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Learning Chinese Through Comprehensible Input

My name is Ryan Arp. As Steve Kaufmann recommends in his Youtube videos: words, words, and more words!

 

I originate from a small farming community in Iowa. During my time (I am 26 years old now) at the University of Iowa, I befriended lots of foreign Chinese undergraduate students; it was through them that I was introduced to Chinese culture and, of course, the Chinese language.

Ryan Arp

Currently I live in Jiangsu Province in Mainland China. The city where I reside is called Changzhou (approximately halfway between Nanjing and Shanghai). I took 2 years worth of Chinese classes at the U of I, but, like many other people I know, after I left school I could only remember fragments of what I had learnt.

 

For the past 2 years I have been teaching English at a private language school for kids and, presently, at a university. I am around the Chinese language day in and day out, so I hoped I would make great strides in my Chinese level. I tried more traditional methods of language learning (classroom, grammar books, etc) but they weren’t yielding the results I had hoped for.

 

One day this May I was reading about Krashen’s comprehensible input hypothesis and, by chance, I stumbled upon Steve’s Youtube interview with him. It was from this chance encounter that I was introduced to LingQ.

 

Since June, I have been a member of the LingQ community and, starting around the same time I joined LingQ, I began receiving more and more compliments about my Chinese language skills.

ryan in China

I spend roughly three to five hours per day studying Chinese. I devote most of my time to reading and listening (top-down approach) along with some Anki flashcards (bottom-up approach; helps me remember tones) and, after making so much headway in my own learning, I recommend LingQ/Anki/comprehensible input to my college students, colleagues, and friends. LingQ offers tons of Chinese content which, coupled with LingQ’s learning tools, is very comprehensible and interesting; I am more motivated to learn Chinese as a result of LingQ’s quality content.

 

Last month I went back to Iowa and I was invited by my high school Spanish teacher to talk about my language learning. Her class follows a more traditional grammar, conjugation, speaking format, so I explained to the students about LingQ/Anki/comprehensible input. Base your studying around activities and topics that interest you.  If you enjoy learning the language, you’re more likely to stick with it for the long haul. At least one or two students seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. My old teacher and I also agreed motivation is one of the biggest hurdles to learning a language.

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