I have been taking Mandarin classes at university. Due to illness I have missed a lot and fallen way behind. Now I wish to continue learning on my own.

  1. I find it very hard to remember the characters. Because I am a senior, is there any hope, or am I too old to learn and remember the characters? Are there resources that simplify this? These are the texts we were using:

    • Integrated Chinese Textbook Simplified Character 中文听说读写 (3rd Edition)
      ( Level 1, Part 1)

    • Integrated Chinese Workbook Simplified Character 中文听说读写 (3rd Edition) (Level 1, Part 1)

    • Integrated Chinese Character Book Simplified and Traditional Characters 中文听说读写 (3rd Edition) (Level 1, Part 1)

  2. I lack the opportunity to interact with Mandarin-speaking individuals. What are good online resources for hearing Mandarin spoken, so that I can become more aware of how to speak and pronounce it correctly?

Thank you.

  • 2
    As your question is specific to your situation, maybe it's better to ask your tutor. Anyway for question 1: How do you remember English words? Maybe some by rote, some by roots, and some by imaginable connections. It's similar for Chinese characters: you have to remember some by rote, and then learn components to know how a character is constructed (unlike English, because Chinese characters are simplified a lot, the construction would differ from its true etymology, but never mind, the "wrongly described" construction still helps to remember). Flash cards are often helpful too.
    – Stan
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 7:48
  • 1
    If your skills are still elementary, you should not waste much time on watching TV shows, as you won't understand too much. Stick with your text books audio material and eventually other audio that is targeting your level. They are not much exciting, but they are appropriate to your skills and absorb them as fast as you can. The best way a native speaker could help you is drilling pronunciation with reading along some text and correcting your pronunciation, if you care about proper pronunciation and tones. If you only have audio, repeat out load, record yourself and listen back.
    – imrek
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 14:19
  • some online radio stations,such as rci, rfa, voa, have the same news reports both in written and spoken form,imandarinpod similarly has 听新闻学汉语 (spoken at 2 speeds), and there are audiobook sites, generally not providing written texts, which however often can be found by separate online search, 有线上广播电台比如rci、rfa、voa用口头及书面形式的同一新闻报告,同样imandarinpod有"听新闻学汉语"节目(以2种速度说话)也有有声小说网站,虽然一般不提供书面文本,但是后者用线上搜索通常会找到的
    – user6065
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 21:18

2 Answers 2


There is a really good podcast from Taiwan that I like. I think you can try listening to it if you want more "exposure" to the language:



You can try chinesebrowser which annotates pinyin in realtime as you browse across the web. You can listen to yuedu.fm (there is a link in the app on the front page) where you can follow the text and listen to spoken text). Listen to the same text a few times and you will gradually get assimilated. You can also listen to music video on youtube and follow the lyrics with pinyin. Chinesebrowser (see google app store or chinesebrowser.com) also has an integrated chinese-english dictionary which will allow you to look up meanings of words quickly and seemlessly within the browser. Hope that helps.

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