The mission of this book is not only to help you memorize how to say your first words of Mandarin Chinese, but to also inspire you to learn hundreds or even thousands more. You shouldn’t have to use flashcards, just use your imagination instead. When children memorize all the names of the characters in an animated feature film, it isn’t because they study long and hard, it’s because they actively engage in these stories with their imaginations. We will use this same technique to help us conquer two major obstacles to learning Chinese words.
The first problem with Chinese vocabulary is that there are very few words that sound similar to their English counterparts. An example of one such rare cognate is "kafei", which sounds similar to "coffee". It makes that word easy to remember, but most Chinese words sound nothing like their English counterparts. Unless you stretch your imagination and twist the words a little, there will be no hook on which to hang your new words. To that end, in each chapter there are brief dialogs followed by wacky little micro-stories stories that will stimulate your imagination and make the new vocabulary words practically unforgettable. You can improve your memory even further if you tell your friends about them when you are away from the book. Retelling the stories in your own words and laughing out loud with friends will embed the words deep in your mind.
A second problem we will conquer is the often-intimidating 4 tones. You have to stand up and get your body moving. For instance, if a word you are trying to remember is a 4th tone word, you might stomp your foot when you say that word. Make the tone hint movements described in this book and you can stay physically active while you at the same time build mental muscle memory.
A Word of Caution: Please, do not fall into the trap of thinking that it would be easier to just memorize these words by rote. Don’t be a fuddy duddy! It has been scientifically proven that if you are having fun while learning, then you will produce better results. So stand up and face your enemy with your hand on your weapon. Get ready to learn to be a quick draw.