which represents meaning and not sound. It’s very common to run into characters with very different meanings with exactly the same sound (or very similar sounds). In addition, the formation of new concepts is carried out by combining characters. In other words, the logic of Chinese is found in characters and not in sound.

As opposed to small children who learn through imitation, we adults mainly learn through association, in other words, by using logic. That means that if you overlook the basic unit of the language (the character), it will be impossible for you to learn through association and you will have to limit yourself to imitation, which is very difficult for adults.

To put things simply, people who decide to not study writing make much faster initial progress by omitting one of the most difficult parts. However, their learning quickly comes to a standstill as learning new vocabulary becomes more difficult every day. Many words appear to be the same and completely meaningless.

On the contrary, for people who include characters in their study program, their initial progress is slow, tedious and at times frustrating. Nonetheless, their learning progressively accelerates and incorporating new vocabulary becomes increasingly simple.

If you truly want to learn Chinese and not a couple of sentences to survive, you have no other choice but to learn its writing as well.

chinese character

2. Learning the most commonly-used 3,000 characters

One of the most prevalent urban legends surrounding learning Chinese says that by learning the most frequent 3,000 characters, you can read 99% of texts in Chinese.

It’s true that the 3,000 most common characters cover 99% of texts in Chinese. Nonetheless, knowing them is not the same thing as being capable of understanding a text. In modern Chinese, the majority of words are formed of the union of at least two characters. While individual characters have a meaning in themselves, when they are combined to create a word, their meaning, although it tends to be related, is not always easy to guess.

Basically, learning the most common 3,000 characters, despite being an excellent memorization challenge, is probably the most frustrating and inefficient way to learn Chinese, as it won’t let you read or speak.

There are numerous frequency of use lists based on words and not characters (such as the HSK lists) that are definitely more useful.

learning chinese

3. Learning Chinese because it’s the most spoken language in the world

Learning a new language takes a lot of effort and continuous motivation over a long period of time, especially if it’s a language as different as Chinese. Because of this, before starting to learn a language, you have to be clear about the goal that you are pursuing and create a detailed plan of how you are going to reach this goal.

When people come to my academy and ask me about Chinese lessons, the first thing that I tend to ask them is why they want to learn Chinese. An answer that I often receive is: I want to learn Chinese because it’s the most spoken language in the world. When I hear this answer, I usually tell them how much time and effort they will have to dedicate to studying Chinese if they want to be able to effectively communicate. The majority of them never come back.

This student profile is the main target of “miracle courses”, as in my opinion, they don’t have the adequate motivation to learn the language. Their interest is mainly the result of a passing trend that has been brought into the spotlight by China’s economic power. Because of this, the only thing that they are looking for is for someone to tell them that they can learn Chinese without making an effort.

It is essential that before learning Chinese, you ask yourself what you want to do and what you will achieve by doing so. The more specific your objective, the easier it will be to keep up your motivation over time. Below, I give a few examples of concrete goals:

  1. Learning Chinese to be able to communicate with clients or suppliers from the country and by doing so improving your job prospects.
  2. Learning Chinese to go to China to study a master’s degree or an exchange during the following year.
  3. Learning Chinese because you have a spouse or family member from the country and want to demonstrate your interest in their culture and language.

Like these, there are thousands of good reasons to learn Chinese, but studying must be highly motivated and contain a “reward” for the efforts made. If you’re not going to use the language at all, what point is there in learning it?

Learning Chinese is much more than learning a language; it’s a doorway to understanding a thousand-year-old culture and society that at times isn’t as different as we think it is. Making yourself the habit of studying and giving yourself the right motivation will be your best ally in overcoming the numerous obstacles and frustrations that you will encounter.

chinese writing

4. Believing that because you’ve learned other languages, you know how to learn Chinese

Something that I often run into is people who want to study Chinese and the first thing that they say is that they already speak a couple of languages.

People who already master multiple Western languages mistakenly believe that they can apply their experience with these languages when learning Mandarin. While it’s true that they are at an advantage compared to a monolingual person, as they already know the efforts implied by learning a new language, it’s also true that they are more likely to commit mistakes in the learning process.

Despite coming from different linguistic branches, Western languages have common roots and have influenced one another a great deal over history. This makes it so that their logic and above all grammatical structure are very similar. The origins of Chinese and other Asian languages are very distant from that of Western languages, because of which it is a mistake to approach them with the same logic as in studying much more similar languages.

The common problem among students who speak multiple Western languages is that they try to apply their language structure to Chinese, and over time become frustrated. In the end, they end up saying that Chinese is illogical and impossible to learn.

Chinese has its own logic that is simply very different from yours, because of which the best thing to do is to forget everything you think you know and to try to completely immerse yourself in a different way of communicating.

Learning chinese

5. Spending too much effort on pronunciation and grammar

Don’t get me wrong: grammar and pronunciation are very important in Chinese, but they aren’t everything.

Tones and pronunciation in Mandarin tend to be a headache for many students. Pronunciation errors can be one of the main barriers to being understood by a native speaker. In addition, for many students, Chinese grammatical structures appear confusing and “unnatural” to them, because they are very different from those of their native language.

Because of this, it’s common for people to end up speaking endlessly in a zealous attempt to pronounce every tone perfectly and to place every word in its correct place. The problem with this attitude is that the person listening ends up not understanding anything.

Chinese is a language in which the context where a word is pronounced is very important for understanding its meaning. When speech isn’t fluid, in addition to becoming tedious for the listener, the context is also lost. The problem is that if the listener loses the context, they won’t understand anything.

Forget about speaking perfectly; as a non-native speaker, you can’t set your sights on impeccable pronunciation and not making grammar mistakes. Improving the fluidity of your speech will certainly give you better results than avoiding a couple of mistakes. Keep in mind that what’s important is communicating.

Bio BIO: Sergi worked in Beijing for five years and China changed his life. Upon returning home, he left his job as a researcher to dedicate his time to sharing what he learned in the Middle Kingdom. He is currently the editor of the website Sapore Di Cina, intended for people who would like to go to China to live or travel, and is the co-founder of EsChina Space, a Chinese language and cuisine academy in Barcelona.
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How to Say Happy New Year in Chinese & New Year Wishes

Learn all the Chinese New Year wishes online, in your own time, on any device! Join ChineseClass101 for a special Chinese New Year celebration!

How to Say Happy New Year in Chinese

Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March - December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

So, how do you say Happy New Year in Chinese? Let a native teach you! At ChineseClass101, you will learn how to correctly greet your friends over New Year, and wish them well with these Chinese New Year wishes!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate New Year in China
  2. Must-Know Chinese Words & Phrases for the New Year!
  3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in Chinese
  4. Inspirational New Year Quotes
  5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes
  6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages
  7. How ChineseClass101 Can Help You Learn Chinese

But let’s start with some vocabulary for Chinese New Year celebrations, very handy for conversations.

1. How to Celebrate New Year in China

To most Chinese people, you truly begin a brand new year only when you experience a traditional Spring Festival celebration. So even though there is a one-day public holiday for New Year’s day in January, it doesn’t really have a New Year’s celebratory atmosphere. However, in recent years, various kinds of countdown activities have become very popular among young people, and the day has become a kind of romantic holiday.

Now before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question?

What are the lyrics to the Chinese version of the song “Happy New Year,” or Xin Nian Hao, 新年好 (xīnniánhǎo)?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep reading.

Just as in many countries in the West, the most important activity when celebrating the coming new year in China is, of course, a countdown or 倒数计时 (dàoshǔ jìshí). In the bustling city areas, you will see many kinds of celebratory events. The big screens in financial districts will display the numbers as they count down, and when they hit zero, fireworks or 烟花 (yānhuā) are set off in many places to celebrate. Young people go to bars, themed restaurants hold gatherings, and people drink and dance.

In recent years, the end of the year has become the time when people go shopping because this is the day that malls offer big discounts known as Chinese Black Friday or 黑色星期五 (hēisè Xīngqīwǔ). Malls will usually extend their shopping hours and sales shifts until late at night, and their product racks will look as though a robbery has taken place overnight because they’ll be almost empty!

New Year’s Day is, of course, a good opportunity to connect with family and friends who you haven’t seen for a long time. Some years ago, it was popular to exchange New Year’s cards, called 贺年卡 (hèniánkǎ). In recent years, more and more people have been conveying their wishes and greetings via email or text message due to a desire to save trees and avoid sending physical cards.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question!

Do you know the lyrics to the Chinese version of the song “Happy New Year,” or 新年好, (Xīn Nián Hǎo)?

The song says 新年好呀,新年好呀,祝福 大家新年好;我们唱歌,我们跳舞,祝福大家新年好

(xīnniánhǎo yā , xīnniánhǎo yā , zhùfú dàjiā xīnniánhǎo ;wǒmen chànggē, wǒmen tiàowǔ, zhùfú dàjiā xīnniánhǎo)

Meaning “Happy new year, happy new year, wishing everyone a happy new year; we sing, we dance, wishing everyone a happy new year!” Almost everyone in China can sing it!

Happy New Year!

Xīnnián kuàilè !

2. Must-Know Chinese Words & Phrases for the New Year!

Chinese Words & Phrases for the New Year

1- Year


This is pretty self-explanatory. Most countries follow a Gregorian calendar, which has approximately 365 days in a year, while in some cultures, other year designations are also honored. Therefore, New Year’s day in China could fall on a different day than in your country. When do you celebrate New Year?

2- Midnight


The point in time when a day ends and a new one starts. Many New Year celebrants prefer to stay awake till midnight, and greet the new annum as it breaks with fanfare and fireworks!

3- New Year’s Day


In most countries, the new year is celebrated for one whole day. On the Gregorian calendar, this falls on January 1st. On this day, different cultures engage in festive activities, like parties, parades, big meals with families and many more.

You can do it!

4- Party


A party is most people’s favorite way to end the old year, and charge festively into the new one! We celebrate all we accomplished in the old year, and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.

5- Dancing


Usually, when the clock strikes midnight and the New Year officially begins, people break out in dance! It is a jolly way to express a celebratory mood with good expectations for the year ahead. Also, perhaps, that the old year with its problems has finally passed! Dance parties are also a popular way to spend New Year’s Eve in many places.

6- Champagne


Originating in France, champagne is a bubbly, alcoholic drink that is often used to toast something or someone during celebrations.

7- Fireworks


These are explosives that cause spectacular effects when ignited. They are popular for announcing the start of the new year with loud noises and colorful displays! In some countries, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits. In others, the use of fireworks is forbidden in urban areas due to their harmful effect on pets. Most animals’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’, so this noisy display can be very frightful and traumatising to them.

8- Countdown

dào jìshí

This countdown refers to New Year celebrants counting the seconds, usually backward, till midnight, when New Year starts - a great group activity that doesn’t scare animals, and involves a lot of joyful shouting when the clock strikes midnight!

9- New Year’s Holiday

Xīnnián jiàqī

In many countries, New Year’s Day is a public holiday - to recuperate from the party the previous night, perhaps! Families also like to meet on this day to enjoy a meal and spend time together.


wǔcǎi zhǐxiè

In most Western countries, confetti is traditionally associated with weddings, but often it is used as a party decoration. Some prefer to throw it in the air at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

11- New Year’s Eve

kuà nián yè

This is the evening before New Year breaks at midnight! Often, friends and family meet for a party or meal the evening before, sometimes engaging in year-end rituals. How are you planning to give your New Year greetings in 2018?

12- Toast


A toast is a type of group-salutation that involves raising your glass to drink with others in honor of something or someone. A toast to the new year is definitely in order!

13- Resolution


Those goals or intentions you hope to, but seldom keep in the new year! Many people consider the start of a new year to be the opportune time for making changes or plans. Resolutions are those intentions to change, or the plans. It’s best to keep your resolutions realistic so as not to disappoint yourself!

14- Parade


New Year celebrations are a huge deal in some countries! Parades are held in the streets, often to celebratory music, with colorful costumes and lots of dancing. Parades are like marches, only less formal and way more fun. At ChineseClass101, you can engage in forums with natives who can tell you what Chinese New Year celebrations are like!

3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

So, you learned the Chinese word for ‘resolution’. Fabulous! Resolutions are those goals and intentions that we hope to manifest in the year that lies ahead. The beginning of a new year serves as a good marker in time to formalise these. Some like to do it in writing, others only hold these resolutions in their hearts. Here are our Top 10 New Year’s resolutions at ChineseClass101 - what are yours?

Learn these phrases and impress your Chinese friends with your vocabulary.

New Year's Resolutions

1- Read more

Duō yuèdú.

Reading is a fantastic skill that everyone can benefit from. You’re a business person? Apparently, successful business men and women read up to 60 books a year. This probably excludes fiction, so better scan your library or Amazon for the top business reads if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the successful! Otherwise, why not make it your resolution to read more Chinese in the new year? You will be surprised by how much this will improve your Chinese language skills!

2- Spend more time with family

Huā gèngduō shíjiān péibàn jiārén.

Former US President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was quoted as having said this: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” This is very true! Relationships are often what gives life meaning, so this is a worthy resolution for any year.

3- Lose weight


Hands up, how many of you made this new year’s resolution last year too…?! This is a notoriously difficult goal to keep, as it takes a lot of self discipline not to eat unhealthily. Good luck with this one, and avoid unhealthy fad diets!

4- Save money


Another common and difficult resolution! However, no one has ever been sorry when they saved towards reaching a goal. Make it your resolution to save money to upgrade your subscription to ChineseClass101’s Premium PLUS option in the new year - it will be money well spent!

5- Quit smoking


This is a resolution that you should definitely keep, or your body could punish you severely later! Smoking is a harmful habit with many hazardous effects on your health. Do everything in your power to make this resolution come true in the new year, as your health is your most precious asset.

6- Learn something new

Xuéxí xīn dōngxi.

Science has proven that learning new skills can help keep brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay! It can even slow down the progression of the disease. So, keep your brain healthy by learning to speak a new language, studying towards a qualification, learning how to sew, or how to play chess - no matter how old you are, the possibilities are infinite!

7- Drink less

Shǎo hējiǔ.

This is another health resolution that is good to heed any time of the year. Excessive drinking is associated with many diseases, and its effect can be very detrimental to good relationships too. Alcohol is a poison and harmful for the body in large quantities!

8- Exercise regularly

Duō yùndòng.

This resolution goes hand-in-hand with ‘Lose weight’! An inactive body is an unhealthy and often overweight one, so give this resolution priority in the new year.

9- Eat healthy

Yǐnshí jiànkāng.

If you stick with this resolution, you will lose weight and feel better in general. It is a very worthy goal to have!

10- Study Chinese with ChineseClass101

Gēn ChineseClass yī líng yī diǎn com yīqǐ xuéxí Zhōngwén.

Of course! You can only benefit from learning Chinese, especially with us! Learning how to speak Chinese can keep your brain healthy, it can widen your circle of friends, and improve your chances to land a dream job anywhere in the world. ChineseClass101 makes it easy and enjoyable for you to stick to this resolution.

4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

Everyone knows that it is sometimes very hard to stick to resolutions, and not only over New Year. The reasons for this vary from person to person, but all of us need inspiration every now and then! A good way to remain motivated is to keep inspirational quotes near as reminders that it’s up to us to reach our goals.

Click here for quotes that will also work well in a card for a special Chinese new year greeting!

Make decorative notes of these in Chinese, and keep them close! Perhaps you could stick them above your bathroom mirror, or on your study’s wall. This way you not only get to read Chinese incidentally, but also remain inspired to reach your goals! Imagine feeling like giving up on a goal, but reading this quote when you go to the bathroom: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” What a positive affirmation!

5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

Language Learning Quotes

Still undecided whether you should enroll with ChineseClass101 to learn a new language? There’s no time like the present to decide! Let the following Language Learning Quotes inspire you with their wisdom.

Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

As legendary President Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” So, learning how to say Happy New Year in Chinese could well be a way into someone special’s heart for you! Let this year be the one where you to learn how to say Happy New Year, and much more, in Chinese - it could open many and unexpected doors for you.

6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

Here’s a lovely bonus for you! Why stop with Chinese - learn how to say Happy New Year in 31 other languages too! Watch this video and learn how to pronounce these New Year’s wishes like a native in under two minutes.

7. Why Enrolling with ChineseClass101 Would Be the Perfect New Year’s Gift to Yourself!

If you are unsure how to celebrate the New Year, why not give yourself a huge gift, and enroll to learn Chinese! With more than 12 years of experience behind us, we know that ChineseClass101 would be the perfect fit for you. There are so many reasons for this!

Learning Paths

  • Custom-tailored Learning Paths: Start learning Chinese at the level that you are. We have numerous Learning Pathways, and we tailor them just for you based on your goals and interests! What a boon!
  • Marked Progress and Fresh Learning Material Every Week: We make new lessons available every week, with an option to track your progress. Topics are culturally appropriate and useful, such as “Learning how to deliver negative answers politely to a business partner.” Our aim is to equip you with Chinese that makes sense!
  • Multiple Learning Tools: Learn in fun, easy ways with resources such 1,000+ video and audio lessons, flashcards, detailed PDF downloads, and mobile apps suitable for multiple devices!
  • Fast Track Learning Option: If you’re serious about fast-tracking your learning, Premium Plus would be the perfect way to go! Enjoy perks such as personalised lessons with ongoing guidance from your own, native-speaking teacher, and one-on-one learning on your mobile app! You will not be alone in your learning. Weekly assignments with non-stop feedback, answers and corrections will ensure speedy progress.
  • Fun and Easy: Keeping the lessons fun and easy-to-learn is our aim, so you will stay motivated by your progress!

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There’s no reason not to go big in 2018 by learning Chinese with ChineseClass101. Just imagine how the world can open up for you!

How to Say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Chinese

How to Say Merry Christmas in Chinese

Do you know any ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Chinese? ChineseClass101 brings you easy-to-learn translations and the correct pronunciation of Chinese Christmas phrases!

Christmas is the annual commemorative festival of Christ’s birth in the Western Christian Church. It takes place on December 25th and is usually celebrated with much food and fanfare! However, not all cultures celebrate Christmas. In some countries, Christmas is not even a public holiday! However, many countries have adapted Christmas and its religious meaning to tally with their own beliefs, or simply in acknowledgment of the festival’s importance to other cultures. If you want to impress native Chinese speakers with culturally-appropriate Christmas phrases and vocabulary, ChineseClass101 will teach you the most important ways to wish someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ in Chinese!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate Christmas in China
  2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes
  3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary
  4. Twelve Days of Christmas
  5. Top 10 Christmas Characters
  6. How ChineseClass101 Can Help You

1. How to Celebrate Christmas in China

Christmas Words in Chinese

December 25 is Christmas, a traditional Western festival with religious origins. In recent years, Christmas has become a popularly celebrated holiday in China, too. Let’s go over the differences between Western and Chinese Christmas customs.

Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-

The Chinese have incorporated many customs of their own into Christmas celebrations, such as the “Christmas Fruit.” Do you know what this is?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep reading.

Though Christmas is not an official public holiday in Mainland China, the Chinese have increasingly embraced the celebration of this holiday since the economic reform and opening-up policy, or 改革开放 (gǎigé kāifàng). It is, however, a public holiday in Macau, which took influence from the Portuguese. Similarly, Hong Kong also observes a three-day holiday for Christmas, spanning from December 24 to December 26.

Christmas celebrations in China have distinctly Chinese characteristics. Some of these customs are fascinating, while others may be confusing. In the West, Christmas is a time for family reunions, while in China, people more often go out in groups and see a movie, go to karaoke, or go shopping as a way to celebrate Christmas.

China’s economy is always at its best during Christmas time, as Christmas provides plenty of business opportunities, or 商机 (shāngjī), and big profits. Christmas Eve is the country’s biggest day for shopping and sales. Shops and restaurants all play along with the Christmas theme, adding to the Christmassy atmosphere. Many movies are shown at Christmas time, as the holiday is also seen as a day for romance.

In China, Santa Claus, or 圣诞老人 (Shèngdànlǎorén) is depicted differently than in the West. Most notably, the Chinese interpretation of Santa plays the saxophone, or sometimes alternatively the French horn, violin, or trumpet. This aspect of Santa’s image most likely started as a commercial campaign, but over time developed into a key aspect of his persona.

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question-

The Chinese have incorporated many customs of their own into Christmas celebrations, such as the “Christmas Fruit.” Do you know what this is?

The “Christmas Fruit” or 圣诞果 (Shèngdàn guǒ) is an apple, which is the most common Christmas gift in China. The apple was appointed as the Christmas fruit because in Chinese, the word for apple is a homophone of “Christmas Eve”. Christmas Eve is 圣诞夜 (Shèngdànyè), while “apple” is 圣诞果 (Shèngdàn guǒ). With the help of special packaging, common apples are turned into expensive gifts.

2. Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season

Holiday Greetings and Wishes

1- Merry Christmas!

Shèngdàn Jié kuàilè!

Do you know how to say ‘Merry Christmas’ in Chinese? Learn here how to pronounce it perfectly! ‘Merry’ means to be joyful, to celebrate and generally be in good spirits. So, with this phrase you are wishing someone a joyful, celebratory remembrance of Christ’s birth!

2- Happy Kwanzaa!

Kuān zhā jié kuàilè!

Surprise your African-American, or West African native friends with this phrase over the Christmas holidays! Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious celebration, starting on Dec 26th each year. It has its roots in African American modern history, and many people celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas!

3- Have a happy New Year!

Xīnnián kuàilè !

In countries where Christmas is not officially celebrated, but a Gregorian calendar is observed, this would be a friendly festive-season wish over New Year.

4- Happy Hanukkah!

guāngmíng jié kuàilè !

Hanukkah is the beautiful Hebrew festival over November or December each year. It is also called the ‘Festival of Lights’ and is celebrated to commemorate the Jewish freedom of religion.

5- Have a great winter vacation!

hánjià kuàilè !

This is a good phrase to keep handy if someone doesn’t observe any religious festival over the Christmas holidays! However, this will only be applicable in the Northern hemisphere, where it is winter over Christmas.

6- See you next year!

Míngnián jiàn!

Going away on holiday over Christmas season, or saying goodbye to someone about to leave on vacation? This would be a good way to say goodbye to your friends and family.

7- Warm wishes!

zhìyǐ wēnxīn de zhùfú!

An informal, friendly phrase to write in Chinese Christmas cards, especially for secular friends who prefer to observe Christmas celebrations without the religious symbolism. It conveys the warmth of friendship and friendly wishes associated with this time of year.

8- Happy holidays!

Jiérì kuàilè!

If you forget how to say ‘Merry Christmas!’ in Chinese, this is a safe, generic phrase to use instead.

9- Enjoy the holidays!

hǎohao xiǎngshòu jiàqī !

After saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in Chinese, this would be a good phrase with which to wish Christmas holiday-goers well! It is also good to use for secular friends who don’t celebrate Christmas but take a holiday at this time of the year.

10- Best wishes for the New Year!

zhù xīn de yì nián yíqiè dōuhǎo !

This is another way of wishing someone well in the New Year if they observe a Gregorian calendar. New Year’s day would then fall on January 1st.

3. Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary

Christmas is associated with many traditions and religious symbols in multiple countries across the world. It originated centuries ago in the West with the birth of Christianity, and the celebrations are often embedded with rich cultural significance. So, by now you know how to say Merry Christmas in Chinese! Next, learn pertinent vocabulary and phrases pertaining to Christmas, as well as how to pronounce them correctly. At ChineseClass101, we make sure you sound like a native speaker!

1- Christmas

Shèngdàn Jié

This is the Chinese word for ‘Christmas’. Most happy Christmas wishes in Chinese will include this word!

2- Snow


In most Northern-hemisphere countries, Christmas is synonymous with snow, and for Christmas, the snowman is often dressed as Santa Claus.

3- Snowflake


Snowflakes collectively make up snow. A single snowflake is small, white, light like a feather and icy cold! When put under a microscope, the snowflake reveals itself to have the most beautiful, symmetrical patterns. These patterns have become popular Christmas decorations, especially in Western countries.

4- Snowman


As you guessed - a snowman is only possible to build if it is snowing! What a fun way to spend Christmas day outside.

5- Turkey


Roast turkey is the traditional main dish on thousands of lunch tables on Christmas day, mainly in Western countries. What is your favorite Christmas dish?

6- Wreath


Another traditional Western decoration for Christmas, the wreath is an arrangement of flowers, leaves, or stems fastened in a ring. Many families like to hang a Christmas wreath outside on their houses’ front doors.

7- Reindeer


Reindeer are the animals commonly fabled to pull Santa Claus’ sled across the sky! Western Christmas folklore tells of Father Christmas or Santa Claus doing the rounds with his sled, carrying Christmas presents for children, and dropping them into houses through the chimney. But who is Santa Claus?

8- Santa Claus

Shèngdàn Lǎorén

Santa Claus is a legendary and jolly figure originating in the Western Christian culture. He is known by many names, but is traditionally depicted as a rotund man wearing a red costume with a pointy hat, and sporting a long, snow-white beard!

9- Elf


An elf is a supernatural creature of folklore with pointy ears, a dainty, humanoid body and a capricious nature. Elves are said to help Santa Claus distribute presents to children over Christmas!

10- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

hóngbízi xúnlù Lǔdàofū

‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ is a Christmas song based on an American children’s story book with the same name. Rudolph is one of Santa’s reindeer. The song became more famous than the book, and can still be heard playing in many shopping malls over Christmas time across the globe!

11- North Pole

Běi Jí

The cold North Pole is where Santa Claus is reputed to live with his reindeer!

12- Sled


A sled is a non-motorised land vehicle used to travel over snow in countries where it snows a lot, and is usually pulled by animals such as horses, dogs or reindeer. This one obviously refers to Santa’s sled! Another word for sled is sleigh or sledge.

13- Present


Gift or present giving is synonymous with Christmas Eve and the greatest source of joy for children over this festive time! This tradition signifies that Christ’s birth was a gift to mankind, but not all people who hand out presents over Christmas observe the religious meaning.

14- Bell


On Christmas Day, or Christmas Eve, many religious celebrants enjoy going to church for a special sermon and Christmas rituals. The start of the sermon is often announced with bells or a bell, if the church has one. For this reason, the sound of ringing bells is often associated with Christmas Day.

15- Chimney


The chimney is the entrance Santa Claus uses to deliver children’s presents on Christmas Day, according to folklore! Wonder how the chubby man and his elves stay clean…?!

16- Fireplace


In most countries where it snows, Christmas is synonymous with a fire or burning embers in houses’ fireplaces. Families huddle around its warmth while opening Christmas presents. Also, this is where Santa Claus is reputed to pop out after his journey down the chimney!

17- Christmas Day

Shèngdàn Jié

This is the official day of commemorative celebration of Christ’s birth, and falls each year on December 25.

18- Decoration


Decorations are the colourful trinkets and posters that make their appearance in shops and homes during the Christmas holiday season in many countries! They give the places a celebratory atmosphere in anticipation of the big Christmas celebration. Typical Christmas decorations include colorful photographs and posters, strings of lights, figurines of Santa Claus and the nativity scene, poinsettia flowers, snowflakes and many more.

19- Stocking

chǎng wà

According to legend, Santa Claus places children’s presents in a red stocking hanging over the fireplace. This has also become a popular decoration, signifying Christmas.

20- Holly


Holly is a shrub native to the UK, and parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is characterised by glossy, spiny-toothed leaves, small, whitish flowers, and red berries. Ironically, its significance for Christmas relates to Christ’s crucifixion and suffering rather than his birth. However, the leaves’ distinctive shape and image have become popular Christmas decorations.

21- Gingerbread house

jiāngbǐng fáng

According to legend, the gingerbread house synonymous with Christmas is related to Christ’s birth place, Bethlehem. Bethlehem literally means ‘House of Bread’. Over centuries, it has become a popular treat over Christmas time in many non-religious households as well.

22- Candy cane

guǎizhàng táng

According to folklore, Christmas candy canes made their appearance first in Germany in the 16th century. A choir master gave children the candy canes to suck on in church in order to keep them quiet during the Christmas sermon! Apparently, the candy is shaped like a cane in remembrance of the shepherds who were the first to visit the baby Jesus. Today, like gingerbread houses, they are still a popular sweet over the festive season!

23- Mistletoe


Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on certain trees. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that the mistletoe has magical powers, and could protect a household from evil if hung above a door during December. The belief didn’t last but the habit did, and the mistletoe is another popular Christmas decoration!

4. Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas

Wow, you’re doing extremely well! You know how to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Chinese, and you learned pertinent vocabulary too! The Twelve Days of Christmas is not very well known in modern times, so, you’re on your way to becoming an expert in Christmas traditions and rituals. Well done!

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a traditional festive period of 12 days dedicated to celebrate the nativity of Christ. Christmas Day is, for many who observe Twelvetide, the first day of this period.

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ is also a popular Christmas song about a series of gifts given on each day of Twelvetide. According to experts, these gifts were created as a coded reference to important symbols in the Christian church. Here is a list of those gifts mentioned in the song! Do you recognise them?

5. Top 10 Christmas Characters in American Culture

Top 10 Christmas Characters

This is fantastic, you know how to explain almost everything about Christmas in Chinese! However, do you know the most popular Christmas characters in American culture? Your knowledge will not be complete without this list.

6. ChineseClass101 Is One Of The Best Online Language Schools Available!

Visit ChineseClass101!

We don’t just say this - we can prove it! Geared to your personal needs and goals, we have several learning paths from which to choose. From Chinese for Absolute Beginners to Advanced Chinese, lessons are designed to meet you where you are, and increase your language abilities in fun, easy and interactive lessons! Mastering a new language has never been this easy or enjoyable.

We have over a decade of experience and research behind us, and it shows! With thousands of audio and video lessons, detailed PDF lessons and notes, as well as friendly, knowledgeable hosts, ChineseClass101 is simply unbeatable when it comes to learning correct Chinese. Plenty of tools and resources are available when you study with us. New lessons are added every week so material remains fresh and relevant. You also have the option to upgrade and enjoy even more personalised guidance and services. This is a sure way to fast-track your learning!

So, this Christmas, why don’t you give yourself a present and enroll in ChineseClass101? Or give an enrollment as a present to a loved one. It will be a gift with benefits for a whole lifetime, not just over Christmas!

How To Say ‘Thank you’ in Chinese

How to Say Thank You in Chinese

In most cultures, it is custom to express gratitude in some way or another. The dictionary defines gratitude as follows: it is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”. Giving a sincere, thankful response to someone’s actions or words is often the ‘glue’ that keeps relationships together. This is true in most societies! Doing so in a foreign country also shows your respect and appreciation for the culture. Words have great power - use these ones sincerely and often!

Table of Contents

  1. 12 Ways to say ‘Thank you’ in Chinese
  2. Video Lesson: Learn to Say ‘Thank You’ in 3 Minutes
  3. Infographic & Audio Lesson: Survival Phrases - Thank You
  4. Video Lesson: ‘Thank You’ in 31 Languages
  5. How ChineseClass101 Can Help You

So, how do you say ‘Thank you’ in Chinese? You can learn easily! Below, ChineseClass101 brings you perfect translations and pronunciation as you learn the most common ways Chinese speakers say ‘Thanks’ in various situations.

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1. 12 Ways to say ‘Thank you’ in Chinese

1- Thank you.


The magical words that can bring a smile to any face. For one day, truly mean it whenever you say these words, and see how this lifts your spirit too!

2- That’s very kind of you.

Nín zhēnshì tài hǎo le.

This phrase is appropriate when someone clearly goes out of their way to give good service, or to offer you a kindness.

3- Thanks for your kind words!

Gǎnxiè nín de zànměi zhī cí.

Someone paid you a compliment and made you feel good? That is kind of him/her, so express your gratitude!

4- Thank you for coming today.

Gǎnxiè nín jīntiān de guānglín.

This welcoming phrase should be part of your arsenal if you’re conducting more formal meetings with Chinese speakers. If you’re hosting a party, this is also a good phrase when you greet your Chinese guests!

5- Thank you for your consideration.

Xièxie nín de guānxīn.

This is a more formal, almost solemn way to thank someone for their thoughtfulness and sensitivity towards you. It is also suitable to use when a native speaker has to consider something you submit, like a job application, a project or a proposal. You are thanking them, in essence, for time and effort they are about to, or have spent on your submission.

6- Thanks a lot!


This means the same as ‘Thank you’, but with energy and enthusiasm added! It means almost the same as ‘thank you so much’ in Chinese. Use this in an informal setting with your Chinese friends or teachers.

7- Teachers like you are not easy to find.

Xiàng nín zhèyàng de lǎoshī bù róngyì zhǎodào.

Some phrases are compliments, which express gratitude by inference. This is one of them. If you’re particularly impressed with your ChineseClass101 teacher, this is an excellent phrase to memorize!

8- Thank you for spending time with us.

Xièxie nín huā shíjiān hé wǒmen zài yìqǐ.

Any host at a gathering with Chinese speakers, such as a meeting or a party, should have this under his/her belt! Use it when you’re saying goodbye or busy closing a meeting. It could also be another lovely way to thank your Chinese language teacher for her time.

9- Thank you for being patient and helping me improve.

Gǎnxiè nín de nàixīn bìng bāngzhù wǒ tígāo.

This phrase is another sure way to melt any formal or informal Chinese teacher’s heart! Teaching is not easy, and often a lot of patience is required from the teacher. Thank him/her for it! It’s also a good phrase to use if you work in China, and want to thank your trainer or employer. You will go a long way towards making yourself a popular employee - gratitude is the most attractive trait in any person!

10- You’re the best teacher ever!

Nín shì yǒushǐ yǐlái zuì hǎo de lǎoshī!

This is also an enthusiastic way to thank your teacher by means of a compliment. It could just make their day!

11- Thank you for the gift.

Xièxie nǐ de lǐwù.

This is a good phrase to remember when you’re the lucky recipient of a gift. Show your respect and gratitude with these words.

12- I have learned so much thanks to you.

Wǒ fēicháng gǎnxiè nǐ.

What a wonderful compliment to give a good teacher! It means they have succeeded in their goal, and you’re thankful for it.

2. Video Lesson: Learn to Say ‘Thank You’ in 3 Minutes

In China, there are numerous ways to say “thank you.” Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways to express ones gratitude.

1- 謝謝。Xiè Xie
By far the most common phrase used to express ones thanks is xiè xie (Thank you.). This is undoubtedly the phrase of gratitude you will here the most throughout your journeys, and conveniently the easiest to pronounce.

As Chinese is a tonal language, it is important to correctly pronounce the tones, as an incorrect pronunciation of a tone can change the meaning of a word and in turn, the meaning of the phrase. In the case of xiè xie, however, the phrase is used so frequently that no matter how badly you mispronounce the tones, this expression of gratitude will be understood. As the phrase xiè xie consists of two of the same characters, it literally means, “Thank(s), thank(s).” However, it is translated as “Thank you.”

2- 謝謝你。Xiè Xie Nǐ
Xiè xie nǐ (Thank you.), or the politer version xiè xie nin (Thank you.[formal]), are common variations of the phrase Xiè xie. (Thank you.). In both of these phrases xiè xie is followed by the word for you, (you) or the politer version nín (you, formal). The literal meaning of these phrases are closer to their English counterpart “Thank you.” as both phrases includes the word you.

3- 多谢。 Duō Xiè
Another polite way to express one’s gratitude is the phrase, Duō xiè. (Thank you so much.) which literally means “Many thanks.” or “A lot of thanks.” The components of this sentence are duō (many) and xiè (to thank). Literally many thanks, but translated as “Thank you very much.”

4- 我很感谢。 Wǒ Hěn Gǎnxiè
Finally there is a phrase that expresses one’s utmost gratitude. This phrase is Wǒ hěn gǎn xiè. (Thank you so much.) which literally means “I very feel thanks.” but is translated as “Thank you so much.” This phrase is reserved for very special occasions, such as when someone does something extremely kind or particularly helpful.

Cultural Insights

Quick Tip 1
The gesture for thank you in Chinese is to cover one’s right hand with the left, and raise them chest or head high while bowing one’s head.

Quick Tip 2
When in a dining situation, the waiter or waitress will often pour beverages for the patrons. A commonly used way of expressing gratitude for this action is to ,tap the table with one’s index and middle fingers. This gesture, often repeated several times, and expresses the receiver’s gratitude as well as that notion “that is enough of what is being poured.”

On the run to China? Wait! You can’t go without some basic language phrases under your belt! Especially if you’re heading to meet your prospective employer! Either in person or online, knowing how to say ‘Thank you’ in the Chinese language will only improve their impression of you! ChineseClass101 saves you time with this short lesson that nevertheless packs a punch. Learn to say ‘Thank you’ in Chinese in no time!

3. Audio Lesson: Survival Phrases - Thank You

5 Ways to Say Thank You in Chinese

Perhaps you think it’s unimportant that you don’t know what ‘Thank you’ is in Chinese, or that it’s too difficult a language to learn. Yet, as a traveler or visitor, you will be surprised at how far you can go using a little bit of Chinese in China!

Click Here to Listen to the Free Audio Lesson!

At ChineseClass101, we offer you a few ways of saying ‘Thank you’ in Chinese that you have no excuse not knowing, as they’re so simple and easy to learn. The lesson is geared to aid your ‘survival’ in formal and informal situations in China, so don’t wait! You will never have to google ‘How do you say thanks in Chinese’ again…!

4. ‘Thank You’ in 31 Languages

For the global traveler in a hurry, here are 31 ways to say ‘Thank you’! These are the first words you need to learn in any foreign language - it is sure to smooth your way with native speakers by showing your gratitude for services rendered, and your respect for their culture! Learn and know how to correctly say ‘Thank you’ in 31 different languages in this short video.

5. Why would ChineseClass101 be the perfect choice to learn Chinese?

However, you need not stop at ‘Thank you’ in Chinese - why not learn to speak the language?! You have absolutely nothing to lose. Research has shown that learning a new language increases intelligence and combats brain-aging. Also, the ability to communicate with native speakers in their own language is an instant way to make friends and win respect! Or imagine you know how to write ‘Thank you’ to that special Chinese friend after a date…he/she will be so impressed!

Thank You

ChineseClass101 Has Special Lessons, Tools and Resources to Teach You How to Say Thank You and Other Key Phrases

With more than a decade of experience behind us, we have taught thousands of satisfied users to speak foreign languages. How do we do this? First, we take the pain out of learning! At ChineseClass101, students are assisted as they master vocabulary, pronunciation, and conversation through state-of-the-art and fun online learning methods. A library replete with learning resources allows for you to learn at your own pace and in your own space! Resources include thousands of video and audio recordings, downloadable PDF lessons and plenty of learning apps for your mobile devices. Each month, we add benefits with FREE bonuses and gifts to improve your experience.

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We accommodate all levels and types of learners, from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, and ChineseClass101 is free for anyone to sign up. However, you can choose to fast track your fluency with lesson customization and increased interactive learning and practicing. Upgrade to Premium, or Premium PLUS to enhance your experience and greatly expedite your learning. With this type of assistance, and pleasurable effort on your part, you will speak Chinese in a very short period of time!

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Best of all is that you’re never alone! We believe that practice is the holy grail of learning any new language, and we gear our courses to ensure lots of it. Enroll with us, and you gain immediate access to our lively forum where we meet and greet, and discuss your burning questions. Our certified teachers are friendly and helpful, and you are very likely to practice your first ‘Thanks!’ in Chinese on him/her, AND mean it! Hurry up, and sign up now - you will thank us for it.

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How to Start Thinking in Chinese

Learn 4 tools and techniques to stop translating in your head and start thinking in Chinese

Going through Chinese lessons is enough to get by and learn the basics of Chinese, but to truly become fluent you need to be able to think in Chinese. This will allow you to have conversations with ease, read smoothly, and comprehensively understand natives. To do this, you need to go beyond just completing daily or weekly lessons.

We naturally translate in our heads because it’s viewed as the easiest way to learn the definitions needed when learning a language. This way of learning can actually hinder your skills and fluency later on. If your brain has to make neural connections between the word you’re learning, what it means in your native tongue, and the physical object the connection will not be nearly as strong. When you bypass the original translation between Chinese and your native language then there is a more basic and strong connection between just the Chinese vocabulary word and the tangible object.

start thinking in Chinese

In this blog post, you will learn the 4 important techniques to easily and naturally begin to speculate about the daily occurrences in your life. The best part is all of these techniques are supported and can be achieved through

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1. Surround yourself with Chinese

Surround Yourself

By surrounding yourself with Chinese constantly you will completely immerse yourself in the language. Without realizing it you’ll be learning pronunciation, sentence structures, grammar, and new vocabulary. You can play music in the background while you’re cooking or have a Chinese radio station on while you study. Immersion is a key factor with this learning process because it is one of the easiest things to do, but very effective. Even if you are not giving the program your full attention you will be learning.

One great feature of is the endless podcasts that are available to you. You can even download and listen to them on the go. These podcasts are interesting and are perfect for the intention of immersion, they are easy to listen to as background noise and are interesting enough to give your full attention. Many of them contain stories that you follow as you go through the lessons which push you to keep going.

2. Learn through observation
learn through observation

Learning through observation is the most natural way to learn. Observation is how we all learned our native languages as infants and it’s a wonder why we stop learning this way. If you have patience and learn through observation then Chinese words will have their own meanings rather than meanings in reference to your native language. Ideally, you should skip the bilingual dictionary and just buy a dictionary in Chinese. also offers the materials to learn this way. We have numerous video lessons which present situational usage of each word or phrase instead of just a direct translation. This holds true for many of our videos and how we teach Chinese.

3. Speak out loud to yourself
talk to yourself

Speaking to yourself in Chinese not only gets you in the mindset of Chinese, but also makes you listen to how you speak. It forces you to correct any errors with pronunciation and makes it easy to spot grammar mistakes. When you speak out loud talk about what you did that day and what you plan to do the next day. Your goal is to be the most comfortable speaking out loud and to easily create sentences. Once you feel comfortable talking to yourself start consciously thinking in your head about your daily activities and what is going on around you throughout the day.

With you start speaking right away, not only this, but they have you repeat words and conversations after a native Chinese speaker. This makes your pronunciation very accurate! With this help, you are on the fast path to making clear and complex sentences and then actively thinking about your day.

4. Practice daily

If you don’t practice daily then your progress will be greatly slowed. Many people are tempted to take the 20-30 minutes they should be practicing a day and practice 120 in one day and skip the other days. This isn’t nearly as effective because everyday you practice you are reinforcing the skills and knowledge you have learned. If you practice all in one day you don’t retain the information because the brain can realistically only focus for 30 minutes at most. If you’re studying for 120 minutes on the same subject little of the information will be absorbed. Studying everyday allows you to review material that you went over previous days and absorb a small amount of information at a time.

It’s tough to find motivation to study everyday, but can help. It’s easy to stay motivated with because we give you a set learning path, with this path we show how much progress you’ve made. This makes you stick to your goals and keep going!


Following the steps and having patience is the hardest part to achieving your goals, it’s not easy learning a new language. You are essentially teaching your brain to categorize the world in a completely new way. Stick with it and you can do it just remember the 4 tools I taught you today! With them, conversations, reading, and understanding will become much easier. The most important thing to remember is to use the tools that provides and you will be on your way to being fluent!

Learn Chinese With ChineseClass101 Today!

Your Learning, Streamlined – The New Lesson Interface

Click Here to Get Your All Access Pass at ChineseClass101

Your Learning, Streamlined – The New Lesson Interface

Your learning is about to get a whole lot easier.

More than ever, learners are choosing mobile as the platform to study Chinese. Mobile has always been a part of our DNA. We began our life on your iPod, and have remained by your side ever since.

In our 11th year, we’re returning to our roots as a way to learn Chinese on-the-go. How? With a brand-new lesson interface just for you.

Hint: It will launch in beta later this month!

If you want to secure access to this brand new upgrade, take advantage of the upcoming All Access Pass Sale! Click Here to Get 25% OFF All ChineseClass101 Subscriptions!

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It’s built from the ground-up to be a great experience on your phone, tablet, and computer.

You don’t have to compromise anymore.

Take the whole lesson experience with you wherever you go.

Our lessons are the heart of our learning system and now they’re the heart of the interface as well. Just tap the big play button to start learning right away.

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As you scroll through the lesson contents, the player sticks with you at the bottom of your screen.

Pause, rewind or adjust your speed and volume without losing your place.

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Navigation is also just a tap away.

Quickly jump to the dialogue, vocabulary, or lesson notes with our new lesson navigation bar. Available at the top of your screen wherever you are.

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And for the first time ever, you don’t need to download a PDF or jump between tabs to read the lesson notes and transcript. Read it all on your mobile browser as you listen.

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There are many more small improvements but the end result is this: a drastically improved lesson experience on mobile and desktop.

Spend less time squinting at your screen and more time reaching your Chinese goals.

The new lesson interface will launch in beta this month.

We can’t wait to hear what you think. Keep on studying!

Sneak peek! And if you take advantage of our upcoming 25% OFF All Access Pass Sale, you secure full access to this new update! You unlock our complete Chinese learning program – ALL Audio/Video Courses from Beginner to Advanced, Premium Study Tools, Bonus Apps and much more!

Click Here to Get 25% OFF All Plans until March 31st, 2017.

To your fluency,

Team ChineseClass101

P.S. Get 25% OFF ANY Plan! Master Chinese with YOUR All-Access Pass!

Want to learn Chinese fast with an ALL-ACCESS PASS to our entire learning system? Get 25% OFF Basic, Premium and Premium PLUS and unlock ALL audio/video lessons, study tools and exclusive apps that you’ll ever need. And with Premium PLUS, you get your own teacher! Just $3 a month & up to $137 in savings. Ends March 31st, 2017.

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The 5 Review Tactics that Will Sharpen Your Chinese

top 5 review tactics to boost your chinese

Have you ever returned to ChineseClass101 lessons you’ve completed?

Accessing a lesson once is enough to learn more Chinese. But to master what you’ve learned, to understand Chinese the second you hear it, to read with just a quick glance, and to speak smoothly, without thinking… you need to review.

In this blog post, you’ll learn the 5 review tactics and learning tools that will truly sharpen your Chinese (all of which I’ve been able to resources for on

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1. Listen to lines over and over again!

One of the best ways to learn Chinese (or any language) is to listen to native speakers over and over again until you understand what they are saying. By listening closely and often, you start to pick up the rhythm of a language and pronunciation from a native speaker. It’s not surprising, then, that Innovative Language offers a great line-by-line feature that lets you listen (and read along!) as many times as you’d like. I really recommend taking advantage of this feature— aside from moving to China, it is the best way to immerse yourself in the language.

2. Use a voice-recording tool to perfect pronunciation.

No one likes to hear themselves recorded, but it is a great way to perfect your pronunciation! Record yourself and compare against a fluent speaker. If you sound different, repeat after the fluent speaker until your pronunciation matches. Innovative Language has a great voice-recording feature that makes recording super easy. Never hesitate or be shy about your pronunciation again.

review tactics

3. Master recorded conversations.

Another excellent way to review your Chinese is to record conversations and go over them again and again until you have the entire conversation mastered and can repeat it line by line. Now, it might be kind of awkward trying to explain to someone why you are recording them speak so it is fortunate that Innovative Language has dialogues available for download right off of their website. I found these also come with transcripts of the entire conversation, which is great if you don’t want to spend tons of time translating the conversation yourself.

4. Use mobile devices to reinforce previously learned conversations.

It might sound redundant at this point, but constant review is the best, and only, way to perfect Chinese. In that spirit, I strongly recommend downloading the recorded dialogue to your mobile device and incorporating it into your music playlist. You’ll be amazed how effectively quick reviews throughout a day can reinforce what you’ve learned.

review tactics

Start Learning-on-the-Go with Your Free App

5. Read with line by line notes.

The guaranteed accurate transcript of the recorded dialogues is one of the most useful features Innovative Language offers. You can read along with a fluent speaker to really master pronunciation and natural conversation. You should start slow at first, then slowly increase the speed with each pass through. Every time you read through, your pronunciation will become more intuitive and your ability to understand fluent speakers will greatly increase.

Imagine a child who just learned how to read. At first, they slowly struggle through a sentence, but on the second try, they know what the most of the words sound like and so they read a bit faster and easier and on the third try, they read that sentence at normal, native speed.

review tactics

Improve Now your Reading Skills by Learning More Vocabulary

Using these five simple review techniques the most challenging parts of learning Chinese will become your areas of comfort. Conversations will no longer be excruciating and embarrassing, but rather offer a chance to show off your new skills and communicate with someone from a different culture in their natural language. You will be able to casually listen to Chinese and understand everything. Reading, too, will become natural and enjoyable.

Learning any language takes time and dedication. With the right focus, however, you can ensure the maximum impact of your efforts. Consistently listening to fluent speakers, recording your own voice and comparing it against fluent speakers, mastering conversations, listening to them on go, and following along with written transcripts will put you on the path to becoming fluent in Chinese. Learn from the mistakes that so many have made, myself included, don’t let what you’ve already learned slip away.

Review, review, review!

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Want to speak more Chinese? New ChineseClass101 lesson series start January 2nd!

Hi Listener,

Want to speak more Chinese in 2017?

You need exposure to native Chinese conversation from day 1. You need a native Chinese speaker to explain it all – the words, the grammar, and cultural nuances.

And you get all of that in every single ChineseClass101 lesson.

In fact, we’re starting up a brand new season just in time for the New Year!

Starting January 2nd, 2017, we’ll be publishing brand new seasons of Audio and Video Lessons to get you mastering Chinese the fast, fun and easy way! Want to know what you can expect?

Here’s ChineseClass101’s Lesson Schedule:

  • Monday:
    - Beginner - Must-Know Chinese Social Media Phrases

  • Tuesday:
    - Video Series - Listening Comprehension
    - Video Series - Chinese Words of the Week

  • Thursday:
    - Throwback Thursday Lessons (Get a free random lesson from the past sent directly to your e-mail inbox.)

  • Friday:
    - New Video Series

  • Saturday:
    - Video Series - Reading Comprehension

  • Sunday:
    - News & Announcement - Sunday News
    - Bonus Courses - Chinese Vocab Builder
  • Remember, ChineseClass101’s newest lessons are free for the first three weeks! You have three weeks worth of lessons at any given time. Oh, and the first 3 lessons of every series are free too!

    Check out the newest ChineseClass101 lessons for free!

    Click here to learn Chinese with the newest lessons for FREE!

    To your fluency!
    Team ChineseClass101

    How to Overcome the Top 4 Chinese Learning Fears

    Every Chinese learner will have these fears“I’m not good enough yet.” “I don’t think I’m making any progress.” “What if I never reach my goals?” Chinese learning fears – we all get them from time to time. What are yours? And are they worth being scared of?

    how to overcome learning fears

    In this blog post, we’re killing the top 4 Chinese learning fears – 1) what are the fears learners tend to have the most and 2) how you can overcome them!

    Here are the top 4 language learning fears according to our users:

    1. “I’m not good enough to start speaking yet.”

    Do you feel like you’re not good enough to start speaking yet? It’s a pretty common fear or misconception that most learners have. Here’s how you overcome it:

  • The best way to get good at speaking is to start speaking from day 1.
    So if you’re holding yourself back, because you think you’re not good enough, well, that’s exactly why you’re not good enough. You need to open your mouth and start talking!
  • If you think you’re not good enough, just learn Chinese lines you want to say!
    In our lessons, you get the exact phrases and scripts for introducing yourself making small talk, ordering food, expressing opinions, and much more! So if you think you’re not good enough, the lessons will give you the exact lines to say.
  • learn chinese

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    2. “I’m afraid I’ll never be fluent.”

    Many successful Chinese learners worried about that, only as a beginner. They started learning Chinese and, it’s funny because the better their Chinese got, the less they were worried about that. So, how can you overcome this?

  • You’ve got to set small, specific goals.
    Fluency is a big vague goal. Arguably, we don’t even speak fluent in our native language. There are over a million words and we use about 2,000 words only. So you should focus on smaller goals like being able to introduce yourself or having a 5-minute conversation. Or 10 minutes. Something you can measure so you know you reached it because you can’t really measure fluency. It’s a pretty vague goal! But you can measure small goals like having a 5-minute conversation. And as these small goals add up, you’ll be speaking very comfortably!
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    3. “I’m afraid that I’m not making any progress.”

    In other words, getting stuck. If you’re afraid you’re not making progress, there are two things you can do right now.

  • Use the dashboard to track your progress.
    If you need numbers to believe it, our dashboard tracks all the lessons you’ve completed and shows how much you’ve accomplished.
  • Try a harder lesson on the site.
    It sounds crazy and you might not understand it but you will in minutes. Our lessons come with line-by-line translations and the lesson hosts explain everything. THEN, you’ll be making progress because you now understand something you didn’t minutes ago.
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    4. “I’m afraid of not understanding anything I hear”.

    This is very common. You hear advanced grammar and vocabulary and it goes completely over your head. To beat this…

  • If you’re taking an advanced lesson, simply read along.
    Reading along with our line-by-line tool is the best way to instantly understand advanced conversations. The translations and scripts are right in front of you.
  • For real-life situations, learn useful phrases.
    Like “Can you say it more slowly?,” “Can you use simpler words?” or “I don’t understand what that meant.” There’s nothing wrong with saying that you didn’t understand something or with asking for help. And our Survival Phrases lessons cover must-know phrases like this.
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    So, these are the top 4 fears and how to overcome them. And if you want to have the perfect tools to overcome them, don’t forget to create your Free Lifetime Account at!

    3 Reasons Why Playing Games Helps You Learn Chinese Faster

    Discover 3 ways that Chinese learning games and video games can help you learn and master Chinese faster, retain more, and enhance your language skills.

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    Can You Learn Chinese Using Games?

    Yes, Chinese learning games and even video games can help you learn and master Chinese faster and improve overall comprehension. Research studies have concluded that video games enhance traditional learning methods and make mastering a new language like Chinese fun and exciting. Without the firm foundation in grammar and vocabulary provided by conventional learning programs, however, you will not be able to learn Chinese with games alone. But when you combine the solid educational foundation like you’ll get at ChineseClass101 with the benefits of Chinese learning games, you learn faster and retain more than with traditional learning alone.

    Let’s now take a look at three of the biggest benefits of using video games to learn Chinese:

    Video Games Help Improve Linguistic Skills and Cognitive Development

    When combined with a solid foundation in vocabulary and grammar, video games help students improve reading, comprehension, and even speaking skills. The results are even more pronounced in struggling students. According to a recent national survey, more than 78% of teachers noted that learning games, even video games, were effective in helping struggling students compensate for learning gaps in their traditional studies.

    So how do Chinese learning games, or even video games, help students improve their linguistic skills and cognitive development? The key is practice, practice, and more practice!
    Learning games and video games naturally require the integration of several linguistic skills including reading, listening, speaking, and even writing in some games. And by removing the fear of making mistakes so common in students in traditional classroom settings, students are free to practice the language and further develop their linguistic and cognitive abilities in the process.

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    Learning Games/Video Games Provide In-Context Learning

    Students naturally learn faster and comprehend more when they are forced to use the information often and in real-world situations, even the fake ones created by Chinese learning games and video games. Essentially, this is immersion-based learning or contextual learning very similar to what one experiences when living abroad and being forced to interact with people in another language. So by providing both context and constant feedback, video games allow students to actually use the knowledge they gain in classrooms or conventional study to learn and master Chinese or any new language faster.

    Chinese Learning Games Make Studying Fun and Alleviate Stress

    Homework, quizzes, tests, and even in-class assignments can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety in students, particularly those who may be struggling to keep up. This stress and anxiety can actually derail a student’s progress and cause them to feel isolated from their more successful peers. But video games and even most learning games are the great equalizer because they help alleviate stress, increase social engagement, and yes, even help students have fun while learning Chinese or any new language.
    In fact, research recently published in The Washington Post shows a wide range of health benefits from video games and learning games including the fact that they:

  • Help Reduce or Alleviate Symptoms of Depression
  • Help Reduce or Alleviate Symptoms of Insomnia
  • Help Alleviate Transitory Stress Symptoms
  • Scientists have indeed discovered that not only can you learn Chinese or any new language faster thanks to video games, they can also provide a wide range of potential health benefits as well. However, learning languages through video games alone is not really a feasible alternative to progressive, structured learning like you find in classrooms or programs like ChineseClass101.

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    The Limitations of Learning Languages Through Video Games

    While great supplemental learning tools, video games and even more formal learning games are simply no substitute for structured learning programs for two reasons:

  • Learning Games Not Designed to Provide a Foundation in Grammar or Vocabulary: Without the foundation provided by structured Chinese learning (classroom or online), video games or even language learning games only teach specific phrases and concepts. Now within the context of the video game, these phrases and concepts make sense but most would have little practical value in the real world.
  • Lessons Are Not Structured or Progressive in Nature: Structured learning requires students to be provided with basic building blocks of knowledge (like grammar or vocab lessons) that are then expanded upon in a progressive fashion until mastery. Video games and even many language learning games really only quiz and reinforce what students already know instead of providing structured lessons that can be built upon for future learning.
  • Chinese learning games and even video games are great supplemental tools to help students learn and master a language faster. Scientific studies and recent research reveal that video games can help contextualize formal lessons from structured learning, enhance linguistic skills, alleviate stress, and even provide a wide range of potential health benefits. However, learning languages through video games (even learning games) has limitations and is no substitute for structured lessons that provide a firm foundation in vocabulary and grammar.

    ChineseClass101 is the world’s most advanced online learning system with tons of HD video lessons created by real Chinese instructors. With more than 500 million lesson downloads and 10,000’s of success stories, ChineseClass101 can provide you with a world-class foundation in vocabulary and grammar.

    Combined with Chinese learning games, our cutting edge online language system can propel you to mastering the language faster, more easily, and at far less expense than traditional classroom instruction.

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