Learning Mandarin Chinese Language
How to learn Chinese? It's SOOO DIFFICULT!
Hello everyone! Welcome to my lens! So I am assuming you landed on this lens with the motive of "How to Learn Chinese" ya? GREAT!!! Let's not delay anymore, buckle up! Bear in mind that, I will NOT go in depth in each particular category or topic, but a comprehensive OVERVIEW of How to Learn Chinese.
Alright, let's start off with a bit of my background. I am born, raised and educated as a native Chinese. BUT, don't be stereotype and generalize all Chinese are from China! Heck no, there are Chinese all around the world! I am from Malaysia.
Being in a multiracial country, I always get these "OHHHHH!! Chinese language is SOOO confusing! Damn it's difficult! How'd you guys cope with? It's soooo... soooo... Why there's so many characters and annotations? Nothing similar to English.. *sigh*" Oh well, I guess that's partially true. Overview of the World Top Influential Languages, no doubt English is the first, followed by French and Spanish, then Chinese.
Language Difficulty Ranking for a Native English Speaker - Don't let this demotivates you however, read on!
Credits to Effective Language Learning.
It's not what you think it is.
Before I move on, I would like to emphasize on some general MisConceptions that everyone has.
1. Mandarin Chinese is a language, HOWEVER Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, Teochew... are dialects, they are not part of the language but instead they are spoken by different ethnic group of Chinese.
2. Chinese language has its completely own set of symbols and characters, and does not have anything similar to English in terms of writing. (This is one of the reasons why it's difficult to native English speakers.)
3. There are two types of Chinese Writing, the Traditional and the Simplified version. Simplified version is the improvised version and is commonly used in today's newspaper and education. However, in some countries for example China, they do practice and use Traditional writing, however that's the minority.
Eyes open and compare the differences between Traditional and Simplified, Traditional has way more strokes than Simplified!!
4. Modern days now, we READ from LEFT to RIGHT, not from up to down like those you watched in movies (That's olden days).
OFF-TOPIC, Just Fyi,
5. Chinese use Chopsticks! Lol, don't ask me why!! >_<
6. Chinese don't FLY! We are human as well, don't get misled by action movies!
Well, I can't think of any more to add on. So yeah, basically that's about it! If you have any confusions, just hit me up on the comment section below.
What do you need?
First off, you need a steady, long lasting motivated mind, a raging burning heart, a mystical driving force and.... Haha! Just kidding!
1. Learning Materials
Learn Mandarin Online, I would highly recommend this, either you're learning by yourself at home or signed up for classes, as the course is online based and you can access it anytime anywhere! Not to mention, I went through some of the courses offered, what's creditable is that the pronouncer has a very CLEAR and ACCURATE pronunciation, the pace is perfectly fit for starters.
2. Time and Scheduling
Language is not like any other subject where you can do last-minute work, memorize and vomit out. NO!! You need daily practices, write, read and speak. Schedule and allocate around half an hour daily for yourself to go through what you've learn and try to write and speak 'em out!
3. Start small
Start with basics, do not rush yourself to "RUN" when you can't even walk!
Some Great Learning Materials on Amazon - Pick up some of them! They come in handy!
Step-By-Step in Learning Mandarin Chinese
1. Start with learning the 4 tones.
Alright, so you have all your learning materials ready, what's next? One of the first steps in Learning Chinese is getting adapted to Chinese pronunciation. Learning and mastering it helps in your further speaking and listening skills.
In every single Chinese word, there is a tone over it. Each tone is drawn or hover over the word to show different ways of pronouncing it. And of course, different tone gives different pronunciation and gives different meaning. What I meant is, a same word can have up to 4 different meanings depending on how you pronounce it. They are called the "Pin Yin"! Confusing right, afraid not!
The FOUR Tones! - Watch the video for better illustrations!
( - ) - High, flat tone.
( / ) - Rising tone
( V ) - Dipping tone, say the word goes down then up. It's like going up and down the hill.
( \ ) - Lowering tone, when you say it, it's like saying "Huh?!!!!" in exclamation mark!
You master this, I guarantee you wouldn't have any problems in pronunciation! :)
2. Learn the Consonants & Vowels
As any other languages, Chinese language do have consonants and vowels. There are 21 consonants and 16 vowels, combined together to form more than 400 mono-syllabic sounds. How do I start? Head over to How to Pronounce Mandarin Chinese!!
VOWELS & CONSONANTS COMBINED
Credits to China Highlights.
3. Write & Pronounce Pin Yin
Pin Yin is a way to write Chinese using the English alphabets. It allows starters to read and write Chinese without using the Chinese Characters. My advice is, practice writing the Roman Pin Yin characters and pronounce it accurately before learning the formidable task of ACTUAL Chinese writing (Characters).
4. Learn the Essential Vocabularies & Verbs
Begin Your Journey with Vocabs!
As of every other languages, first step in writing a foreign language is always aim for its essential vocabularies. So, where do I start? I've compiled and jot down a list below, tackle them step-by-step, one-by-step:
There are too many verbs to be listed down. You learn them along, so no worries!
5. Increasing Your Vocabularies
The more you learn, the more you understand.
Hmm... so lets say you've master all the essential basics, time to seek and expand your vocabularies. Learn different kinds of situation vocabulary, either from listening, reading, talking... the more you learn, the more you understand. Do take it slow and steady, you don't wanna get confused and messed up! Definitely not like the picture below, do you?
6. Learn the Grammer
Take a step further!
Grammer, ahhhhhhh! The tough part of every language. Once you master the grammer, you can literally form any sentences provided you have the vocabs! So yes, you have NO CHOICE but to learn it. If you're ever going to learn a skill, why not take it to the highest level? Be the MASTER! Take note that, Mandarin Chinese grammer is very different from English. Below is a list:
A. Sentence Structure
Who, What, When, Why, Where, How....
E. Present and Past Tense
7. Finally, Read & Write Chinese Characters
Should I say the toughest step?
The Chinese Writing System is considerably the hardest step of learning Mandarin Chinese. To read a Chinese article or newspaper, one must learn about 2000 Chinese Characters. For your information, Chinese writing originated from ancient pictographs.
1. Learn the Chinese Character Profiling.
2. Learn the proper method of writing Chinese Characters, the Order of Stroke.
The best way to learn them is to write them down several times each and keep repeating.
What You Should Know?
Keys to learning!
1. The crucial part in Chinese is the TONES or you call it pronunciation.
My advice is spare some time to practice time, incorporate them in your daily speaking.
For example, when native English speaker speaks and pronouns the word "Yes", it can be "Yes. Yes? or Yes!" Different English tones of the word "Yes" have the same meaning, only the expression is different, either a reply, a question, or an exclamation tone. However, in Chinese, Pin Yin for the word "Yes" is "Shi", when different tones are used, it can mean "Yes", "Stone", "Death" and "Four". Hope this clarifies your confusions. That is why perfect pronunciation plays a very important aspect in Chinese dialogues. You don't want to mean the wrong thing, do you?
2. Chinese is a very systematic and analytic language.
Unlike Spanish, Chinese characters do not have moods. They do not have gender, except Pronouns. Unlike English, Chinese characters do not conjugate even thou it is single or plural form. They do not have [S] at the back like Cat(s), Dog(s). Also, Chinese Characters can standalone.
3. Do not Delay, Procrastinate your Learning.
If you're on serious learning, don't ever skip a day or a few weeks just because you don't have time. Trust me, you'll forget everything and have to start over from scratch. Grab yourself opportunities to speak it, ie. Get/ Make some Chinese friends. Or maybe you can try using flash cards or even play a CD in your car while going to work or studies. The point is Keep On Practicing!
If you can afford, sign up for classes, so that you have an experienced tutor who can corrects your mistake on the spot and direct your on the right track. Persistence is your key to success!
4. Taiwanese Mandarin is almost or should I say VERY similar to mainland Mandarin
However you don't need to know this as it is very technical. Just Fyi, let me put it in this way, American English and British English. Got it? :)
Some DO's and DON'Ts!
Here's some heads up for you IF you're ever going to learn Chinese, thank me later!
1. Ground rule, please remember DO NOT trust 100% Google Translate.
It sucks! Believe me, I am a native speaker, Google Translate is just horrible... *shake head* , I mean if you are in doubts, not sure on the vocabs, learn from natives.
2. Please be Open Minded.
You're learning a completely new language and its culture, so let's just be open minded and be ready to accept corrections and criticism.
3. I don't know if this applies to you, When I learn something new, I always go for the "Bad" or the vulgar words first! *shy* Sorry!
Because screwing someone over with different language is too "fun", no offense! One warning here, if you are to learn something rude, please remain to yourself and minimize the usage as Chinese have this superficial belief that "Curses" can haunt you for a lifetime. Be a gentlemen, have some class, do you? :)
4. Make sure to get hands on Reliable and Reputable learning resources.
You don't wanna learn the wrong vocabularies and meanings, do you?
Last but not least,
To sum everything up!
Thank for your patience to read up to this point, you have my appreciation! I just want to say Learning Chinese is not impossible IF you are keen.
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE, WHY?
BECAUSE THE WORD IMPOSSIBLE SAYS I'M POSSIBLE!!
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If you have any doubts, comment section below! I'll more than glad to assist you whenever I can.
Stay tune for more lens write-up! Thank you and have a nice day!!
DON'T STOP LEARNING!!