How to Learn to Read Chinese Quickly

Posted by Lilian Li on 10/11/2015 11:44 PM 718

how to read chinese quickly

Everyone knows that learning to read Chinese is not a simple task, but is it possible to learn to read Chinese quickly? Given the sheer number of characters, it is improbable that a foreign speaker will learn to read characters quickly. However, learning to read pinyin does offer the Chinese language student an opportunity to begin reading and communicating quickly.

It is important to know the sounds and blended sounds of pinyin syllables.  For example: yao and you. Many beginners are confused by this and often make mistakes with this. Obviously, when we read yao, the mouth is bigger than when you read you. Another example, si and shi, which a flat tongue, another one is retroflex. When we read these two syllables, the tongue is at a different place. If you can not distinguish well when you reading them, it is likely you will make a lot of mistakes.

Chinese has four tones, and neutral tone. Each character has its own tone, some even have two or three. Of course, for many learners, to master the most popular tone is the most important thing. For example, qī shí and qí shí, yú and yǔ. As we can see, qī has the first tone here, the pronunciation of this is relatively stable, there is no rock fall down, if we can use the pitch of the music to show this, is a low pitch. And qí is a pronunciation with the second tone. Relatively comparing to the first tone, it rise to a higher pitch. If we grasp this and pronounce accurately, we can know qí shí means “ actually ”, and qī shí means “ seventy ”. As for yǔ ( with third tone ) and yú ( with second tone ), if we want to eat fish, which one we must choose to say? Of course is yú .(Actually for this, we have a full range of educational services, even if you have no experience, we can also help you to start learning the basics of the alphabet! )

Here are some tips to improve your reading speed:

1. Avoid making sounds. If you want to improve reading speed, the first thing you have to do is learn to read silently. Studies show that the speed of reading aloud is about 200 words per minute. Yet reading silently will be around 800 words per minute, four times that of reading aloud.

2. Reduce the fixation point and shorten stop time. In the process of reading, eyes make a small jerky movement, called saccadic movement, as they move from one fixation point to the next – from one word to the next. Some research shows that the time taken by saccadic movement accounts for only 10% of total reading time, while the time that eyes stay on the fixation point accounts for 90% of the total time. So the trick to “speed reading” is to move the eyes quickly across the text, not stopping to fixate on each word. In effect, the eyes serve kind of as a camera, with the image impacting the brain. Contrast this with reading aloud to actually hear the words.

3. Avoid regression. Regression refers to eyes going past a fixation point then coming back again. The more you re-read the passage, the slower your reading speed will be. Therefore, you must work hard to overcome the regression problem. Generally speaking, the emergence of regression is due to a lack of confidence.

4. Quick scan. If you don’t need to know every detail of what you read, then scan quickly for key information.

5. Skip reading. This means to skip some irrelevant parts and go straight to key content. There are a few methods: You can scan the title, headings, and boldface key points...these kind of things normally tend to be the main content, central theme; or you can read according to the key words of the main text ; or you can skip from the beginning to the end of the chapter and read the first sentence and last sentence of each paragraph or tail, which are often the key points of an argument.

6. Guess read. If you encounter words you don’t know, try to figure them out by the context of the sentence and paragraph before looking them up in the dictionary.

Above all, you also need a quiet environment for effective reading. Master the principle of “first slow, then quick.” Start slowly by reading the introduction first, then speed up to scan for general meaning. Next, use skip reading, reading a few lines of each passage with one review; don’t go back. Mentally connect each section that you read as you go through to grasp the general content in a short time. Is it too hard for you to read Chinese all by yourself? Book a free Chinese class now and let our teachers help you!

About The Author

Lilian Li

Lilian has a master’s degree in linguistics and didactics from Rennes University in France. An expert in linguistics and educational psychology, she has taught Chinese as a foreign language for several years, primarily in France. Her classes follow a logical and thorough path to ensure students build a methodology of learning that will continue to help them improve their language ability. She likes jogging, swimming, partying, and hang out with friends! Learn Chinese online with Lilian Li >>

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