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An Easier and More Enjoyable Way to Learn Chinese Language

Updated on July 28, 2016

Learn Chinese Language from 37 Characters

Since 1958, pinyin has been introduced in mainland China as a must-use phonetic notation. Today, it has been overwhelmingly adopted by many Chinese language schools around the world. Chinese teachers, especially those grown up in China, would tell their students that pinyin is a prerequisite for mastering Chinese language. Is this true?

Granted, Chinese language looks alien for many international learners compared with English and other alphabet-based languages. Each square-shape Chinese character has to be drawn as one plays an English crossword game, while many a traditional Chinese characters may contain several dozens of brush strokes! Nevertheless, it is noted that the majority of Chinese characters are equipped with visible semantic and phonetic indicators, too. For example, 氧 (oxygen) is made up of a semantic indicator 气(gas) and a phonetic indicator 羊. Obviously, such built-in signs become invisible in the pinyin script, although it looks like Latin.

Chinese Characters vs. Chinese Pronunciation

In relation to Chinese pronunciation, it would appear that nobody has explicitly told the learner that there are only three unique Chinese consonants among its 37 Chinese phonetic elements whilst the rest can be found in English and French. Besides, there are less than 350 consonant-vowel syllables in Chinese Putonghua, each Chinese syllable can represents the sound of one to several dozens of Chinese characters. Then, how about its four tones?

By and large, every human spoken language has its tones. In English, for example, one could naturally say "yes' in different tones, similar to the four or five Chinese tones, to deliver different meanings, as the hotel manager did in the old movies One Million Pound Note when he was on the phone. In short, it is unwise and unnecessarily difficult to learn tones before the learner has any idea about tone-variation in the spoken language, just like a singer must first learn the melody, rather than memorize each musical note for words without knowing the melody.

If the learner can first get the Chinese syllables rights, then his or her Chinese can mostly be understood by every Chinese, except for creating some amusing moments when some tones are misused. By way of contrast, if the learner is constantly thinking of individual tones and unable to pronounce Chinese syllables accurately, then his or her Chinese can hardly be understood anywhere in China.

Learn Chinese Language from 37 Characters

For many years, I have been investigated the related issues on how to make learning Chinese language easier and more fun. By analogy with how native people learn English in English speaking countries, I have developed a new way to learn Chinese. In essence, every Chinese phonetic element is phonetically denoted by a commonly used Chinese character. If the learner can master these 37 Chinese characters first, then he or she should be able to work out the word sound of any Chinese character. Besides, these 37 Chinese characters can be frequently heard from Putonghua speakers, therefore, the learner is constantly reminded of their accurate sounds without looking at for any alien phonetic symbols. For detailed discussions and demonstration, google my book Natural Chinese Phonetic Notation: Learn Chinese Language from 37 Character at amazon. I would live to hear your comments.


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