Most people who are trying to learn Chinese in Singapore focus more on speaking Chinese than practice listening to it. This is mainly because of two reasons: speaking ability is more valued and it’s easier to speak than listen.
Compared to speaking Chinese, listening is much harder because Chinese as a language has a small inventory. There are just about a thousand common syllables. Spoken Chinese has a large number of homophones, making it a little difficult to understand. You’ll have a tough time figuring out one homophone from another if you are struggling with tones.
When you speak, you are in control in regard to the content. You speak only those words and phrases that you know; whereas when you are listening, you are not under control and will face words, phrases, colloquial expressions that you don’t know. However, precisely for this reason, listening Chinese is more beneficial because it gives you a chance to learn new words and expressions, even improve your grammar.
Simply put, you can’t learn much by hearing your voice. So to improve your Chinese, you need to tune into and understand what others are saying.
Here are a few tips to help you practice listening Chinese:
Join regular language classes
Joining Mandarin classes Singapore is perhaps the best way to learn Chinese. You learn from a trained teacher and are part of a large group having a singular goal: to learn Chinese. Compared to learning alone, classroom learning helps you understand, recognize, and use different tones more correctly and easily.
Listening to Chinese audio is another effective way to practice listening. In the beginning, you should choose audio which is suitable for your level. As you make progress, you can then start listening to more advanced audio.
In fact, listening audio is something that you can do anywhere, anytime. All you need is a good audio player or a smartphone and a pair of earphones or headphones. You can practice listening Chinese even when you are doing everyday chores, like cooking, laundry, gardening etc. Of course, in the beginning, you might find yourself getting distracted easily, but with practice, you will be able to combine different activities with listening Chinese seamlessly.
Watch Chinese movies
Are you a movie buff? Well, here is a fun way to practice listening Chinese. Watch your favorite Chinese movies in your spare time. If possible, go for Chinese movies with English subtitles. This way you will be able to check how much you really understand and pick up new words as well.
Create a language group
Form a language group with other foreigners who are learning Chinese. You can meet your language partners once every week and make group discussions a feature of your weekly meetings. This way you all will get a chance to practice speaking as well as listening Chinese.