The quickest proven way to improve your Chinese listening skills
Jul 1, 2020 22:43
  • BECKY123
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  • Join Date: Mar 19, 2019
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Like most Chinese language learners, many of my students have difficulty with listening comprehension in the beginning.

Since it’s difficult for non-advanced-level students to clearly distinguish each Chinese word, the quickest way to improve listening skills is to learn to instead listen for the keywords in the topic or sentences. Here are 3 ways I have used to help my students efficiently pick out keywords.

1. Learn common Chinese sentence patterns:

● Sentences with “是 (shì)”
wǒ shì Dora.
I am Dora.

“wǒ” means “I/me”, “shì” means “to be”, “equals to”, or “is/am/are”. We can use this sentence structure to introduce our name, nationality and so on.

wǒ yào kāfēi.
I want coffee.

● “Yes / no” questions with “吗 (ma)”
nǐ shì zhōnɡ ɡuó rén mɑ?
Are you Chinese?

“ma” is a question word that we put at the end of the sentences to make a ‘yes or no’ question.

2. Pay more attention to the nouns and verbs in sentences.
Normally, nouns and verbs provide the most useful information on a topic.
Nouns have four main characteristics:

● The majority of the time, they are modified by a measure word.

yí ɡè pínɡɡuǒ.
One apple.

Grammar: Number + measure word + noun
● They can act as a subject, an object or a complement,
but never as a result. A noun can occasionally be adverbial, but not often.

1)pínɡɡuǒ hěn hǎo chī.
Apples are delicious

● They may not be modified by the negative adverb “不 (bù)”.
● They may not be reduplicated (unless it’s for a “cutesy” effect, usually when speaking with small kids).

There are five main characteristics of verbs in Chinese:
● The main function of verbs is to be in the predicate of a sentence.
● The majority of Chinese verbs are transitive, which means they take an object.

wǒ yǒu yì zhī bǐ.
I have a pen.

● Verbs CAN be negated by the adverb “不 (bù)”.
However, other than verbs of emotion,
they CANNOT be modified by “很 (hěn).”

1)wǒ bù hē kāfēi. (CORRECT)
我不喝咖啡。 (CORRECT)
I don’t drink coffee.

2)wǒ hěn hē kā fēi. (INCORRECT)

3.Memorize high frequency vocabulary used in daily conversation.

● Personal Pronouns: 你 (nǐ), 我 (wǒ), 她/他/它 (tā)


1)wǒ shì zhōnɡ ɡuó rén.
I am Chinese.

2)nǐ shì měi ɡuó rén.
You are American.

● “是 (shì)” and “的 (de)” may be used in almost every Chinese conversation.

1)zhè shì pínɡɡuǒ.
This is an apple.

2)zhè shì wǒ de nǚér.
This is my daughter.

Of course, if you want to be able to fully understand native speakers, you still need to practice with full conversations in different contexts

If interested to join a group for learning Chinese, add wechat: jenniferzhu6

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