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Learn Chinese in A Week


In a recent trip across Asia, I found myself crossing countries with lots of different languages and regions within countries with their own languages – many of which I had never heard of.  In need of basic necessities and friends, I did my best to learn whatever the local language happened to be.  In the process, I kept a list of the words I needed/used the most in each area.  I found that 200 words was pretty much all you needed to know to get by, to ask people questions, to make demands and to make friends.  After trying lessons, books, tapes, etc…, the 200-word approach is what I found works the best.  Because if you are visiting a foreign country, you are most likely visiting a country as a traveller, and only for a limited period of time, so what you need is a traveller’s vocabulary that you can learn quickly, not a nuanced understanding of grammar and syntax.

In the links below, I have the list of 200 words you will use the most while travelling in China.  I have also included a link to a brief pronunciation and usage guide that should help you get on your way to using the 200 words quickly.  The best way to use the document with the 200 words is to print it front-and-back and then fold it in fourths, so that you can carry it with you and use it in any situation.   Getting these documents up and running took a lot of work and they are free, so I would appreciate any referrals.

You can download the document with a list of the top 200 Mandarin words by clicking – here.

You can download the pronunciation and usage guide by clicking – here.

I have a bunch of these for various languages, so if you have any comments, suggestions or requests, please email me at

Good luck!

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