learn chinese language singapore

Which is More Important: Chinese Words or Phrases?


As a whole, Chinese is a complex language, consisting of innumerable characters and alphabets to familiarise yourself with. In fact, no matter what language you are trying to learn, you need to break it down into many levels to understand each portion easily.

Let’s have a look at all the layers of Chinese, and what and where they are used.

  1. Learning the strokes that make up characters: this makes it easier to learn the characters.
  2. Learning the characters individually: it is one step closer to the communication. Here, most of the characters are included in words
  3. Learning individual words: words are the most important layer of learning Chinese, as they are the basic blocks for reading and understanding.
  4. Finally, it is the phrases used in communicating with each other. This is where a group of words is attached together in a sentence, making communication understandable.

The question that arises is: Should you focus on learning the sentences or words when you learn Chinese?

Studies suggest that when learning a new language, it is always a wise option to focus more on learning individual words rather than phrases or sentences. In fact, most educational settings focus on teaching students words, mainly because they are easier to test and learn. Let’s have a look at a few areas where it is always a good thing to focus more on the words;

  1. Words are easier to learn and grasp: When you learn a new language, you will want to spend more time actually learning the language and feel like you are making progress, rather than trying to find what to learn and what not to. Secondly, words are easier to locate in test preparations, textbooks and dictionaries. This is not possible with phrases, and the Internet is not a good place to look for phrases since there are endless permutations of the same phrase.
  2. It is easier to review words: when you begin learning any language, you need to start from the basics. This is only possible if you start by learning the words. Learn a few words each day, and eventually, a day will come when you will be able to write and review a phrase or even a complete sentence.
  3. Phrases are not as useful when compared to words: This simply means that you need to focus more on words, which, in reality, are the building blocks of any sentence. If your focus is on phrases, you can only be able to say things that are covered in that phrase, and nothing more than that.

It is always fun to learn a new language, and Chinese demands your best effort. A little dedication, patience and time on your end, and you can ace the language in a matter of a few months. Enrolling in a mandarin course in singapore can be a massive help for you, but you have to focus to fully utilise the benefits from it.

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