How Chinese People Learn English

Like 99% of Chinese students, I hate memorizing words through cruel methods. When I was young, I effortlessly learned my mother tongue without any pain or difficulty.

Therefore, during my impoverished primary school years, I never managed to remember a single word.

In reality, the truth is that I couldn’t remember words. No matter if you believe it or not, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t remember. Every time it was my turn to write on the blackboard, I had to carefully look left and right, copying one word at a time.

As a young person at that time, I was curious about why they could do it. It must be because their methods were incompatible with my brain.

Fortunately, I came across a different method in a reference book, where a former top student declared that she also didn’t memorize words. All she did was repeat the NCE100 out loud many times.

Hmm, not bad. So I tried it, and this method helped me a lot. It allowed me to achieve a fairly decent score on the college entrance examination and pass CET6 in university. Sometimes, I even knew what I was reading.

Before the IELTS, all the previous English exams were just a joke.

And there’s also a blind spot that I recently realized: exams are just exams, and we should focus on mastering the key points and leaving as soon as possible.

Before this, I firmly believed that as long as my true ability improved, I could handle exams without any extra effort, just like doing practice papers every day.

However, in reality, this requires a person’s quality to be very high, far exceeding the requirements of the exams. It is an endless road.

From the first encounter with English until now, 14 years have passed. A few months ago, after communicating with the dormitory manager, I felt that I had only taken a small step.

Now I know that language is more like a human instinct. As babies grow up, the neurons in our brains are pruned. This is because, according to evolutionary psychology, our ancestors didn’t need to learn another language when they were young.

But we are living in modern society now. To my knowledge, there are only two methods that sound reasonable and, more importantly, economical.

  1. Start using your English
  2. Lai Shixiong’s American Phonetics
  4. American accent training
  5. Read at least 10 original English books each year
  6. A Practical Guide to Learning English
  7. Learn 600 GRE words daily
  8. Repeat according to the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve
  9. Strengthen reading skills
  10. Past exam papers

Now, ironically enough, the second method has brought me back to square one: I have to memorize words!

But this time, there is at least one difference - I am choosing to do it out of my own free will.

Translated by gpt-3.5-turbo