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    Hi guys;

    So I am learning Mandarin, progressively working from most common to least common words. Drift on and off to it, but my long term retention seems to be fairly strong; characters/words learnt several months ago; still sticking.

    But I must admit, it does feel very mechanical, this rote learning, taking ten chars in sequence, then learning stroke order, pronunciation, pinyin et al.

    Was wondering if any native Mandarin/Hakka (sp?)/Cantonese speakers had any advice/input regarding how they learned?

    I am also delibrately making up sentences with the limited vocab I have, even if it is pretty childish/grammatically poor, because least it helps to cement the word in my brain

    When I was growing up, I spoke English and a little bit of Hakka, which I picked up from my family. When I went to university, I started to watch to Taiwanese dramas and listen to Mandarin music, so I picked up a bit of Mandarin vocab. My first job, I was mainly working with Chinese people. The management spoke Cantonese and Hakka (so I learnt a bit more Hakka!) and the staff spoke Mandarin, so I learnt a bit more Mandarin.
    My boyfriend is from China, and I have learnt more Mandarin from talking to him, and I can speak in proper sentences now. (In turn, he has learn English from me!)

    Learning and writing characters is very difficult. I am learning how to speak first. I think if you surround yourself with Chinese speaking people, read Chinese and watch dramas and look at the words/translations you can pick it up quicker. Some phone apps let you revise and teach Chinese phrases (written and spoken). If you revise and use it more frequently, you are less likely to forget it.
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