How to make Chinese learning more enjoyable through link word and story telling methods

Learning Chinese is a marathon rather than a sprint, which means Chinese learners are expected to put an effort into refining their Chinese language skills on a regular basis in order to achieve their final learning goals. Nevertheless, Chinese learning ( ) can be tedious in that there are numerous grammar points and rules ( ) that students need to remember at elementary and intermediate levels. In addition, vocabulary learning can also be a challenge for many students as Chinese words are not presented in letters. Here we would like to give a detailed introduction to two innovative language teaching methods that are designed to make Chinese learning more enjoyable.

Link Word Method

One of the main problems that many Chinese learners are faced with is how to effectively memorize new vocabulary words. The Chinese language is quite different from European languages in terms of several aspects, including word formation. An ordinary Chinese word usually consists of one or two Chinese characters, behind which there is often a certain logic related to the meaning of the word. However, memorizing the meaning of each separate character contained in a Chinese word might not be the best approach in order for beginners to efficiently expand their vocabulary range. To a certain extent, beginners are more susceptible to sounds when it comes to learning new words. Link Word is a method that takes this factor into account.

The essence of the Link Word method lies in the similarity between a Chinese word and an associated English word in terms of their pronunciation. The prerequisite for the Link Word method to be effective is that the two chosen words need to be “linked” to each other through a sentence containing the Chinese word itself and an English word with a similar pronunciation. Therefore, this method aims to help Chinese learners improve their ability to memorize new words by laying stress on how they are pronounced. Let's take a look at the following example to see how it works:


Julie shì zhù lǐ.

 The meaning of this sentence is "Julie is an assistant". The learning objective in terms of this sentence is to memorize the word "助理 zhù lǐ", which means "assistant". The pronunciation of this word is very similar to that of the English name "Julie". Therefore, these two words are chosen to be included in the same sentence to help students learn to pronounce this word and hence remember its meaning through a simple English sentence.


Story Telling Method

Many Chinese learners think it's important to apply what they've learned in class to real-life situations. However, it's not easy for them to conduct conversations on different topics (especially when they're related to academic or professional purposes) in that they need to consider the correct use of sentence structures and choose the appropriate words.

Despite the fact that practice makes perfect, rote learning is not the remedy for Chinese learners to improve their speaking skills. Furthermore, it will make the whole learning process long and monotonous. What could make Chinese learning more enjoyable is to make short stories using some of the words learned in the past, through which a student's speaking skills and summarizing ability will be gradually improved.

The story telling method is very flexible as students can think of their own scenario and add whatever elements they like to their storyline. Sometimes they are given several pictures and asked to make a story based what they see in the pictures, which is another form of the story telling methodology. Nevertheless, in order to avoid making grammatical mistakes, students are advised to complete story-telling tasks under the guidance of their teachers so that they will be able to improve their Chinese language skills in a relaxed atmosphere.

Kids and teenagers are particularly fond of this method as they are usually imaginative and can easily get motivated to create their own stories. As a result, the story telling method can stimulate their interest in learning Chinese and build a solid foundation for future improvement.


A student’s learning efficiency largely depends on the teaching methods adopted in class. We hope that the two teaching methods explained above will come in handy at some point to help Chinese learners become more engaged in the learning process.