Welcome to the I’m Learning Mandarin Podcast, now available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google and Anchor. The goal of this podcast is to help you learn how to learn Chinese. Each episode I discuss a new topic, drawing on my experience and guest interviews. Please subscribe on your favoured podcast provider and leave a review. To suggest ideas for future episodes please get in touch via the contact page.

Overcoming the Intermediate Plateau I'm Learning Mandarin

As an intermediate Mandarin learner, one of the main challenges I face is acquiring lower frequency words. In any language the most frequent few thousand words account for over 90% of words used in daily conversation. Mandarin is no different and, although I typically understand the vast majority of words in a sentence, it’s those rarer words which can throw me off.  So how can we overcome the intermediate plateau and learn enough low frequency words to become proficient?  That’s where today’s guest Andrew Methven comes in. Andrew first started learning Chinese whilst on a backpacking trip in China in 2002-03. He eventually went on to train as a translator and interpreter, before joining a startup in the UK focussed on China. More recently, he started the newsletter: https://slowchinese.substack.com designed to help intermediate and advanced learners fill in key gaps in the vocabulary.  Every week Andrew shares new words, phrases, idioms, colloquialisms and slang with the goal of helping readers maintain and improve their Chinese, while staying up to date with latest language trends. Andrew’s experiences of backpacking through China as well as his insights into overcoming the long intermediate plateau are fascinating and insightful. 
  1. Overcoming the Intermediate Plateau
  2. Learning Mandarin in a Global Pandemic
  3. Learning Characters with Hack Chinese
  4. Acquiring Mandarin: Naturalistic Immersion or Structured Learning?
  5. Rethinking How You Learn Mandarin Tones