At first, learning Chinese can seem as an uphill task for the native English speaker mainly because it doesn’t have a dedicated phonetic alphabet. In addition to this, the writing system – commonly referred to as logograms – scares most students into dropping out; usually within the first two weeks or so. However, learning Chinese can be pretty easy depending on the approach you take right from the beginning. Here are some tips to help you out when learning the Chinese language.
Tips on Learning Chinese:
#1. For starters, it would be in your best interest to decide whether you want to learn the traditional Chinese characters or the simplified version. The simplified characters were created in the 50’s by reducing the number of strokes needed to write a character, so as to improve the literacy levels. Most students debate on whether it’s actually better to study the beautiful but complex traditional script or learn the easy and widely used simplified model. It will ultimately depend on your personal preference.
#2. Mastering the basics of the Mandarin language is certainly no mean feat and hence, in your best interest to invest your money and time in an intensive program especially at the beginning. It actually takes hours of practice – both writing and speaking – to master the Pinyin required to pronounce the logograms according to Chinese Edge, besides the four tones which you may not be able to distinguish at first. In a nutshell, going for a one-on-one session or vigorous training from the start, can go a long way in helping you master Chinese easily.
#3. To learn Chinese, you must live, eat and dream it. This means swapping your English speaking friends for Chinese buddies every once in a while, besides getting acquainted to some Chinese music, movies and traditions. Watching movies is a great way of testing your listening skills away from the class as well as having some fun while at it. If you are particularly nervous about talking in public because it sounds awkward, try practicing in front of the mirror and notice how better you get with each day.