Learn Chinese if you have to choose to learn only one language. There are now more than 1300 million native speakers of the language, and that number is only expected to expand as the economy develops in the country.
Even though it is the most widely spoken language in the world, Chinese is notoriously difficult to learn. There are no alphabets in the Chinese language; instead, there are thousands of characters. The language is also tonal. Thus, slight differences in pronunciation can significantly impact a word’s meaning.
Then, what’s the point of trying to master Chinese? To begin, China plays an essential role in international trade and politics. The country also has an exciting past; its culture, heritage, and cuisines have profoundly impacted its Western neighbors and beyond. Learning Chinese, and especially the dominant language, Mandarin, may set you up for success in fields like international business and politics. Also, learning the language makes traveling around China much more pleasurable and rewarding.
Learning Mandarin Chinese is not different from developing any other skill: it demands time, self-discipline, and effort. Here are several methods to help you learn Mandarin Chinese more rapidly and with less effort.
How to Learn Chinese in 7 Incredible Ways
Learning Chinese has many advantages for professional and personal development, not the least of which is having a more profound knowledge of one of the world’s finest civilizations. However, how you pronounce each tone in Chinese may affect the meaning of a word. For example, “mā” in the first Chinese tone signifies “mom,” whereas “mă” in the third tone implies “horse.”
Mandarin has four pitch tones and one neutral tone (or, you can say, five tones). So, to distinguish meaning, the same syllable might be pronounced with distinct tones. Here are these tones:
- A high and a level tone.
- A rising tone that rises slightly.
- A dip tone that falls then rises.
- A falling tone that drops from high to low.
- A neutral (toneless) tone.
Understanding Chinese tones is critical, and there are several approaches to mastering them. Here are our top seven methods for learning Mandarin Chinese.
1. Engage with Native Speakers
While using HelloTalk app, you can immerse yourself in conversations with native speakers and get used to the Chinese language environment and ask other users to correct your pronunciation.
Try imitating how they pronounce tones as well. If you don’t have a speaking partner, it’s a good idea to record yourself speaking and then listen to the recording to evaluate your pronunciation. Additionally, listening for and recognizing a specific tone frequently and comparing two tones to determine the difference are simple yet effective strategies.
2. Use Online Learning Resources
Formal language classes can be tedious, dull, and not fun at all. So, online learning tools and apps like Ling app use games, challenges, puzzles, and quizzes to let you learn how to read, write, and speak Chinese or any other language in a fun way. Also, when you learn Chinese online, you can choose from teachers who are well-traveled, native speakers, or some of the best and most flexible language lecturers who can help you learn a new language in the best way for you.
Aside from official internet learning resources, one approach to increase your learning significantly is to watch Chinese shows and films and listen to music online. These methods will help you learn how Chinese is spoken and better understand Chinese culture.
3. Listen to Chinese Music
It’s a fact that listening to music can significantly aid the process of picking up a new tongue. Lyrics to songs, like the original versions of movies, can be a great way to pick up new vocabulary and expressions while having an enjoyable time.
Likewise, it’s a great chance to immerse yourself in Chinese culture while expanding your vocab. Listening to Chinese music is a superb way to acquire modern spoken Chinese’s grammatical structures and colloquial expressions.
4. Put Grammar First
Like English, Mandarin sentences have a subject, verb, and object. However, Mandarin does not distinguish between single and plural nouns or between genders.
5. Travel, Work, or Study in China
The easiest and best way to learn Chinese may be via immersion. You experience the language in its native setting while hearing, speaking, and understanding it in real-world situations.
6. Learn with Pinyin
The incredible creation of pinyin, which connects English speakers to the world of Chinese, ought to be revered forever. It is the recognized phonetic method for romanizing the pronunciations of Chinese characters. With pinyin, which provides both the phonetic reading and the tone of a word or phrase, you can learn how to say Chinese words.
7. Maintain Motivation by Setting Clear Goals
What is your primary reason for studying Chinese? Is it for work, vacation, or simply for fun? Whatever your motivations are, utilize them to push you on to keep learning. There will always be days when you will feel down or unmotivated. When that happens, remember why you decided to learn the language to assist you in getting back on track.
Lessons can be geared toward these objectives as well. Learn some everyday travel and shopping words in Chinese if you are learning the language for travel. You will want to continue studying the language once you realize its usefulness.
Is Chinese Hard to Learn?
Even though Mandarin may seem challenging to learn, anybody may become practically fluent with time and effort. Those with exceptional recall and listening skills should have no trouble learning Mandarin. You’ll need to make up your mind that this is crucial and that you’ll be self-disciplined to see it through.
How Much Time Does it Take to Learn Chinese?
Depending on your motivation and how much time you put into developing your abilities, you may learn Chinese at your own pace. Many resources on the internet estimate that two thousand to three thousand hours are required to reach fluency in Chinese. After learning Chinese for six months to a year, most students feel comfortable holding basic conversations and managing unfamiliar environments.
In general, learning the Chinese language takes native English speakers at least twice as long to reach proficiency in a European language, like Spanish.
Spending time and effort actively in learning Chinese is the most powerful way. While there is no foolproof way to become fluent in Chinese, there are methods and tools that can help you make significant progress. Use as much opportunity as you have to practice speaking and writing the language. You may advance your skills with the help of various applications and online courses, some of which are free, while some need a fee to access.
HelloTalk Can Help Your Chinese Learning Path
HelloTalk offers free chats with native Chinese speakers and live broadcasts from renowned teachers and creators to help you practice the Chinese language and immerse yourself in the culture. Likewise, you can share a language, culture, or travel update or query on Moments to get feedback from native speakers. What’s more? You can also search for language exchange partners by city, native language, distance, and more.