What’s the best way to learn Chinese is a question that many foreign students ask. Well, there’s no hard and fast rule for learning Chinese. However, with that said, you would do well to keep the following do’s and don’ts of learning Chinese in mind.
Did you know that it takes almost 2,200 class hours for someone who’s a native English speaker to achieve fluency in Chinese?
That’s a lot of hours. However, experts believe that regular practice is the key here, as it is starting as early as possible. The other thing to keep in mind is that there’s no substitute for classroom training when you are learning something as complex and vast as the Chinese language. Sure, you can hire a private tutor if you can afford, but then, how many people can do that?
Therefore, join Mandarin classes Singapore if you are serious about learning Chinese. And hurry, because, as said above, starting early helps.
Engage with Culture
There are so many languages in which many expressions fall into the realm of ‘untranslatable’. And this is not because of the inadequacy of the language but because of the uniqueness of the culture.
Chinese is one such language. It has its share of ‘untranslatable’ phrases. Precisely because of this reasons, foreign students who want to learn Chinese in Singapore are encouraged to become familiar with the Chinese culture, history, geography, and literature. Understanding the social structure in China also helps.
Continue working hard
The Chinese language has more than 50,000 characters. Yes, that’s a lot, but there’s no need to get overawed by this big number.
It is estimated that an average educated native speaker knows only about 8,000 characters. What’s more, language experts opine that learning 500 most commonly used characters will allow you to read approximately 80 percent of content present in a regular Chinese newspaper.
So, you see, the most effective strategy is to learn the most commonly used characters first. Once you’ve mastered them, you’ll find reading Chinese easy. And then you can start focusing on other characters and improve your learning horizon.
Don’t ignore the pronunciation
You don’t have to be a perfectionist when it comes to learning spoken or written Chinese as a beginner. However, there’s one thing that you must get the spot on, irrespective of how much hard work you need to put in to achieve it, and that is pronunciation. Listen carefully how your teacher and other native speakers speak and learn to distinguish the difference between different tones as well as produce the right tone while speaking on a consistent basis.
Don’t learn randomly
You should follow a structured program for learning Chinese. Actually, this won’t be a problem if you’re participating in a classroom Chinese learning program. But you need to ensure you should follow a well-defined pattern if you have decided to learn Chinese on your own in the beginning. In addition, don’t forget to regularly revise what you learn.
Don’t focus too much on “the rules”
Don’t think you shouldn’t speak in Chinese unless you achieve a certain level of proficiency in vocabulary or grammar. Communicating with native speakers on a regular basis will prove a lot more valuable than rote learning new words or grammar rules. As you continue studying Chinese, both your vocabulary and grammar would automatically improve anyways.