Do you have a problem

…remembering certain words in Mandarin, but easily learning other words? I’ve been studying Mandarin for nearly two years and some words just don’t “stick” in my brain. Most words/characters I can learn without problems, but the few that don’t seem to stick really bug me!

Anyone else experience this when learning Mandarin?

Also, one thing I have noticed is that learning Mandarin does seem to get easier after you get about 500-600 characters memorized. I find myself learning more and more words easier, since many of their components are words I already know.

Yeah, I have trouble with characters that have zillions of homophones, like anything pronounced ji2 :frowning: . And abstract concepts are always harder to remember than concrete and familiar ones. The key for me to overcome these difficulties is to write them on blank namecards (available at all stationery stores) and constantly pull them out and try to use them frequently until each becomes part of my natural vocabulary. Don’t get too frustrated – they’ll eventually sink in if you’re persistent in your efforts! :moo:

Yes, the flashcard method has proven to be very helpful lately. I don’t know why I didn’t consider that before. I took two semesters of beginning Mandarin at a local college, then decided to go it alone to continue my studies (with much help from my Taiwanese wife of course!). I goofed off for several months and forgot many characters. Now I have decided to get serious again about studying. Thank God I found a flashcard file on the internet that contained the exact set of characters from my first two semesters (same textbook) and all the characters from the next two semesters. I printed out the cards from the classes I had already taken, and put aside the cards I already knew, and put the ones I couldn’t immediately recognize in another pile. Then I keep going through the other pile until I learn every single character. That was about 600 characters and I finished those off about a month ago. The nice thing about the cards is that they are setup as two different Word documents. One side has just the Chinese (simplified and traditional) and the other side has the pinyin, English, and textbook lesson reference. Now every month I print off the next lesson’s characters and keep going through the cards until they are all learned 100%. This has really proven to speed up my recognition of characters. I hope that by the year’s end, I will get through all 1200+ characters on this flashcard set. Then I’ll create my own for the next books in the series (since I can’t find any free ones on the net).

You are right - persistence is definitely the key! If I slack off for even a short time, my memory quickly fades. It’s very hard when your living in the US and surrounded by so many daily distractions. Moving to Taiwan or China would help immensely - the total immersion would force me to learn quicker. But that’s another year or two from becoming a reality. Hopefully by then I’ll be close to fluent (I doubt it!).

Oh, there’s a very nice boxed set of 1000 flashcards available commercially, on namecard-sized cards. The index key (“radical” :x ) is in blue, and the rest of the character in black. It also provides handwritten and printed forms, simplified and regular, basic 詞, and pronunciation in Mandarin and Cantonese, and the stroke order is enumerated. The cards are plastic laminated for durability as well. I bought them in a popular 九龍 Kowloon bookstore in Hong Kong about 8 years ago, can’t remember the name at the moment, perhaps something like Times or Swanson or something??? It was west of the Tsimshatsui MTR station, near the intersection of Peking road and either Hankow or Lock Rd. It is entitled “Flash Cards, One Thousand Basic Chinese Characters”, and was put out by New Asia / Yale-in-China, Chinese Language Center, Chinese University of HK. You might write them for info, and let us all know what you find out. It was $168.oo HKD.