Welcome to the official website and blog of Encoding Chinese!
The articles in this blog are dedicated to learning Chinese as well as moving to, living in, and working in China. Since the website and blog both started recently, the articles are still few, but we will be adding more all the time. This first article will give you a little insight into our book, our blog, and the website’s useful content.
Encoding Chinese is a method. The core concepts are 1) faster learning, 2) better learning, and 3) longer remembering. When we say ‘faster learning’ we are referring to the fact that, in the past, it would generally take years for the average person to get to any real level of proficiency with the language. By ‘years’ I don’t mean one or two. Anyone who speaks decent Chinese has had to put in a lot of effort. The ‘learn Chinese Quick’ schemes are all just that–schemes. If it were really possible to learn Chinese in a few months and with little effort, it wouldn’t be rated as one of the most difficult languages in the world. Effort is required.
Most of the people I know who speak really good Chinese have been involved at various levels of learning the language for 5-10 years or more. While that’s great for them because they’ve already put in the time, that’s not good news for new learners. In this fast paced world, and with China continuing to increase it’s influence in the world, people need to get to a functional level much faster than that.
This book has been a project of over four years of tedious work, all designed to save you time and frustration in your Chinese learning. The contents are primarily built around making associations and remembering using the memory palace system.
If you’ve studied Chinese in the past or are studying now, you know that the biggest challenge of this language is remembering the seemingly infinite amount of details that comes with learning new words. The methods explained in the book, some in use for well over a thousand years, are putting and end to that challenge. Now the norm for Chinese learners using this method is to add 25 or more new words to their vocabulary every week, on a 1/2 to one hour a day study routine. What’s more amazing is that this includes the ability to read and write each new word learned. Many who learned Chinese in the past never bothered to learn to read or write because of the difficulty.
Another benefit in the book, besides the methodology, is the type of vocabulary lists it contains. Primarily, the book contains a list of 1200 most frequently used characters, as well as hundreds of common vocabulary words and phrases. By learning more commonly used words and characters, you quickly bring your functional language ability up, resulting in your being able to read, write, and speak much earlier than you would using any other type of word lists. By combining such lists with the increased learning ability of encoding and the memory palace retention system, Chinese learning speeds are being increased to a point never before achievable.
RECOGNIZE 40% OF WHAT YOU READ IN CHINESE AFTER JUST ONE MONTH
Just to give you an idea how wonderful frequency lists are, think about this: learning just the first 100 characters on our list will put you at an approximately 42% recognition level when reading common content material. At only 5 new words a day (with weekends off or for review only), a very easily achievable number, a person could reach this level in the first month of learning Chinese. Some people do 10 per day in the beginning. Pretty sweet, not to mention encouraging and motivating. On top of that, you would also have the ability to write those one hundred characters. Impressive. If you continued at that same rate for just half a year (5 per day, not counting weekends), your reading recognition percent would be about 80%. If you wanted to really get serious about it and had the time to study an hour or two a day you could possibly do the same in half that time. This had been virtually impossible in the past. Thanks to the application of these methods directly to Chinese, along with the nice techno tools available these days, the speed at which a person can learn Chinese continues to go up every year.
The blog exists for two primary purposes. One is to give suggestions to learners of Chinese on improving their study, particularly when using encoding and other memory techniques. Soon we will be starting a ‘word-a-week’. This feature will show the encoding method applied to one word in full detail. If you’re uncertain how the method works or if this style of learning is for you, the word a week should help you understand and decide. Some will be character studies, some will be vocabulary only studies, without the character. This is because some people want to learn to speak Chinese but not learn reading and writing. If you want to know more about that that, you can check out the blog, “Do I Have to Learn Characters?”
The other purpose of this blog is to help people who are interested in living in China to understand more about moving, living, work, and visa issues. As visa rules and regulations change from time to time, this can be useful for people outside China to know how to prepare. We will be talking to people from different countries to find out about visa and regulations specific to their country. As you probably know, the rules and costs for visas and etc. are different for each country. Cost of living, culture issues, and other daily experiences are also going to be topics discussed.
Finally we want to mention what else you’ll find on the website besides the blog and the book. The primary benefit to Chinese learners is the page called ‘Resources’. This page contains a few valuable PDF’s that anyone, users of the encoding method or not, can use to improve their studying. Besides the full HSK vocabulary list from the Chinese Ministry of Education (along with some explanation about the HSK test) there is a practice writing sheet and a 12 page booklet explaining in detail how to properly write characters.
There are links to things outside the website that can also be helpful, including Chinese grammar books and what we think is the best Chinese dictionary on the market today. At the bottom of that page are five extremely interesting videos that will give you more insight into encoding and the memory palace, and how they work.
Of course, all of this is just the beginning. Since we have been focusing on getting the book done, the content on the site is a little light at the moment. Don’t worry though, more content will be added weekly, and every time we find things we think will be useful we will put them up as soon as possible.