Mandarin is usually classified as one of the hardest languages to learn alongside Arabic and Russian. The language is different from English and other European languages since it uses thousands of characters instead of the 26 alphabetical letters. However, this does not make it hard to grasp. A different approach to learning the language will help you understand the characters and memorise the strange tones faster than you expected. You will also need extra time, an interactive environment, and interpersonal practice while learning the language at first, but you might end up finding it easier in the end.
It may take you several months of intensive practice and the right attitude for you to gain fluency in Mandarin. Below are some important aspects that are going to change your perception of Mandarin from a hard to a simple language to learn.
Mandarin grammar is straightforward unlike most Western language, which requires you to master various grammatical rules while learning before you can master them fully. You do not have to worry about prefixes and suffixes, verb agreements and conjugations, genders, as well as various parts of speech while learning Mandarin. The fact that Mandarin has fewer grammar rules makes it easier to understand compared to others.
Chinese has over 80,000 characters, which may take years of practice and memorise before grasping all of them. However, you only need to know at least 2000 characters for you to comfortably read the local Chinese newspaper. A Chinese university requires knowledge of at least 20,000 words to graduate. Unlike 5000 words for an English language class, which is equivalent to 3000 Chinese characters. Therefore, you should not be worried about knowing all the 80, 0000 characters at once, but you should continue practising until you gain fluency in the language.
The word order for Chinese and English is similar; the only difference lies in the placement of setting. They both follow the “subject + verb + object” agreement in constructing a sentence. If there is a time setting on the sentence, you will have to place it before the subject rather than after, unlike in English. For example, a Chinese sentence will read, “I yesterday went to the gym” while an English statement will be “I went to the gym yesterday”.
English singular nouns often change while converting them to plural, but this is not the case with Mandarin. For example, ‘cup’ changes to ‘cups’ and ‘tomato’ to ‘tomatoes’ in English. However, Mandarin nouns remain the same in both singular and plural. You have to add a quantitative number to describe how many items you are talking about. For example, ‘one cow’ or ‘ten cows’.
Tones will get better with time
Mastering the four Chinese tones is one of the challenging parts of learning the language. However, you will learn which tone to use at a particular time if you have the right attitude and motivation. You do not have to learn the tones on your own since there will be Singaporeans who are willing to correct any mistakes that you may make while speaking the language. You will make many errors at first, but you will eventually achieve great success within few months.
A Mandarin course in Singapore may appear difficult, but it is not impossible. You need the right attitude and the drive to gain prowess in the language. Some people usually learn the chinese language after three months, although others may require more months of practice to understand the basics. Talking to your colleagues and friends in Mandarin will also make the learning more fun and exciting since they can politely correct you whenever you go wrong. Every language has its share of challenges, so a small difficulty in learning Chinese is not an exception.