*** This is an updated version of the old deck posted for free on Ankiweb. The update features a much better ordering of sentences, improved grammar notes, the original higher-quality audio, decks for Simplified/Traditional Hanzi, and fixes many errors. ***
From absolute beginner to advanced, this Mandarin Chinese learning system delivers daily, sentence-based, "bite sized" learning.
For every sentence:
- See the Hanzi
- See the Pinyin
- See the English
- Hear the Chinese, spoken by a native speaker
Learn new words by seeing them in context. Learn grammar patterns naturally, by learning real sentences. Learn Hanzi naturally, by seeing the same characters again and again. Learn proper pronuncation by mimicking the Chinese speaker.
"Spaced repetition" (SRS) is a great tool for learning a language, but you need good study material. This is a deck of over 8000 sentences (2-4 years worth of learning), for use with free Anki SRS software. The sentences are ordered incrementally, with each new sentence introducing only 1 or 2 new words. The pace of learning is controlled by setting how many new sentences are introduced each day. Start from the beginning, or in the middle according to your level. With SRS, you only spend time reviewing what you were about to forget, and you will be amazed at how much you can learn in just 15 minutes a day.
The Anki software runs on PC, Mac, Linux, Android and iPhone (Android supported for free with AnkiDroid; iPhone supported with purchase of AnkiMobile).
Some reviews from around the web:
The Anki deck Chinese Spoon Fed is seriously amazing! A deck with Chinese to English, English to Chinese, Audio, and ordered so characters are introduced in order of most frequent, and only 1 or 2 at a time? Wow. This deck is amazing! I found it really accessible and it’s the best resource I’ve used so far. I hope it continues being so awesome as I progress through it!
- reddit user
The spoon fed Chinese deck is way better than Rosetta Stone.- ycombinator user
The best deck I have ever used. Gargantuan work must have been put in this.
- AnkiWeb review
This deck is better than most professional learning services I have tried out (partly due to SRS being awesome in general).
- AnkiWeb review
I'm just getting started with this deck, but my my is it ever great! The algorithmic sorting described in the blurb above is what really makes the difference. All too often sentences are sorted by size, not necessarily ease. The fact that each new card contains only one or two new words means that these sentences can be used to: A. See grammar in context and even better B. Actually learn new words! Random sentences often present too many words at once that are new, and detract from learning - with these there is no problem of that kind, all sentences are, at ANY given point, well within your range of ability, less one or two words - not 5, 6, 7. This a great. Thank you so much.
- AnkiWeb review
I am an idiot for language, but using only this deck, studying 15 minutes a day, within 1 year I mastered 2200 cards and was fluent in daily-life conversations.
- Me (deck creator)
1. Visit http://www.ankisrs.net to download and install Anki for your platform
2. Start Anki, and click File menu, Import. Select the APKG file.
3. Click the deck to begin studying. The key to success is to study consistently, finishing your assigned cards every day.
To configure Anki:
On the Anki home screen, click the gear button next to the deck and click "options". The most important option is "New cards/day". It defaults to 20 cards (which means 10 new sentences per day). I recommend a setting from 5-20. If you miss studying some days, and have too many reviews, you can set new cards to 0 until you catch up again.
Also on the "new cards" tab, make sure that "show new cards in the order added" is set (this should be the default).
On the reviews tab, I recommend setting "Easy Bonus" to 200% or 300%. Due to the incremental ordering of the sentences, there is little need to revisit easy cards as you get deeper into the deck.
By default, there is a 1-second pause before the audio plays, to give you a moment to test your Hanzi recognition. This may be changed according to your preference. In "Tools" menu, "Manage Note Types", click "SpoonFedNote" and click "Cards". In Card 1, front template, you may remove the [sound:_silence.mp3] line to remove the pause. Or, you may duplicate the line 2 or more times, for a longer pause.
If you are an absolute beginner, you should first spend some time to learn basic pinyin and the sounds of Chinese. There are many excellent online resources, for example,
If you are more advanced, you can open the card browser, sort by "Due" column and delete some cards from the beginning, according to your level.
Practice the pronunciation! As you study each card, speak out load, mimicking the native speaker.
Some cards have grammar notes:
(also ... ) note indicates another correct way to speak something in Chinese.
(no ... ) note indicates an incorrect way of speaking, a common mistake.
(literally .... ) note indicates the literal translation, to help you see how Chinese words are put together to create meaning.