Thursday, November 30, 2023



My background

You have no reason to care to know anything about me, but since this is a site that holds my observations and opinions, it might be helpful to know a little about what forms the basis of my opinions. This is not my “day job”. All opinions, helpful as well as off-the-wall, are mine and are formed based on my experience and my own background.

Learning Chinese is a hobby for me. I’m not working toward a degree, although I’ll probably end up taking some of the HSK tests. Maybe someday it will be useful in a job, but right now all of my Chinese colleagues speak infinitely better English than I speak Chinese. My native language is (American) English. Although I’ve learned bits and pieces of other languages, this is only the second foreign language that I’m putting a large effort into learning. I am fluent in German, which I learned under much different circumstances. It is often interesting to compare the two languages and methods of learning.

What is my current Chinese ability?

As of early 2021, I am about halfway through the HSK 3 course. I have not actually taken the official HSK 1 and HSK 2 tests, but I did take practice tests that indicated I would have passed them. I had intended on taking the HSK 2 test, but 2020 happened. I do hope to take the HSK 3 test some time in 2021, if it’s possible. So, I am not far removed from those ultra-beginning stages when learning Chinese seems like an almost insurmountable task. I’m still excited about learning the language and I hope to help keep you interested, too.

Update: I passed the HSK 3 test in June of 2021!

Update: As of mid-2024, I'm probably around HSK 4, but I haven't tried any tests.

Why start this site?

I’m an adult and not in school, so any time I spend comes from my oh-so precious free time. Why should I spend that free time on a website that will likely be seen by a total of 3 people? That’s an excellent question. I’m glad you asked. Anyway…. There are many, many tools and methods out there to help you learn Chinese. I’ve tried many of them. Some are very effective, some less so. Some resources cost a pretty penny (or yuan?), others are free. All require time from you, which is, of course, not in infinite supply, either. I hope by offering up my experiences to you, you can make better choices in where you spend your time and money. If I’m not successful at that, I’m sorry. Here’s a video of a talking raven playing a piano as consolation.

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