Do you think Mandarin Chinese is quite a complex language to learn, especially for English speakers? Probably you say yes. However, with commitment and daily practice it is certainly possible to successfully master . Practice alone with your textbooks, with Mandarin-speaking friends or online with the live teachers from Mandarin schools. Keep reading for a basic overview of the most important things you need to know about learning Mandarin Chinese.The following steps may be helpful for you.
Step 1: Mastering the basics.
◆Practice using the four Mandarin tones. Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, which means that different tones can change the meaning of a word, even if the pronunciation and spelling are otherwise the same. It is essential to learn the different tones if you wish to speak Mandarin Chinese correctly. Mandarin Chinese has four main tones, as follows:
◆Memorize simple vocabulary. No matter what language you’re learning, the more words you have at your disposal, the sooner you will become fluent. Therefore, the next thing to do is to memorize some useful Chinese vocabulary. Some good vocabulary lists to start with includes: times of day (morning: zǎo shàng, afternoon: xià wǔ, evening: wǎn shàng), means of transportation (metro: dìtiě, airplane:fēijī, train:huǒchē, taxi:chūzūchē), food(beef: niúròu, rice: mǐfàn, egg: jīdàn, noodles: miàntiáo) along with colors, days, months,weatherr, location, etc.
◆Learn some basic conversational phrases. Once you have a basic grasp of vocabulary and pronunciation, you can move on to learning basic conversational phrases which are used in everyday Chinese speech. For example:
you are welcome——búkèqi;
I don’t know——wǒbùzhīdào.
Step 2: Advancing Your Language Skills.
◆Study basic grammar. Chinese grammar rules do exist, they are just very different from those in European or other language systems. Unlike these languages, Chinese is a very analytic language which is both good news and bad news for language learners.For instance, in Chinese there are no complicated rules about conjugations, agreement, gender, plural nouns or tense. Most words consist of single syllables which are then combined to make compound words. This makes sentence construction fairly straightforward. However, Chinese has its own set of grammar rules which do not have an equivalent in English, or other European languages. As some of them are not used in English, they can be quite difficult for learners to grasp.
◆Practice reading and writing Chinese characters. An important part of learning Chinese is to learn characters. Even if modern life typically doesn’t require you to be able to write a lot by hand, reading ability is still essential for expanding your vocabulary and accessing Chinese culture. This can take a very long time (even years) to master, as the only way to learn them is through memorization and continuous practice.
Step 3: Immersing Yourself in Chinese.
◆Find a native speaker. One of the best ways to improve your new language skills is to practice speaking with a native speaker. They will easily be able to correct any grammar or pronunciation mistakes you make and can introduce you to more informal or colloquial forms of speech that you won’t find in a textbook.If you have a Mandarin-speaking friend who is willing to help, that’s great! Otherwise, try finding someone who are willing to do language exchange.
◆Listen to Chinese music and radio. Besides watching Chinese films, listening to Chinese music and/or radio is another good way to surround yourself in the language. Even if you can’t understand everything, try to pick out keywords to help you get the gist of what’s being said. You can— Get a Mandarin Chinese radio app on your phone, so you can listen on the go. Or try to download Chinese podcasts to listen while exercising or doing housework.
Learning a language is a gradual process – you need to find the right method, keep at it, stay motivated and make effort.Following these might make your Chinese learning more enjoyable and efficient!
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