Unless you’re naturally gifted or have a superb memory – learning how to read, write, and speak a new language is typically an arduous process.
Most adults find it hard to find the time to master a brand-new language, yet alone one of the hardest languages in the world! Many begin by taking up a Chinese language course for a few months or a year; however, not many will have the commitment to invest years of practice required to master the language.
Indeed, learning a new language can take up a lot of time, and it may take years for you to attain a HSK certification. Yet, there are various ways to expedite the language learning process. For a start, here are some tips to get you fluent in no time:
Welcome Chinese into your life with open arms
Surround yourself with the Chinese language. You may wonder – does this mean going to live in China? Not necessarily! Not everyone can afford to travel, so the next best thing is to bring the Chinese language closer to you.
This includes consuming media in the Chinese language, such as following a new Chinese drama. The main goal is to fully immerse yourself in the Chinese language, even outside of the course you’re currently taking.
It’s perfectly okay if you don’t fully understand the language just yet. What’s more important is the constant exposure – consistently listening to the language can help you grow accustomed to the sounds, rhythm, and melody of the language needed to grasp the correct pronunciation and prosody more easily. As a bonus, it is a great way to learn a bunch of new vocabulary you are likely to find useful in your daily life.
Use Chinese every day
Newly acquired skills can grow rusty quickly if not put into good use. Although immersion in the Chinese language is a good start, it will take constant practice to get your language skills up to par.
If you can, make friends with Chinese speakers and practice conversing with them regularly. Not only is this an excellent way to practice your conversational Chinese, it will also be beneficial in understanding the culture behind the language.
Another option is to take up a course at a reputable Chinese language learning centre. With your classmates, start with simple conversations and slowly work your way up to more challenges sentences.
Working towards standardised proficiency tests such as HSK is good motivation, and gives you a gauge of how far you have progressed. Make it a point to regularly converse with your teachers in the language as well, as they are the ones who will be able to best correct you when you slip up.
Don’t be afraid to try everything
Your friend may have told you about a strange tactic they discovered that helped them learn Chinese. But don’t be quick to judge! Everyone has different learning styles, and there are various ways to learn anything new.
If you are a visual learner, placing flashcards with keywords around your room may help you remember words quicker. If you are an auditory learner, listening to Chinese podcasts may be more beneficial for you instead.
In short, don’t be afraid to try, and don’t be afraid to fail. Find a way that works for you, and soon you’ll be on the road to fluency!