how can i *relearn* chinese?
October 15, 2021 11:49 AM   Subscribe

i'm was born in china, lived there until i was 10, and have since then have completely forgotten how to write/read chinese (though the times i've spent traveling in china, i started picking up reading comprehension quickly), have a very limited vocabulary, but...really advanced every day speaking comprehension...i would really like to relearn chinese, but it feels like taking a beginner's class isn't the right move when i have this old, forgotten foundation... any ideas on the best ways for me to pick up my lost language?
posted by lightgray to Education (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was never as fluent as you, but I find that 1:1 classes on, which are relatively affordable due to the currency conversion and where I could drive how the classes went, work great for me. Feel free to MeMail me.
posted by watermelon at 12:02 PM on October 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

A useful term that may aid your search is "heritage speaker."
posted by kickingtheground at 12:10 PM on October 15, 2021 [10 favorites]

One of my friends swears by, which can be pretty affordable depending on the tutor you pick.

For self-study...honestly I haven't made the effort yet, but in the past when I've tried to re-learn more of my language (Cantonese), I immerse myself in the media - songs, TV shows, movies, etc. For reading, I've found reading manga/manwha translated into Chinese very helpful.
posted by toastyk at 12:41 PM on October 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

If you can find children's books, they are a good way to stimulate the old memory. Limited vocabulary and simple syntax may make re-immersion easier.
posted by SPrintF at 1:26 PM on October 15, 2021

Possibly an adult school with Beginning Mandarin nearby? Sign up and see how you do. If it fills in your gaps, go on to Beginning 1 or 2 at the community college. Supplement with YouTube. You may have to repeat one of these classes; that's okay, don't get discouraged. But you may recover your language quickly enough to skip a level.

However if you're Cantonese, more difficult finding those classes.
posted by Rash at 1:28 PM on October 15, 2021

A useful term that may aid your search is "heritage speaker."

If your location is accurate, both Queens College and Brooklyn College offer Chinese for heritage speakers.
posted by hoyland at 3:15 PM on October 15, 2021 [4 favorites]

When I was in college, they offered mandarin 1 and mandarin 1.5 (for people with prior exposure). You may be able to find something similar if it's a large group in your area, but even there the class was extremely mixed - it included folks who'd taken a class before but had no casual exposure, folks who could speak at a 5-year-old level or understand only household words but not read at all, etc. You would probably be better served to start with a non-beginner course from your description, or run through the beginning textbook at your own pace and then join in a higher-level class wherever you start hitting unfamiliar material.
posted by Lady Li at 8:20 AM on October 17, 2021

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