chinese vocabulary mnemonics

109. Making Mnemonics for Memorizing Chinese Words

Podcast Duration: 00:49:28

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The Mandarin Blueprint Podcast focuses primarily on The Mandarin Blueprint Method online curriculum. Creators Luke Neale & Phil Crimmins answer questions and comments, discuss topics related to China and Mandarin learning, and have special guests.

109. Making Mnemonics for Memorizing Chinese Words

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Hank Elliott on 用手机还是去银行寄钱

Oh man, Luke and Phil you guys are geniuses. This program is so helpful. After 5 years of trying to teach myself Chinese, I have hundreds of characters sort of memorized in just over a month and can read most of this first paragraph with no problem. It makes my brain buzz. What ancient Chinese medicine practitioners and taoist monks call the echoing valley between the halves of my brain is on fire and alive and growing. I’m 60 and have never had this level of intellectual high even when I studied differential equations and astrophysics. Thank you thank you!


Christine by Community

Hi there, 

so I had also been cruising through the course and almost at the end of level 30 (7 characters away).

But I have also reached a bit of a hiccup at the moment. I am finding that I have very poor recall of most of the stuff I learned in the past few levels (from level 26 to level 30).

I listen to the audio from the sentences and NOTHING is familiar, I also look at the sentences and I recognise that I SHOULD know what the character is, but I just can’t recall it. 

So I have almost made the decision (would like to have some comment/feedback on this) to maybe stop for a bit after the end of level 30 to spend some time JUST on reviewing the level 26 to 30 material – do a lot of reviews, go through the longer texts and dialogues, and generally just catch my breath before moving on.

Then, I might also move through the new material a bit slower as well, in order to embed the material better.

Or should I just power ahead and trust Anki to catch me up?

I had been doing on average about 100 characters per month, which equates to between 3 and 5 per day on average. But one needs to keep all the vocab in mind as well, that adds to the workload. And of course ALL the previous stuff as well that you need to remember just gets more and more as you go on.

Any thoughts? Opinions?


Alina Dana Coroian by Community

Hi there! I was wondering about those leech cards … Will they appear again after a time or do I have to unlock them somehow by myself? There are a few which really drain my patience but still I would like them to appear in Anki cards from time to time.

By the way, anyone has a special method to memorize words that your brain really refuses to memorize? One of my leech cards is for example “以为” (to think mistakenly). It is quite a long struggle, sometimes it seems to remain in my brain but after it disappears for a period from the current Anki cards when it appears again I will surely give a wrong answer.   (The same situation happens to me for the word and also for the sentences that contain this word).

Some of these words made of 2 characters are easy to remember if you know the components because the compound has some logic, but there are also some I do not manage to get any logic in them being together… For some similar cases (I have about 4-5 until now)  I managed to make up some kind of silly sentence that help me remember the meaning, but there are still a few (like this 以为 ) which are a continuous frustration for me.


Ric Santos on It’s a Word! 切

Thank you for answers. This system is really better than going to the university!


Nacho En on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 改变



Jason Pon on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 只好

Any difference between 只好 as an adverb and 得 as a verb for expressing ‘have to’?


Rick Angleland on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 生活

How does 生活 compare with 过日子 and 住 in meaning?


Sam Trifunovski on Self-Evaluation: What’s Your Chinese Level?

I’d say that my Chinese level is somewhere in between basic to intermediate. After learning it for around 3 years at High School, I feel quite comfortable instantly recognizing what certain characters mean and how they are depicted in script. Unfortunately, I didn’t use any advanced memory techniques during school, and instead committed characters to memory through brute force. anyway, I’m hoping to pick up from where I left off (High School is becoming gradually distant), and I intend to re-learn Chinese using your method which is far more comprehensive and reliable (and effective).


Carys Scott on Simple Final A: Yes or No Questions with 吗 ma5 & Answering “Yes”

Luke, can I check. The “tā” is pronounced “t-hah” but with a very silent and short h as it’s focus is the final a sound. Is that right?


Nacho En on Level 26 Complete

I just want to say to all the people who arrived here: You are breathtaking. You all are doing an incredible job, day by day, step by step. I don’t know you, but I’m proud that you reached to finish this level.


Benjamin Masters on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 干杯

I know that this is beyond the scope of this course, but do you guys have any advice on how to avoid drinking at business dinners in China?


Alex Sumray on Vocab Unlocked from 律

九折 is freaking me out…why would this mean 10% off!?


Redd-Louise Bick on Nasal Final ING (YING): 电影 diànyǐng,明天 míngtiān

Quick question maybe a stupid one but: why is the 1st tone over the “i” in jintian but over the “a” in mingtian just like in this vid? (the tian part i mean) Is their a rule? cheers Redd


Julie Hentschel Lund on It’s a Word! 也


How do I emphasise that 你 are, in fact, very fat?


Julie Hentschel Lund on Make a Movie 地

What’s the difference between 土 and 地, and 土地? Seems like the
meaning is the same in english translations


Foong Chee Birch on Self-Evaluation: What’s Your Chinese Level?

I think I am a beginner, although I understand some spoken Chinese, I am not able to hold a conversation properly. My primary aim is to be able to do that with the younger members of me family, There’s 4 generations, to be able to read and write would be wonderful; This is a new way of learning and i am slowly getting there.


William Beeman on 我家小狗臭臭

Is 臭臭 really “Stinky?” 🙂


Hollywood Eddie on Self-Evaluation: What’s Your Chinese Level?

I am dyslexic with ADHD that has been trying to learn for the past 5 years. I did 1 and half of classroom course in Shanghai.
Due to my laziness and distractions didn’t learn much. I tried learning on my own and tutored by a chinese friends,but nothing stuck. So I was say I am beginning/intermediate


Christopher Thompson on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 小姐

Several sources I have encountered have suggested that although
小姐 generally refers to a young woman and was traditionally an acceptable form of address for a young female, especially a stranger, the term has come to have the connotation, particularly in mainland China, of “prostitute” and should thus be avoided or, at the very least, used with caution. What is the situation with this term?

13 October, 2020