Nĭ hăo, in this article we will introduce the basics to starting to learn Mandarin Chinese. In particular I will discus my experience in learning Mandarin Chinese, and will introduce you to the alternative learning mediums that suit different learning styles.
The reason I began learning Mandarin Chinese: Chinese wasn’t one of the languages available to study in my high school where UK schools only have the option of studying French and German. However, as many people in my suburb (including my lovely neighbors) all speak Mandarin, along with my uncle. Therefore, the reason I choose to begin learning Mandarin Chinese was because of the great opportunities that learning a another language opens up, especially within my suburb and also the fact that you can read texts, news and basically be more open to a wider range of people. To learn another language is a rewarding process and although it seems like a hard language to learn once you start it becomes fun and easier to pick up speech and construct sentences.
Basic learning process: If you were discouraged from learning a language within the school environment it is probably because schools are closed off from culture and entailed a repeated process of filling in textbooks. People are naturally inclined to learn as soon as we develop the need to communicate when we are young. Language should be a process of constant daily learning and development in which the learner is able to explore, interact and create good habits. Remember mistakes are learning opportunities and to set achievable goals.
Alternative learning methods: (1) Make friends and get to know people fluent in Mandarin, it helps to have someone to write to also. Shop in places where everything is written in Chinese, as just a few minutes communication everyday can strongly benefit your chances to pick up a language. (2) I like to watch Chinese movies or TV shows as it surprising can really bring on your language retention skills and you are able to replay certain parts you didn’t pick up. See my Chinese resources in particular for good sources. (3) Listen to Chinese songs and listen to the tone emphasis as tones matter. (4) Exchange teaching English to Chinese speakers in return for them teaching you Chinese. Or support yourself and go teach in a Chinese school. (4) Alternatively, if you enjoy classroom learning then sign up to classes, maybe your local community college offers credit too, or you can hire a private tutor. (5) Visit China and go force yourself to speak Chinese, though, this method would be better to have a friend who is fluent with you.
Zhù nǐ hǎo yùn! In future articles I will start to introduce the basic sentences and tones.
Featured image supplied from Unsplash.
Copyright © 2016 Zoë-Marie Beesley