How do you start learning a foreign language? There are a lot of challenges that can come with learning a newer language, especially with one that is as complex as the Chinese language. However, just like a long journey, you need to start somewhere.
Here is a guide on how you can study the Chinese language effectively.
Start by knowing the four Chinese tones
You may have realised that Chinese is a highly tonal language. However, this should not make you panic, as the tones are similar to singing. As long as you can adjust your vocal tones, you can speak Chinese too. Moreover, Chinese has just four tones. They are also easy to comprehend. You can know of the four tones by either listening to Chinese natives, Chinese programs, or attending Mandarin courses to learn Mandarin.
The tone really defines what exactly you are saying. Incorrect use of these tones can create confusion. When learning, your tutor will definitely emphasise on the tones as they can be the difference between two meanings that are completely different. Once you’ve mastered the tones, within a short time, you will be able to read and pronounce Chinese words correctly.
The Pinyin system
The Pinyin system can be defined as the gateway of English to Chinese pronunciation. This system helps you learn how to pronounce Chinese characters as Latin alphabets. It also introduces English speakers to the world of the Mandarin Chinese language.
The Pinyin system explains the tone of the word depending on the direction of the strokes. You’ve noticed that the Chinese language is written in strokes. With a professional tutor, you will be taught how to read the strokes using this system when you learn Mandarin.
Usually, your tutor will provide a guide on how to pronounce vowels and consonants. In addition, you can also download Chinese audio guides where you can listen to the correct pronunciation of the Chinese words to familiarise yourself better.
Learn Chinese numbers and greetings
The first thing your tutor will teach you are the greetings. It is the most basic thing that you will learn, and it can be easy with the help of a professional tutor. Subsequently, you will also be taught how to count in the Chinese language. These are basically taught in the first weeks of the class.
Now that you’ve learned about Pinyin and tones, you can apply these skills to pronounce the numbers. You will then need audio recordings to listen whether you have pronounced correctly. With time and practice, you may learn the right pronunciation on your own, but having the help of a Chinese language tutor will definitely speed things along.
Expand your vocabulary
Now that you can write and read a few Chinese words, it’s time to practise them in Chinese. The next step is to learn other Chinese characters. You can learn a topic at a time, and you can plan with your tutor to learn about two words a day and maybe a topic every week. Generally, you should let the topics flow so you have a more cohesive learning experience. In addition, you can also practise making your own sentences using the words you have learned.
Finding a professional Chinese tutor in Singapore is not hard. There are several tutors offering these services in different Chinese classes. However, you need to carefully compare the available tutors to determine the right tutor for you. Be sure to find out their methods of teaching, as well as their qualifications before hiring them.