Hi, I've been using MIT OCW Chinese and I'm now on my 3rd semester. I've wrote a few suggestions for those just starting off. Check out -
Guideline to Learning Chinese: A Self Learner's Perspective
MIT 21F.101 Chinese I (OCW)
I got my questions answered at brainly.com in under 10 minutes. Go to brainly.com now for free help!
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Thanks for the advice. If you have any other suggestions about how best to study, please let me know. Working on the audio tracks, it is amazingly difficult to differentiate between similar words at times. Any advice (other than practice)?
What words do you have difficulties with in particular?
Though I can't tell you 'the best way' to study. I can let you know what worked for me.
What I did was drill the consonant chart (3.1 of the sounds and symbols section http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/foreign-languages-and-literatures/21f-101-chinese-i-regular-spring-2006/readings/soundsandsymbls3.pdf )
Once I got a few of the consonant vowel combos down, I used VLC media player to loop the combos I was having difficulties with. I remember having the three sounds : "ji, qi, xi' looped for a good 5 minutes or something, just reading the pinyin as the sounds went.
Pay special attention to rows 3,4,5. These are the most difficult ones. Check the notes in section 3.2 of the above pdf.
I will say do not ignore learning the tones. And when you start to read the characters, do learn the tones with the character.
And did you check the companion website? There are some good activities on there.
That sounds like what I've been doing. I went a little more low tech with flash cards, but the initials are becoming much clearer now. I have been doing the activities with the audio clips on the companion website, too.