3 killers of effective Chinese language learning & how to defeat them | Victory via Chinestory

GIST: Many people living overseas attempted to learn Chinese with great enthusiasm but little results. This explainer video tracks down 3 main killers of effective Chinese language learning, including 1) boring learning experience, 2) inappropriate methodology, 3) cognitive inefficiency. An innovative Chinese learning methodology Chinestory – learn Chinese through Pictures and Stories was introduced. Examples were provided.

Chinestory: Join Mark Zuckerberg, Malia Obama, Kevin Rudd, and millions of people from around the world in learning Chinese. 


It opens the door for you to connect to 20% of the world's population either for business, culture or leisure. 


Learner: Bla blab la… Excuse me~ but I heard that many times already. That is indeed a glorious outcome, but trust me, I have tried very… hard. All I have experienced so far is plain old boring and not much results.


Chinestory: You’re not alone. Hundreds and thousands of learners of Chinese as a foreign language, either from a heritage family or a complete foreigner, at one point felt a dead end, as they didn’t see their learning go anywhere.  Yet before you give up on this journey, we invite you to take a break for just 5 minutes to consider what are the true enemies that hold you back from moving forward in victory.


Learner: Enemies? I’m not aware of any. I thought this was my problem.


Chinestory: According to our research, there are the three main killers of effective Chinese language learning in the overseas environment.


Chinestory:  Killer No.1: Boring learning experience. Remember a time when you opened up your first Chinese language book, and found pages densely covered with square-shaped characters, all looking like a piece of tofu, yet scarily different from each other. You didn’t know where to look or begin, felt intimidated and overwhelmed.

Learner: Yes. That’s exactly how I felt. I remember being bored to death at Chinese Sunday school and doodling to stay awake.


“everything looks like a squared tofu, I don’t know where to look and how to start”


“I have to doodle to keep myself awake…”

Chinestory: Chinestory makes learning Chinese fun for you. It introduces the Chinese characters to you one by one through artfully illustrated pictures and an engaging storyline.  You will follow Yi (literally meaning one), a teenage boy on his adventure to discover the ancient scripts, his friends and foes, his true self and his destiny.


Learner: Teenage boy? Adventure? That sounds so cool! I can’t wait to go on with Yi’s adventure. But, Is Yi going to make me to practice those boring conversation drills? Look, this is again my cheat sheet. I’ve transcribed a whole page of conversation drills into Chinese pinyin to practice in class, only to find I didn’t recognize them 3 months later. What a waste of time and brain cells.


Chinestory: This is because if sound bites don’t get anchored in meaning, those un-stimulated memory cells will be sent to storage or get permanently deleted.  That is Killer No.2: Inappropriate pedagogy.


Learner: I remember when I was in pre-school, I used to recite a lot of poems like 床前明月光, 疑是地上霜. But now they’re all gone.


Chinestroy: It’s very typical for 5-year-old pre-schoolers to memorize these famous Tang poem by heart, but as time progresses, memory will fade away quickly.


 Chinestory makes learning Chinese meaningful, not just learning by rote. Here’s how. A word or character in any language has three key components built in: the look, the sound, and the meaning. In an alphabet language such as English, the look is linked to the sound. For example, when you see the word banana, you can pretty much figure out how to pronounce it “ba-na-na”. However, in Chinese, it’s the look and the meaning that are directly linked together. For example, the pictographic character 日resembles the actual shape and look of the sun, with a black spot in the middle to represent the heat center. When 日 rise above the horizon line, it becomes a new character 旦, meaning sunrise.  Hence, presenting the Chinese language in a visual way instead of the traditional audio-lingua approach makes sense. In Chinestory, every single character is artfully illustrated, restoring the abstract pictographic symbols to the corresponding real life objects for everyone in the world to enjoy and to savor.


Learner: Wow. That really makes sense. I definitely should give it a try. I’ve been practicing writing the Chinese characters for example, peach, watermelon, apple, , grandma, uncle, sister for twenty times each. Every time I thought I’d mastered the writing of the character. But when I read it with other characters together, I lost it again. Sometimes I felt trapped in a maze of Chinese characters. I wish there were some kind of treasure map to guide me.


Chinesetory: There is. It’s designed to vanquish Killer No. 3: Cognitive inefficiency

 Imagine you’re holding a thread in your hand. The thread will take you to characters of the same etymological origin one by one.


Continuing with the example above, 日 is the pictogram for the sun, one of the 280 essential singles created in the Oracle Bone Script dated 1500 B.C. still in use today. 旦 is the indicative for sun rise as日, the sun is rising above a line, referring to the horizon. 坦 is the compound character made up of the earth radical 土, and 旦, meaning the light from旦, the sunrise beaming through土, the vast and open land, meaning flat, open. Figuratively, it means someone being frank, and honest with no hidden agenda. 日, the sun plus月, the moon is明, meaning bright. A person, represented by the single person radical, sleeps under the sky, as represented by the horizontal line, with star, indicated by a dot, and the moon as companion, represented by the moon radical. This whole picturesque imagery is 夜, meaning night.


Learner: Because they share the same etymological origin, I can easily identify this unique building block 日 in the writing of all these characters. It is my visual clue to recognize even unfamiliar characters.


Chinestory: You want to try a new characters see if you can unlock it?


Learner: Sure!


Chinestory: How about 晶, 昌?


Learner: I see two日 and three日.


Chinestory: Two日 together is prosperous as日 is the sun and sun brings us energy. Three日 shine together glitteringly, it is crystal.


Learner: Oh, Wow. That’s amazing! How can I forget that?  


Chinestory: Now you see? Chinestory is a solution of “learn one know ten”, therefore cognitively efficient and effective. I have to point out that these are not mnemonic tricks, but based on solid etymological research of the Oracle Bone Script.


Learner: Now I know the three main killer of effective Chinese learning. I should definitely get help from Chinestory.


Chinestory: Yes. Chinestory shows you art, the art of illustration, the art of abstracting real world objects into pictographic symbols. Chinestory shows you history, the fascinating origin of language as the necessity of human expression, the history of the ancient Chinese Oracle Bone Script dated 1500B.C. Chinestory builds your language sense from its root to its extended branches like a giant tree of semantics. Chinestory makes learning Chinese not only fun, meaningful, but long-lasting. Want to learn Chinese? Remember: Victory via Chinestory.  


Learner: Yipii Bye!




Dr. Haiyan FanComment