Interview with An Advanced-Level Chinese Learner-Part I

Generally speaking, knowing how to “fish” is usually more important than how many “fish” you get. In explanation, “method” is the key part in doing a lot of things, such as learning languages. It is also useful for you to know what other successful language learners do when they learn a new language or even several new languages. 

Aaron & His Favorite Sport, Bowling

Aaron & His Favorite Sport, Bowling

In today’s post, my friend Aaron Miller, an Asian-born-American, who is known as the “grammar editor” among the Chinese students, will share with us his experience learning Chinese, Cantonese and a little Korean.

As a native Chinese speaker, I was pretty surprised by Aaron’s Chinese level and his language talents at the first time when I met him and heard him speak. Here are the first part of recordings I got during the interview with him.

Q01. Aaron, can you greet our readers with the several languages you can speak?

Q02. Languages are usually considered as the indicators of different cultures. Since you are such an expert in learning foreign languages, I guess the readers must be really curious about what kind of background you come from that makes you so good at languages?

A Screen Shot of Aaron's Hometown, Angeles City, Philippines, on Google Map

A Screen Shot of Aaron's Hometown, Angeles City, Philippines, on Google Map

(Click the Above Image for Detailed Map)

Q03. What is the reason that made you choose Chinese as you major here in the University of Florida? Up till now, how long have you been a Chinese learner?

Q04. As a lot of Chinese learners complain, Chinese is one of the most difficult languages in the world. Do you think so as well? Do you have your own method to conquer this problem?

Q05. Who teaches (or taught) you Chinese? Where do they come from? What kind of learning materials have you been using? 

Here are the screenshots for the textbooks Aaron has been using for his Chinese study.

Textbook for Level II

Textbook for Level II

Textbook for Level I

Textbook for Level I

Qo6. At the baby level of your Chinese, how did your teacher(s) do to guide your learning tour? And what method are you using at this level?

“Just have fun with it” is what impressed me the most in Aaron’s talking. Indeed. Interest is the most necessary and effective motivation in doing and succeeding in one thing. One will never do something well if he finds the thing boring. Neither can he do it well if he “hates” the thing. 

So, play with Chinese and try to get the most fun out of it. If you can manage to do that, you will make a good Chinese learner.

Please come back and check out for the second part of my interview with the advanced-level Chinese learner, Aaron Miller!

A Quiet Corner at 5141 SW 91st Way, Gainesville, FL.

A Quiet Corner at 5141 SW 91st Way, Gainesville, FL.

Got more interesting stories of Chinese learners or your own experience learning Chinese to share with us?
Know more useful and efficient ways of Chinese learning?
Your comments and ideas are warmly welcomed from the bottom of my heart!
by Xuan♥.
two wands

5 DON’TS in Chinese Learning


Don’t waste your life on trying some so-called “fancy” learning methods and strategies and ignore the basic language learning approach – repetition.

“Repetition” is the golden rule. There is no tricks or shortcuts in language learning. I know “repetition” is somewhat, or pretty much, boring and time-consuming. And sometimes you can’t even feel your progress. However, I can guarantee you nothing but that you will make it to a higher level after you survive every bottleneck period.

 “Practice makes perfect” is cliché. But the saying sells itself.


Don’t measure What U Learn with How Fast U Learn.

Learning speed varies among different age groups, between different genders, and among an individual’s different time periods of the day.

Don’t get too excited when you finish a day’s learning within half of the time as usual.

Don’t get too frustrated sometime when you can’t go on with the day’s learning.

Everything will be fine as long as you stick onto the learning and never give up!


Don’t lose your perseverance when intimidated by the pop-up learning barriers.

Language learning is not done within one day or a short period of time. Monster difficulties will company you every day during your learning. You’ll always have to keep that in mind.

You may burn the roof of your house before you learn to cook.

You may fall off your bike millions of times before you learn how to ride it.

You will have a long way to go before you master a new skill, from which you will benefit instead of really getting hurt.

Well. Here’s another cozy choice — simply stop reading this post, close the tab and go out have fun. I guess that might not be your choice, is it?


Don’t merely learn rather than putting what you learn into practice.

The purpose why we learn a language is to master it, use it and communicate with it. So it is necessary and best to figure out how to learn and use it under practical settings.

We have a phrase for some English learners in China, “dumb English”, which refers to the phenomenon that a lot of English learners are pretty good at reading and writing, however, without the ability to SPEAK, just like a “dumb” person.

I guess you don’t want to be a dumb Chinese speaker. Am I right?


Don’t forget about the power of listening practice.

We are born with ears, and that’s one of the many ways languages make their first debut around us.

Will you be curious when you hear people around you speak another language?

Have you ever tried to decipher the “code” and figure out what they are talking about?

You hear Chinese even before you learn it, and you can learn faster as you listen more. Try some Chinese audio/video podcasts, Chinese pop songs, Chinese movies (you can hide the subtitles if you’d like) and keep this as a everyday tradition. I don’t think there’s a necessity for me to tell you what will happen.

Now can you hear the sound you speaking fluent Chinese haunting around your head?