Learning Chinese – Our Advice
Studying and learning Mandarin Chinese is a long process and we want to help you with doing so. Many people start learning Mandarin online or in their home country. However, sooner rather than later pretty much everyone who seriously wants to learn Chinese will come to China to study there.
At LTL, we are currently in the process of creating a Chinese language course you can use online. Until this is finished, have a look at our how to learn Chinese Ebook or visit us in China for a “real life” Chinese course in one of our schools in Beijing, Shanghai or Chengde.
Studying Chinese is a lot of fun, but can also be quite frustrating at times. An important part is to get the tones right at the beginning and to not forget that if you want to reach fluency then learning Chinese characters is obligatory.
Chinese grammar is actually relatively simple at least at the beginner level and pronunciation – except the tones – quite manageable when compared to many other languages. The main difficulties are mastering the tones, learning characters and remembering vocabulary which can be challenging as Chinese words do not sound in any way similar to their English counterparts. To help you go through your Chinese language journey we’ve made a list of useful resources to help you excel in Mandarin in no time.
Learn Chinese – LTL’s top tips
Speak to yourself in Chinese before going to bed or in the shower. You may even have a full conversation asking yourself what you did today, if you liked it or not and how it made you feel. As odd as it sounds it actually helps you to start thinking in Chinese which is essential in order to become fluent.
Writing phrases in Chinese language rather than just vocab. Not just words or characters but full phrases or sentences. Every now and then whenever you’ve got the time and a piece of paper sit down and write whatever comes to your mind. This will improve your character writing. Considering we live in a digital age and handwriting is not as common as it used to be; it does help a lot with learning since studying Chinese has a lot to do with memorization.
Read as much as you can at all times. Get into the habit of reading anything you can. This can range from shop names, live TV subtitles, road and street signs or restaurant menus. Basically anything you lay your eyes on. Intermediate and advanced level students might be interested in reading forums, newspapers and obviously books.
Engage using Social media in Mandarin. No we’re not asking you to subscribe to Chinese social media as such. We’re talking about writing various posts on Facebook in Chinese every now and then. This is even more relevant when dedicated to a Chinese speaking audience, such as wishing them “happy spring festival” etc.
Do what you enjoy and combine it with learning Chinese. For example, you enjoy cooking, then try to find recipes in Chinese. The worst thing that could happen would be you adding salt instead of sugar into your cake! It is always easier to study when you’re enjoying it. You can also learn new words and vocabulary by playing board or computer games in Chinese.
Speak and write in Chinese to your Chinese speaking friends. If they’re learning English they’ll try to practice their English with you but be stubborn on this one. Or even better speak to someone who doesn’t speak English at all. It might be hard and awkward at times but trust our experience, it’s worth it and you always find a way. In the end it will improve your Chinese plus you’ll have cool and funny stories about your experience learning Mandarin.
Watch TV and listen to Chinese radio. This might be a challenge at the beginning but will be fun as your language skills improve. You will learn a lot about Chinese culture as well as the language and get to know the more famous Chinese celebrities. Plus it will give you more topics to discuss with your Chinese friends once you are done talking about culture differences.
Take notes. Last but not least. Whenever you hear a new phrase or you see something that caught your attention, write it down and save it. It’ll help you to constantly learn new things. Learning just something minor everyday makes a huge difference in the long run.
Chinese holds lots of great opportunities be it experiencing new culture or food or business opportunities you wouldn’t want to miss.
If you want more tips on learning Chinese then download our free ebook.