Making the decision to learn Chinese is always a good idea.
Unfortunately, learning the language is much easier said than done. Many students often struggle to climb up the learning curve, and end up eventually hitting a slump.
That is completely normal and okay. When it comes to learning Chinese, or any other language for that matter, the only way to attain mastery and become fluent is to keep going.
The more you practice, the faster you’ll learn. It also helps to avoid making common mistakes that have been proven to derail the progress of people who are just starting out with Mandarin.
With that said, here are 4 mistakes to avoid when studying the Chinese language.
1. Learning on your own
Don’t get us wrong – being self-taught is one thing, but isolated learning is another.
It’s okay to try and learn Chinese by yourself. After all, many people do it. However, in order to be perfectly fluent in Chinese – this often involves having somebody around to practice with, someone preferably better and more fluent in Chinese than you.
Remember, constant, constructive feedback is essential to learning anything.
The more feedback you receive (and the more open you are to criticism), the better.
2. Thinking that age matters
One of the main reasons why mandarin classes for kids are so common these days is because there are numerous studies showing that children are able to learn and absorb languages faster than adults.
That doesn’t mean that they should be the only ones to learn the language, however.
Whether you’re a busy parent or ambitious worker – anyone can benefit from learning a new language like Chinese.
Do not let anyone tell you that you’re too old to learn a new language.
Even an old dog can learn a new trick or two.
3. Not practising enough
One of the most common mistakes when learning Chinese is pronunciation.
A common mistake is to be afraid of pronouncing things wrong and not practising speech at all.
The best way to get better in Chinese is to constantly use Chinese. If you can speak with a Chinese speaker regularly, that’s even better. This is what makes Chinese lessons so powerful – due to the presence of a trained and competent tutor who can assist in guiding students to keep them on the right track.
Other things that you can also do include switching all of your media to Chinese – including your phone’s default language.
4. Sharing too much information
Mandarin is different from other languages in that it leaves quite a bit to the imagination to the listener.
It’s not uncommon for beginners to include too much information when they first start using Chinese. Most of the time, a lot of the information shared could have easily been left out.
By learning NOT to put unnecessary information in a Mandarin sentence, your speed and writing becomes much more elegant – accompanied by a better flow.
Being aware of these mistakes can help you fix them as soon as you notice yourself making them – ultimately making you a better student, and more independent learner.