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Danyo Pang

Speak better Mandarin Chinese without years of study.

Daily insights read by 3500+ Chinese Speakers.

Featured Post

Why you shouldn’t just focus on listening.

Today I was watching a popular language YouTuber who said that beginners shouldn't start practicing speaking because it's not useful when your comprehension is limited. They suggested focusing only on listening practice instead. Here's what I think about that: I’m sure this approach has worked for many people. But I've also noticed that learners who follow this approach take a very long time and often burn out. The problem is that it assumes listening and speaking are separate skills when...

about 18 hours ago • 2 min read

A lot of learners ask me how to learn Chinese if they’re not in a Chinese environment. It’s not as easy but there is one trick I use all the time that helps a lot. Throughout my day while I say things and think in English, I ask myself, "Can I say this in Chinese?" This simple question helps me build a habit of applying the vocabulary I’ve learned to my life. For instance, if I’m listening to a podcast in English and they say something that resonates with me, I immediately think, "How would I...

2 days ago • 2 min read

Imagine trying to explain a beautiful Chinese idiom to someone who only speaks English. It's not easy, right? That’s because languages aren’t just about words; they’re about the imagery and feelings those words create. For example, I was learning Chinese today and when I came across this phrase, it stopped me in my tracks: Literally, it means "Use your own shoulders to hold up your own piece of sky." Stunning imagery right? Figuratively, it means that one should rely on one's own strength and...

3 days ago • 1 min read

Why you understand Chinese but can’t speak. Understanding but being unable to speak is a very common phenomenon among language learners. I was stuck in this stage for a long time. And I was frustrated for a long time! Until I realized something important… This is actually a good place to be. Because it means that I’m on the right path. The typical progression looks like this: Can’t Understand, Can’t Speak Can Understand, Can’t Speak Can Understand, Can Speak As a beginner, I always recommend...

4 days ago • 1 min read

I wanted to share something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: what it means to speak with confidence. It's not about never making mistakes. Instead, it’s about accepting that you will make mistakes and speaking anyway. Being fearless doesn’t mean you’re never scared. It means seeing the fear and going towards it anyway. The same goes for speaking confidently. When I accepted that I wouldn’t sound perfect but spoke anyway, this was when I saw the biggest improvement in my speaking. Why?...

5 days ago • 1 min read

Have you ever tried having a conversation with a group of Chinese speakers? It's challenging, isn't it? For me, it's much harder than speaking one-on-one with a Chinese speaker. There's a lot more going on, the pace is faster, and the topics are more varied. I often get frustrated with myself for not saying much in these group settings. But then I realized something: I don’t talk much in English group settings either! As an introvert, I prefer connecting on deeper topics with a few people,...

8 days ago • 1 min read

“Just think in Chinese” can be a bit like someone telling you, "Just be yourself”. It sounds nice, but it’s not very helpful. I know this advice comes from a good place. They want you to avoid the trap of constantly translating in your head because English and Chinese don’t translate directly well. But in the beginning, it’s hard to avoid thinking and translating in English. From my experience, the only true way to start "thinking in Chinese" is through immersion—listening to and absorbing...

9 days ago • 1 min read

I often get asked how to remember Chinese vocabulary and phrases more effectively. It’s a common challenge because Mandarin is so different from English with its tones, pronunciation, and characters. It's like learning to ride a bicycle for the first time when you've only ever walked. But here's a powerful strategy: deconstructing words and phrases into their component parts. Think about how we learned to ride a bike. We used training wheels to break down the complex task into manageable...

10 days ago • 1 min read

I tried using Anki flashcards early in my Chinese learning journey, but I couldn't stick with it. I found it too boring. I find it more fun to re-listen to a Chinese podcast or rewatch the original video. Similar to flashcards, this exposes me to repeated vocabulary, but it’s also in context, which makes a big difference. Context is crucial. Rather than reviewing isolated flashcards, context helps me form associations and anchors the words in my memory. This context can come from a sentence,...

11 days ago • 1 min read

The best way I improved my Chinese speaking was by having more conversations. And the best way to have more and better conversations is to have a great conversation starter. A good conversation starter lets the other person know you're there. A great conversation starter lets the other person feel that you’re both there together. It creates an instant connection and lowers their guard, making them more open and engaged. Think about it: a great conversation starter breaks the ice. It piques...

12 days ago • 1 min read
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