How To Learn Chinese Vocabulary Fast For Beginners (5 Popular Methods)

How To Learn Chinese Vocabulary Fast For Beginners (5 Popular Methods)

Spoken by 921 million native speakers and nearly 200 million second-language speakers, Chinese is the second most spoken language in the world to English. As China’s economy is growing fast, learning Chinese can open doors of opportunities for foreigners. 

Chinese, as many people know, is not an easy language to learn and master. The major difference between Chinese and English is that Chinese uses characters while English words use the alphabet. This results in learning Chinese vocabulary being an uphill battle for any Roman-alphabet language user. 

The rise of technology has become a lifesaver for beginners who wish to learn Chinese. Today, beginners don’t only want to learn Chinese vocabulary. They want to learn Chinese fast.

To help you achieve your dream goal, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of 5 popular methods to learn Chinese vocabulary fast, why they help you study fast and how fast you can learn using these methods.

1. Flashcards

This is one of the classic study tools to build and improve memory through practiced information retrieval. Flashcards promote study through active recall which allows learners to consolidate the information to their long-term memory.

Flashcards can be either physical or digital. They are typically two-sided, with the question on one side and the answer on the other side. 

Flashcards are often used by young students in elementary and junior high schools, but they also benefit adult learners. Kids use flashcards to read and count; high school students use them to memorize exam material; adults use them to learn foreign languages. 

Thanks to its universal use, many beginners choose flashcards to start their learning instead of reading lists of vocabulary from a book. This easy-to-follow step-by-step approach has been tested and enjoyed by millions of learners.  

Why do flashcards help you study Chinese vocabulary fast?

There’s a famous saying “good things come in small packages” and it turns out to be true for your study. As a language beginner, bite-sized learning style is an approach that helps a learner to engage with the lesson to the fullest. The more you are involved in your study, the more you can learn. And that’s how numerous beginners learn Chinese vocabulary fast by implementing this method. 

A pack of flashcards is handy, whether it comes in paper or digital form. You can reach out to the source at any time and any place, thus making your study routine unbreakable. 

How fast can you learn with flashcards?

If you wish to find out what your Chinese level is and whether your study is making progress, consider taking an HSK vocabulary test for beginners. As a beginner-level student in Chinese, you must acquire vocabulary knowledge from 500 to 2245 words.

If you plan to study 10 to 50 flashcards a day, it will take  2 to 5 months to achieve the goal.

You can make your paper flashcards or learn with digital flashcards on Quizlet, Brainscape,…

2. Youtube video channels  

Youtube, one of the largest video-sharing platforms, has millions of videos. From education to entertainment, you name it, and youtube has it! As a beneficiary, all you need to do is subscribe to some channels and get a free source of lessons from them.

Why do Youtube channels help you study Chinese vocabulary fast?

Youtube channels have a variety of topics. There’s an estimate of a thousand free lessons for Chinese beginners which will help you build a large wordbook and master it in a short time. You can do research and find your interesting topics and channels to follow. 

Language videos showcase real-world speech and situations in Chinese. When the content is put next to the context, it’ll take you little effort to memorize. That’s how beginners study Chinese fast with zero stress. 

How fast can you learn with Youtube channels?

Chinese language beginners study a 50-to-100 video course which often takes up approximately three months.

Everyday Chinese and Learn Chinese with are popular channels among learners with half-million subscribers on each channel.

3. Reading

According to one study, mental stimulation like reading can help protect memory and thinking skills, thus boosting your study process. Some language learners believe that whoever starts learning a new language should build a long vocabulary list at the very first. If you have a long list of vocabulary, you’ll be able to read books and understand what they mean. Yet, there’re some kinds of books for beginners that don’t require too much vocabulary. All you have to do is doing research to find some that fit you either in the bookstore or on the Internet. 

Why does reading help you study Chinese vocabulary fast?

Reading material can come in different forms. It can be a tweet on social media, a short online conversation, or a short story from textbooks. You can pick your favorite source and learn from that. 

If you’re looking for digestible content to start with, consider social media. Social media often has the most digestible content coming with a neat layout, and attractive vocabulary. They’re simply daily used words and sure you can add many to your vocabulary book.

How fast can you learn by reading?

Chinese language beginners who absorb one or two pieces of content per day need about six months to enhance their vocabulary list.

Twitter, Weibo, and other chat forums have new content every day.

4. Offline language class

Before the technology era, there were few to no sources for learning a new language. Language classes and language centers were popular and they were the first choice for many learners. Though technology has significantly changed the game, some learners still prefer offline language classes over online technology.

Why does offline language class help you study Chinese vocabulary fast?

As a beginner in Chinese who wishes to learn vocabulary fast, there’s nothing more rewarding than passing the HSK vocabulary test in only six months. Offline language classes can help you to get the job done. With personalized consultancy and a tailored program that meets the needs of each learner, you can reach your goal within the time given.

Everyone knows “practice makes perfect”. Some learners make the excuse that they fail to practice regularly due to the lack of environment and study partners. If you study at an offline language class, this problem evaporates, just like what Captain Jack Sparrow once said “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.”

How fast can you learn with offline language class?

Classes for beginners at language centers vary from six months to a year. 

5. Online app/software 

The rise of technology grants people a greater capacity for what they can do. Learning a new language with the aid of an online app or software is no exception. Millions of learners in the world have been using this method and making great progress which inspires other learners to follow in their footsteps.

Why does an online app/software help you learn Chinese vocabulary fast?

When you start using an app, you can set a goal and make your lessons personalized. In this way, beginners have full control over their learning path, thus making them learn as much vocabulary as possible in a defined time.

Apps always feature metrics to calculate your learning progress. Thanks to this, beginners know where they are in their learning journey and how they can learn vocabulary faster. 

How fast can you learn with an online app?

A beginner personalized plan often ranges from 6 months to a year either with a 5-minute lesson or a 20-minute lesson per day.

Chinese language app Pandanese, which implements the neuroscience-based Spaced Repetition System algorithm, prompts you to review radicals, characters, and vocabulary at specific times to maximize retention.


With a comprehensive list of methods and benefits, each learner can figure out what method best fits their plans and goals. Online apps which offer personalized plans, calculated progress, and predictable improvement are increasing their popularity. They’re proving themselves a  method for all kinds of language learners.

With all the fantastic listed features, Pandanese is also committed to helping people learn more than 6,000 hanzi and vocabulary in a single year. To expand your vocabulary fast, sign up for a free plan today!

The easiest way to learn Chinese & build vocabulary

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