Are you currently taking up Chinese classes in Singapore? If you are, there’s a huge chance that you might be facing a challenge in learning and retaining as much vocabulary as you can!
Many people want to learn Chinese as fast as possible. Therefore, they focus on learning the most important words first and practice them, which is great if you want to learn how to read, speak, and write Chinese in a small amount of time.
Unfortunately, if you rely on this exclusively, you’re failing to build a solid foundation of an extensive vocabulary. The result? You might be able to speak, read, and write in Chinese, but you won’t be able to understand the language as much as someone with an extensive vocabulary. This is why it is essential to supplement your Chinese classes by reading. Here are 2 important reasons why!
The importance of context
In language, context is everything. You might know what a word means, but you might not necessarily know how to use it. For example, in the English language, the word “buddy” is another word for “friend” or “acquaintances”, but it implies a closer relationship. This is why you call your childhood friend a “buddy” but not your professor, because you are mere acquaintances. On the other hand, for this very same reason, you don’t refer to people you’re close to as “acquaintances”.
Words don’t just stop at what they mean. They have numerous nuances. They often mean different things when used in other situations, especially when paired with other words. The only way to expand your ability to understand these nuances is to constantly expose yourself to them, which you can do when you read a lot.
Reading is a natural way of learning
What most Chinese classes in Singapore do is make their students focus on the most frequently used words in Chinese. This is a good thing since it familiarises them with words that they’re more likely to encounter on a daily basis. However, because most classes have simplified this word list, it’s not as comprehensive as reading the newspaper.
If you want to know what words are frequently used in any language, and not just Chinese, pick up a local newspaper. Local newspapers, among others, expose yourself to how the language is used in its most natural form. This lets you know which words are commonly used by actual people there, and which phrases are common. It also reinforces them so you don’t forget the said words and phrases.
It’s great that you’ve enrolled in Chinese classes. But to get the most out of them, it’s time to start reading! Reading allows you to improve and reinforce your Chinese vocabulary, especially if you are preparing to take the HSK test in Singapore.
Not to mention, reading is a fun hobby that can benefit you in more ways than just when you’re trying to learn Chinese.