When you are trying to learn Mandarin online, the use of mnemonics is sure to come up. For those who are unfamiliar, mnemonics is a technique used to help organise information. It makes it much more palatable and easier to retrieve the information for later use. It comprises different cues and associations. In doing so, you will be able to cross-reference the information learned so that you can pick up specifics much easier.
For example, the sentence “My Very Excited Mother Just Served Us Nachos”, can help you remember the order of the planets, without Pluto. This is because it is a full sentence that makes sense.
With that said, many believe that mnemonics aren’t that useful when it comes to learning languages. In particular, when trying to learn Chinese.
Why do people think that mnemonics is not useful in learning chinese?
There are plenty of reasons why certain groups of people believe that mnemonic techniques are not all that helpful when trying to learn a new language.
Many argue that native speakers do not use memorisation techniques to learn, and as such, others should learn the language in the way that native speakers do. However, that can be difficult, as many who are trying to learn Chinese do not have the fundamentals locked down for the language, unlike native speakers.
How do mnemonics help?
This is where mnemonics come in. It becomes much easier to learn a language like Chinese by recalling specific information. Most importantly, it helps you do so in a way that you understand and can memorise better. As language learning takes a lot of time, this step can make learning languages like Chinese easier and better.
While learning as native speakers do come with certain benefits, it may not be the most economical from a beginner standpoint. Not only that, but it is not the most time-efficient for second language learners. If you are trying to learn Chinese, you may not have the time nor the resources that a native speaker would have when they are learning it as their first language.
By making certain bits of information, such as words and key phrases, easier to recall, it makes this “unnatural” method of learning a new language much more straightforward. You can then combine these techniques with other learning methods to further speed up your language learning process.
How can you use mnemonics in learning Chinese?
One such example of mnemonics in Chinese is with certain Chinese characters, allowing you to learn the words much quicker. For example, the characters ‘forget’ and ‘busy’ in Chinese contain the same components, but in different placements. This helps you to learn quicker about certain Chinese characters, and how it can affect their meaning. Another example is the Chinese words ‘sound’ and ‘bright’, with the same components in different placements.
Before you know it, when you once had to put in an enormous amount of effort to recall certain words, phrases or characters in Chinese, you’ll be able to learn how to use them much more frequently and naturally.
To put it simply, using mnemonics and memorisation techniques is a viable and practical shortcut. It can drastically cut down on the time spent on learning a new language like Chinese. This is most evident in learning when you are still trying to build up your vocabulary and finding words and phrases for which you can draw and recognise.
This is the reason why many learning institutions provide instructions in the Chinese language to teach their students a variety of learning techniques, including but not limited to, the right use of mnemonics.