Forum Rocket Chinese Chinese Feedback and Comments Has anyone else gotten stuck on a lesson?

Has anyone else gotten stuck on a lesson?


I have tried over and over again to get past Chinese Level 1, Lesson 1.3, and I can't seem to do it. I simply can't remember the words. I've also gone over the lesson on time and dates several times. Does anyone have a suggestion for getting past a lesson you get stuck on (and consequently are sick of)? Thanks.


Hello Jeanne,   I know exactly what you are saying and I too will be waiting for a response on your query.   I am unsure as to whether to learn the audio by itself or the auio and writng together.  I get so far and wham - mental blockage!  
Today, I intend to start again from the begining (after a lengthy break) and sort myself out so I can get ahead.   Keep at it though Jeanne, it's a wonderful language.


Hi Carolyn, Thanks for responding. It's encouraging to know I'm not the only one. I have been Skyping with a girl in China, and she says I shouldn't try to learn the writing at the same time. Maybe that advice will help you.
Every time I talk with her I feel like I'm letting her down, because I can't remember what she has taught me or what I've learned here. I just wonder when it will stick and what I have to do to make it happen. Again, thanks for responding.


I will take your friend's advice and start again only with the audio lessons. My goal is to write and read Chinese but I understand and looking back I can see it was too much to absorb so I burned out.
We will wait and see if anyone else can give us advice on how to move forward Jeanne, but they will probably say it's just all a matter of repeating and practicing - something I guess we both already know.   Just don't give up and when you feel like you want to, remember me having the same struggles as you!   Race you to the last lesson!  :)


You sound like a lot of fun. Thanks for the encouragement! 


I think it would help you if you learn the numbers.  There is a survival kit lesson that covers that.  Then, it is easy to learn days and months since they incorporate numbers.  Also, I like to work through the corresponding "Language and Culture" lessons first before doing the "Interactive Audio" lesson.  They explain a lot of the grammatical aspects that appear in the lesson.  Finally, it is helpful to acquire outside references on Chinese and to read those in tandem.

Still, sometimes you just have to memorize and that often takes time.  Eventually you will get it provided you keep working at it.

nóng fū

Jeanne, When a person is learning a language with sounds that are new to them, they first must learn the sounds and fortunately for us the human brain is great at this job.  So, for a person just starting a foreign language, I'd suggest that they first concentrate on accepting each new sound as a valid sound (not noise) and practice verbally repeating that sound.  What this exercise is doing is building neural pathways that will process the new sounds for you.  After these initial neural connections have been made, then you can expand that neural network by connecting meanings and phonetic abstractions to each sound. It is very important to exercise all the newly constructed neural networks on a regular basis to maintain and strengthen them - so review often.

Good luck building those neural pathways.


Many years ago I learned Morse Code and just like another language it is a matter of learning the sounds. A child learns by hearing the sounds over and over and over again. This is why I would suggest you download the lesson(s) then copy them to your mobile phone music file in a playlist. Whenever you have a spare minute or ten minutes, or just laying in bed, play the it over and over and you may be surprised how much you will retain.  Good Luck.


Back to the beginning for me and I'll work through just following the sounds rather than trying to write and memorise the characters as well.  Thank you everyone.  It was actually nice to have contact with other people who are also learning Chinese.



I can fully sympathise with how difficult learning another language can be. Unfortunately, there is no magic answer. What I would suggest is that no matter what course you take, it will still no compare to immersion. Now, I know immersion and going to China is not feasible for many people but what you can do is make sure that your daily life involves as much Chinese as possible. This isn't as difficult as it may sound, for example
  • stick post it notes on all the objects in your house for which you have learned the Chinese (make sure to include characters as well as pinyin),
  • change your numbers on your clock to Chinese,
  • leave notes or questions around the house that you are likely to bump into during your day and which make you think (for example, 你今天打算做什么?/What are your plans for the day?) etc.
If you can't find the time (or let's face it, the energy) to sit down everyday and spend hours actively learning then try some of these tips above to passively learn and bring as much of the language into your daily routine.

I hope this helps and 加油!

   -   Lin Ping


Thank you everyone for the encouragement.  We'll get there, won't we Jeanne. As I begin the lessons again, I'm pleased with how much I have remembered and so now I can't wait to pass the barrier I came up against previously.  I have taken on board all the tips and look forward to keeping in contact through the Forum.


You are learning more than you think. We learn new information by placing it in a network of things that we already know. Chinese is difficult for English speakers because we have almost no existing mental network of information that supports the new material -- even though we could not recall all the items in our mental networks. When you work through a lesson, you place it into your mental network. Even if you can't recall the new information at first, it's still there, and each new thing you learn strengthens the connections to the information. It just takes time.

Connections always help for remembering things. For example: "Je m'appelle" (I call myself) in French means the same as "Ich heisse" (I am called) in German. "Wie geht es Ihnen" (how goes it for you) in German is the same as "Como vai ou senor" (how goes it for you) in Portuguese. "Schnee" (snow) in German doesn't mean the same as  "schnee" (two) in Hebrew, but they sound alike. Both Hebrew and Mandarin sometimes juxtapose words to indicate "is" and both have completed-action markers. The more things you have in your network, the easier it gets to learn new things. Everything you study goes into your network, even if you can't remember it at first. Just be patient.

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