Like a lot of learners, my Chinese reading and writing abilities far exceed my speaking and listening. As a result, my teacher says I should study a certain page (高级口语(I) p.8) in a textbook, and be prepared to discuss it tomorrow.

Question: How can I prepare for a discussion involving pre-specified Chinese words with my teacher?

This is probably not just a once off---my ability to construct sentences verbally needs work.

I know what the words mean, and I can write sentences using them, but I don't know how to prepare for a discussion involving them.

(Also, I can't get a language partner: (a) I've already got one, i.e., my teacher, and (b) I'm in China, and it's best to stay isolated at the moment.)

1 Answer 1


My experience is with giving lectures in Norwegian on a given subject, often with spontaneous interaction with students.

I listened to previous video lectures on the subject, wrote outlines of the lectures (and figured out the vocabulary as necessary), and read some Wikipedia articles and similar, if they existed. I verified the pronunciation of certain words from colleagues.

Extrapolating from this to your situation (I do not understand Chinese so the subject is not known to me):

  • If the subject is very general or elementary, it might be difficult to find videos or podcasts discussing it, but if it is of interest to natives, then maybe they are available. Or maybe some language learning channel happens to have a suitable video or two.
  • Write down possible dialogues or questions and answers. Speak them out loud or at least mentally. when you have free time (walking around, standing in queue), think through possible dialogues in your head, with pronunciation.
  • See if you can written material about the subject. Maybe Chinese wikipedia has some, if the subject matter is relatively advanced, or maybe your local library has relevant children's books, if the subject is elementary.
  • Maybe Tatoeba, https://tatoeba.org/ , has relevant sentences. Search for the words you should be using (one at a time, then two at a time if you get too many sentences, etc.). This will give you examples of use of the words. As a bonus, there may be translations to other languages you know or recorded sentences. For long-term use you might consider building an Anki deck of relevant sentences, but it will take more work, and is probably not worth it for a low stakes discussion.

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