Tips for Learning Chinese
There are some very basic concepts and fundamentals that will truly assist you in beginning your journey to learn Chinese. While some of these tips are obvious, that does not mean that they are easily accomplished or put into practice. We all need tips for learning Chinese and the goal in sharing these tips is to give you a basic framework or direction from which you can continue to add more and more skills in a way that best suits your interests, skills, and schedule.
- Learn Mandarin first rather than Cantonese. There are many reasons for this as you will find by simply doing a little research on the reasons for learning Mandarin.
- Learn a few basic phrases. Through repetition, you will be able to see that success in Mandarin IS possible. Select a few phrases that you think will be the most useful to you.
- Master the tones. After showing yourself that you can do it, determine to master the tones—the most important part of the language.
- Master PinYin. The sounds of the PinYin system are what help those who know phonetic languages to make sense of any pictorial language, such as the Chinese language. It’s the bridge to an entirely new world! Without it, we could still make progress, but it could definitely be categorized as doing things “the hard way.”
- Listen and observe the world around you. The language, culture, and people provide an experience of learning Chinese that should not be separated from its environment. During this stage of learning, you will need to learn an adequate amount of grammar during, but make sure that you do so in the context for which it was meant. Understanding why someone said a few phrases is far more important than understanding the phrases themselves, So many daily practices and intricacies of the culture will seem foreign to you, but just keep an open mind and heart to the entire experience.
- Create the right environment for learning. Learning Chinese from a book, CD, or DVD without interacting with people will more than likely cause you to have a very skewed view of the language! The best way to learn the language is to hear how people daily interact, so take a look at some ideas of How to Create the Right Environment for Learning Chinese. If nothing else, at least make sure that the CDs, DVDs, or software include numerous examples daily conversions.
- Remember that this is a journey. Don’t forget to have fun along the way! You will never “arrive,” but you can make some incredible progress! There will be different phases of the journey—sometimes you will feel that you are making very little progress while at other times you will grow by leaps and bounds.
These simple tips hopefully give you a basic understanding of some of the phases on your journey to learn Mandarin. Everyone will chart out their own course, but the principles are still the same. Enjoy the freedom of charting your own course as you set out on your own journey to learn Mandarin Chinese!