4 Features of the Chinese Language You Should Know

learn chinese language

Amongst languages like Arabic, Chinese is one of the most difficult to learn. While most people will be discouraged to learn Chinese, some students have proven to be fluent in Chinese within a few months, despite the language’s difficulty. How do they do it? The answer is both passion and practice. Others have invested more time in understanding the Chinese linguistic features and grammar structures in their quest to gain fluency in the language. This article covers some of the essential linguistic features you should know while learning the chinese language.

Chinese Parts Of Speech
Chinese words are either nouns, verbs, pronouns, conjunctions, or adjectives. Most Chinese words comprise of nouns, which make up the subject and object of a sentence, and they are written the same way for both singular and plural forms. Verbs in Chinese are easy to understand and use as they retain meaning no matter where they appear in sentences. Additionally, Chinese does not pay much attention to the agreement of nouns, verbs and adjectives in a sentence. You will also learn many conjunctions in the Chinese language, which are essential in joining two thoughts to make one sentence.

Traditional Versus Modern Chinese
Traditional Chinese dates back to thousands of years ago and its characters are more complex than the modern ones. Mandarin courses in Singapore and other countries now use the modern system of Chinese writing which has simplified traditional characters and reduced the number of strokes, making it easier for learning. Therefore, do not be surprised if you are reading a history book and the characters seem different and complicated compared to the ones you learned in class.

Chinese Syllable
Each Chinese syllable represents a single character. The Chinese language uses different character combinations (mostly two or more characters) to create words. Therefore, Chinese words are polysyllabic unlike the common belief of the language being monosyllabic.

Measure Words
Chinese nouns remain the same in both singular and plural forms. However, the language uses measure words to describe the number of objects within in a statement. For example, they use ‘three banana’ or ‘ten goat’ instead of adding ‘s’ at the end of the nouns to show plurality. Similarly, they will add time words at the end of a sentence to indicate the exact moment a certain activity took place. For example, ‘I go to clinic yesterday’ is a grammatically correct statement in Chinese.

Although Chinese has a different set of grammar rules, it shares some similarities to that of English such as the subject-verb-noun order within a sentence.

The rules of the Chinese language may seem complicated at first, but deepening your understanding and practice will help ground you. Some Chinese language rules such as the Subject, Verb, Object word order is similar to the English one. Therefore, you will not have a problem constructing Chinese sentences. While learning the basics of grammar can be challenging at first, it is possible to overcome and master it.

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