Anyone whose first language is something other than Mandarin will naturally find that learning Chinese can be a bit difficult especially as an adult.
However, it still does not mean that it is completely impossible to master it. All you need is proper guidance to help you go along the right path, and you are on your way to being proficient in the language with the help of a couple of handy tips.
TAKING A MANDARIN COURSE
There are more than enough classes or courses in Singapore for anyone who is interested in learning the Chinese language.
These classes are more structured and once all the lessons are complete, all students can expect to have some level of understanding of the language. The best part is that everyone will be learning at the same pace and where you fall short, your classmate or teacher will help to keep you up to speed.
And, if you prefer, you could take Mandarin classes online. This affords you the luxury of learning in your own bedroom, on your own time and at your own pace.
MANDARIN READING MATERIAL
If you cannot read a language, you cannot say that you have mastered it. And, by learning to read it, you will be able to speak the language much better.
Start off simple by purchasing little storybooks or reading news/magazine articles online. You may even listen to music and interviews to help you learn the language.
BUYING OR MAKING FLASHCARDS
You may be thinking that you probably do not need your flashcards once you are out of school. But in reality, it does not matter what age you are.
Flashcards are a great learning mechanism as it helps you to commit the important details to memory in a simple, easy and cheap way. The best part is that you can bring these cards anywhere, from waiting in line for some food or at the supermarket to help you remember the Mandarin word for cereal!
HAVING MANDARIN CONVERSATIONS
In Singapore where the Mandarin-speaking community is large, you should have no trouble finding someone to engage in Mandarin conversations with.
This helps you to practice speaking the language, learn the slangs you will not learn in a formal setting and improve your pronunciation.
If you are in dire need of a change of environment or wish to spend a gap year or retirement elsewhere, how about moving to a Mandarin-speaking country? Because the language is widely spoken here, it will be almost as if you are forced to learn it in order to communicate with the natives.
These tips will work as long as they are accompanied by the following:
By setting goals, you will help to keep yourself motivated.
You will have targets to meet at certain times and you will learn in a timely manner. You can also go at your own pace and reward yourself for your accomplishments.
In order to learn Mandarin at a steady pace, you will have to be committed.
So be sure to have a good understanding of why you want to learn the language in the first place. You should also set time aside to meet those goals and work as hard as you can.
This is one of the most important parts of learning Mandarin: Practice.
In order to commit it to memory and for it to become natural, you will have to practice in various ways and in time you will notice that you are slowly becoming a Mandarin pro!
Now you see that learning Mandarin is no walkover, you will probably think that its time to give up. But once you follow this advice, before you know it, you will be having full-fledged conversations in Mandarin.