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The Four Rules to Learning Chinese Mandarin

There is no secret formula of course in mastering a new language. However, based on my experience, the following 4 factors are key to learning Chinese successfully.

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I'm frankly not a big fan of it.

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Will learning Chinese help my career?

I've received various forms of this question by email. The answer: it depends. Putting "basic Chinese" as a skill on your resume won't land you that dream job you couldn't have gotten otherwise.

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Chinese Mandarin Characters

The Best Way to Learn Chinese Mandarin

To learn Chinese Mandarin effectively and to make the best use of your time, it's best to learn smart.


If you learn the 50 most commonly used Chinese words, then you will have a 34% understanding of the Chinese language. 100 words gives you 42% and 200 words 55%.




-50 Most Common Chinese Characters

1 de [grammatical particle]
2 yi One
3 shi To be
4 bu No
5 le, liao After completion, end/finish
6 ren Person/people
7 wo Me
8 zai At
9 you Have
10 ta Him
11 zhe This
12 zhong Middle
13 da Big
14 lai Come
15 shang Above
16 guo Country
17 ge [measure word]
18 dao Arrive
19 shuo Say
20 men [pluralizing for nouns]
21 wei For
22 zi Child
23 he Together
24 ni You
25 di Earth, Ground
26 chu Go out
27 dao Path
28 ye Also
29 shi Time/Period
30 nian Year
31 de Get
32 jiu Only, Just
33 na That
34 yao Want
35 xia Under, Below
36 yi Take
37 sheng Give birth
38 hui Able
39 zi From
40 zhao Touch
41 qu to go
42 zhi [indicates possession]
43 guo Pass
44 jia Home
45 xue Study
46 dui Correct
47 ke May
48 ta She, her
49 li Inside
50 hou After