20 July 2008

Mandarin cheat sheet

This Wednesday, I’m starting the second stage of my Mandarin lessons at USyd’s CCE. This ten week course will focus on relearning all the stuff we covered in the first term, but this time to teach us how to read and write the Chinese characters we learned to speak in the beginners’ class.

When learning languages, I find it easiest when I noticed patterns in the language. One I noticed early on in Chinese is the wo/wode/women/womende (me/my/us/our) pattern for forming plural and possessive pronouns. I wrote down a table in my note book with this pattern and others like it, putting opposites together, related words, that sort of thing.

I thought these notes might be useful to others who are starting to learn Chinese, so I’ve written them up as a Mandarin cheat sheet. This isn’t a thorough coverage of everything we learned in the first ten weeks, just a list of the words I needed to reference fairly frequently.

The simplified Chinese characters I’ve included were looked up in Wiktionary, which has superb coverage of basic Chinese words in its English section. I’ll be adding characters for the rest of the words and correcting any mistakes in my Wiktionary searching over the next ten weeks.