Hey! My own study strategy? Well, since I started learning Chinese about a year ago, my strategy has been altered and refined quite a bit.
At first, I would just listen to Chinese via youtube, but that quickly got boring (and intimidating, as I couldn't understand what anybody was saying, anyway).
Then I bought a Chinese dictionary! That was great for building up my vocabulary. I would write down English sentences and then translate them into Chinese. If I didn't know how to say something, I would look it up and then it would stick in my mind (for the most part). As useful as having a broad vocabulary is, simply knowing the words alone is not enough and over time, this was becoming apparent.
Next, I MADE CHINESE FRIENDS! I found a website online where I posted my e-mail address and said I am an English speaker eager to meet Chinese people and learn about the language and culture(and of course, I return the favor). Now I have quite a few pen-pals with whom I speak just about every day via webcam. We never talk about the learning, just normal every day things. I learn by USING the language. At this point, we can speak about just about anything and I will be able to talk about it. Not only did this method help me to speak Chinese, but it allowed me to make some new friends. This is a great way to learn about the Chinese culture as well.
THEN I found C-Pod! At that point, I was an Elementary. I listened to the podcasts during the day, and at night, I would play them while I was sleeping. Somehow, I think that this subconsciously allowed me to store a lot of information. I still do this and I find it really does help. C-Pod is an EXCELLENT resource. This is #1 when it comes to usefulness and efficiency (and fun). Just listen and then SPEAK! You have to use the language or it just won't stick. A great way for me to use the language is to converse with the Chinese friends I have. I would recommend making Chinese friends to anybody who is learning Chinese. There is just no substitute.
Now, after about a year, I still listen to C-Pod, still speak to my Chinese friends, and if I don't know how to say a word, I look it up in my dictionary. If I have other questions, I ask one of my Chinese friends or C-Pod! This combination of actually taking in the language and then using it is the best way to learn, in my mind. I am so anxious to hear what works for all of you! Please, share! Thanks!
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