My one year of Chinese at Lingq

On October 8, 2016 I upgraded to premium so today wraps up my one year of Lingqing Chinese. I would like to make a small recap and maybe encourage others in their learning.

First things first, I started with Chinese in March 2015 right after coming to China. After half a year I got together with my Chinese girlfriend and have been together with her until now. These two facts have been undeniably useful, even though I started to fully appreciate them probably after a year of getting the basics down and especially the huge investment in learning the 3000 or so characters.

But the funny thing is that until last year’s spring I was hardly able to read a random word in chinese, or say a meaningful sentence. After around 6 months of just making some mediocre progress, I started with Lingq.

Today, one year later, I just finished being a co-host (主持人) at a 7-day international festival in Kunming, speaking Chinese on stage in front of crowds of native speakers. What a way to celebrate my one year of progress thanks to Lingq!
Here’s a short video of me yesterday night:

I was terrified the day before the festival, because noone really told me how to do it and I had to figure out what to say just on the spot. (Plus I was sent 3 pages of formal text just the day before the opening ceremony, which all the important officials were going to attend and have their own speeches). It wasn’t that good the first two days, but then I got into it and even though my speeches were prerehearsed, there were a few moments of improvisation and generally I am more than happy with the result.

So getting back to my one year of lingqing, I am so delighted… the sometimes 10 hour-a-day-sessions and effort have payed off. I would never be able to do this festival without it.
I guess my message is: go at it, go at it like crazy and it will pay off!:slight_smile:

I am by no means done yet, I still want to dedicate at least an additional half year of my main focus to Chinese, to finish reading a few more books and watching several more TV shows. But it is so much easier and more enjoyable now!

Good luck everyone.


Congratulations. I assume you’re still maintaining your streak? Are you at 180 or so? I’d be curious to know how much text (or time) you have to read to find 13 new words. I imagine you’ve got days where you don’t have time to do anything but the minimum, right?

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Insane motivation! Congrats!

Heck… yea!


Yes I still maintain it, 179 now:) I am doing something else now, just copying my comment from another post: “I am going through sth I discovered works best for me, a kind of a rapid massive exposure to new words and lingqs, by going through texts before fully reading them. So what I did and am almost finished with is that I imported all Hsk 4,5,6,6+ articles from The chairmans bao until September 2017 (a bit over 1500 of them), and all Upper Intermediate and Advanced lessons of Chinesepod until August 2017 (a bit over 900 podcasts). I am almost finished with the words and will move on to going through the full texts and audio. Before, I had read maybe 400 chairman Bao articles already and listened to around 100 upper intermediate chinesepod lessons. For the past month when I went through the rest I always looked just at the context of the word, to understand it’s meaning and purpose in a sentence or a phrase, so I haven’t actually read the whole text. I found that this way I improve much faster, going through the same thing twice, first just exposure to the most important parts of the text that I might not understand yet and when coming back some time later (a week or a month), I still have very good retention, and thus I am just refreshing it and decreasing the load on my brain when reading the whole thing. So in the next two months of the challenge I will probably only convert lingqs into known words and ramp up the actual reading, but maybe spice it up with reading bits of some books that I already have in my library (around 20 of them). I am definitely not doing it just to earn coins :D”

Now that I will just read lessons with no new words in it, it is going to be hard to maintain a streak (13 lingqs), but I will probably find the words in some other imported books. I guess that’s why earning a certain amount of coins per day to continue the streak would be a better requirement. It happened to me while reading my first book ever on Lingq three months ago that even though I was just converting blue words as I was reading chapter by chapter, I read maybe 6000 words and made only 15-20 lingqs.


That is so amazing! Thank you for sharing!!!

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Thank you for sharing! I cannot understand yet what you say, except a few words. I started a year ago from scratch as well, but only in my evening hours. One year later, I still cannot understand a random text, are only at about HSK 3 level. But still, I understand so much more from the language than a year ago. It will be feasible to continue to progress, only it will take time. I started to read a graded reader, only 400 words. I can read that slowly, by looking up characters, so I am quite happy with that. The ultimate goal will be talking, listening, reading a book, reading websites. At the moment, the amount of characters overwhelm me, and even recognizing the known ones to me is difficult, they are overshadowed by the unknown ones.


Just keep going, sometimes I still have this feeling too

Congratulations. I have the desire of learning Chinese mandarin as well, but for now, I’m still mastering my English and my Spanish, but next year I’ll start it. Thanks for your motivation

Very impressive. Unfortunately I have not been able to maintain my motivation as you have in the last 6 months or so. I have been in China for just over a month now and it has helped my listening and speaking skills for sure, but definitely not as much as I had hoped initially as my work input has been incredibly mediocre compared to last year. Keep hustling dude

Keep grinding, my motivation has been low at times too, but that’s when my habit of everyday study kept me going. I feel weird and restless until I do sth on Lingq for the day.

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I can say that my success in learning Chinese consisted of the following. 1) Major investment in learning the first 1000 characters using flash cards, then writing out long hand any new character I met. 2) Lots of reading, lots, using readers with glossaries. This is now replaced by LingQ. 3) Lots of listening, not only to content of interest, but also listening to Xiangsheng 相声 comic dialogues, even if I didn’t understand. That gave me the rhythm of the language and the tones. Today I could find the transcripts to read on LingQ which would make the experience even better. Good luck to you!!! And thanks for the Slovak mini stories. They were great!


Very nice and congratulations. This post has motivated me to try and do more Korean. Thank you and keep going, learning is an ever continuing process.


Hi Branicek,
Congratulations also from my side! It is always very motivating to here the stories of others.
Also a very big thank you for the Slovak mini stories. Sometimes, I think I’m feeling a bit alone - seems to be not so many learners of your language. For me, your input is very useful. Dakujem velmi pekne!

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I’m really glad the stories are useful to you :smiley: Nie je za čo!

I really appreciate this thread for a number of reasons, obvious and not obvious. I like how the original poster references his learning of 3,000 characters. It is further confirmation of something you said years ago in a video regarding knowing the first 1,000 with your teachers great handwritten flash cards, and then the next 3,000 so you have 4,000 characters (I think) in total in order to read.

I wills someday screw up the courage to tackle Chinese and/or Russian.

Also, PS: I always wondered what word you were saying in all those vids: Xiangsheng 相声 now I know. :slight_smile:

Yes, 3000 is the minimum for casual reading and now after having read around 1 million words (lingq or outside), I can say that about 3000-4000 is what’s commonly used, but new characters are very easy to pick up after knowing the first 3000 (or 1500 for that matter), as they all contain already known elements. Pro tip: I have never written characters long hand when studying them, yet I am able to recall them easily (and write them long hand if necessary, albeit clumsily as that definitely needs practice. But I believe it doesn’t help when initially learning them and skipping this is an incredible time-saver and brain capacity saver). That’s all thanks to being patient with Heisig’s ‘Remembering simplified hanzi 1 and 2’ for about half a year (plus their pinyin, all with flashcards on memrise). I have personal ministories or mini images in my mind for every single character.

I had no Heisig and no computers/iPads etc when I learned characters. There may in fact be better ways to learn them today.

Congrat’z. I like seeing your motivation. Helps make me want to set my goals higher and higher . Your Chinese sounded very good in the video as well. Very nice opportunity you had there. I’m sure it was fun !

I wonder what is your opinion, would it be possible to reach A2 or weak B1 level in Chinese (only passive skills) merely spending time at Lingq with no other resources at all? Of course I mean intense Lingq study with no quick deadline, so maybe in two or three years.