More than 30,000 people in the UK are learning Chinese.
Mandarin Chinese was the first native language spoken in the world, no wonder it arouses so much interest!
Are you the next one to start Chinese lessons?
Superprof gives advice to all beginners in Chinese to succeed in their learning!
To Learn Chinese, it is first of all necessary to learn the Chinese alphabet, which makes learning mandarin more complicated for a student whose native language is of Latin or Germanic origin.
Don’t worry! To be fluent in Chinese, you “only” need to know 2 000 characters on the 47 000 identified by the Chinese Kangxi Dictionary.
Of course, there is an alternative for people who aren’t brave: Pinyin!
It is the transcription of Chinese characters into Latin characters. But when we boast about wanting to write Chinese, the least we can do is to learn the real characters, right?
Learn to write in Mandarin. Photo via Visualhunt.com
You only need to find the right keys to unlock all this knowledge!
The best way to learn Mandarin and make progress quickly is to know what Chinese characters are made up of and learn the basics:
8 strokes (with 29 possible variants) constitute 214 keys that are used to form the 47 000 characters.
The knowledge and mastery of the keys is the basis to learn how to recognize and form Chinese characters.
Otherwise, the student may find it difficult to memorize the different characters and to understand them.
After having understood the key system, we must move to the main point now!
Chinese meets some standards of writing that are simple but that must be respected at all cost, at risk of not being understood:
To learn the characters, remember to break them down. Thanks to your mastery of the keys and strokes, it will be easier to understand a complex character.
For example, a student who has never seen the Chinese pictogram 药 that stands for “medicine” will recognize:
So, the student will in all likelihood deduce that the character is linked to the medical world and medicinal plants.
As with many things, mnemonics (the study and development of systems for improving and assisting the memory) could help you to memorize the characters more effectively.
The manual Stick programme can be useful with no less than 1,600 identified characters and the mnemonics to learn them. It costs 20 to 25£ to get it.
But we all know that our logic differs according to our personality and our experiences, the best way to memorize the characters more effectively therefore is to create your own mnemonics.
For example, this character 保 (defend, protect) makes me think of a snowman holding a sword. It’s up to you to create your own shortcuts for you to remember the characters.
And if really, no character makes you think about anything, Chineasy represents them in cartoon form to make your job easier. The character of fire really becomes a fire, the character of the person is represented with shoes and a head.
Thus, your visual memory is put to use and allows you to better remember the different characters.
Everything depends on you! It is difficult to say how long you need to master Chinese characters (not all of them of course!).
In any case, we can consider you a master of a character especially when you’re able:
A language fluency in writing but also orally. You need to know aspects of the phonetics, of Chinese writing and the different intonations of a given Chinese sign in order to speak Chinese!
Before starting to write of course, we learn the different characters!
A student in Chinese worthy of the name should not just be learning Pinyin but learning the complexity of Chinese, its characters, its conjugation and grammar.
As we saw in the previous section, without in-depth knowledge of the characters, it is difficult to say that we’ve mastered Chinese!
It’s as if someone said they know how to ride a horse without a horse… That’s impossible! It lacks the basis of riding! The same goes for Chinese! Without the characters, this language wouldn’t be much.
Keep in mind the advice we gave you to move faster in learning characters and do not hesitate to use all the tools at your disposal!
To motivate yourself and avoid making yourself frustrated with the language, it is advised to learn basic vocabulary such as:
There are many others and if you have any specific desires in terms of vocabulary, consult this FluentU blog!
Learn Chinese characters online. Photo credit: timtak via VisualHunt.com
To continue, we can then learn sentences and common questions:
The website Loecsen offers hundreds of words and phrases used in everyday life. So let’s get to work!
Ah the grammar! If in French, it probably gave you a hard time, this will not be the case in Chinese. It is much less complicated:
Still a few exceptions to complicate everything:
To learn Chinese writing more effectively, here are several tips:
Chinese is a language that can boost the capabilities of your brain and it’s capacity for analysis. Learning a language can also reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease through memorization techniques!
Similarly, a dyslexic learner will have more capability with a language like Chinese or Japanese. They rely on a sign for an idea contrary to the Romance languages that use separate letters to form a word.
If at this stage you are not convinced that Chinese is the language to learn, I don’t know what to do!
When you learn to write Chinese, we learn by extension to read!
Of course, if you do not read or write Chinese, but simply communicate in Chinese language, then settle for Pinyin, which literally means “spell the sounds”. It is the Latin transcription of the pronunciation of characters. If you’re just planning a trip to China, this is enough.
On the other hand, if you want to go work in China, do an internship or your studies, the chances are that you will need to know how to read Chinese and write characters.
In all cases, learning Pinyin and characters in Chinese at the same time can be useful for pronunciation and a better memorization.
Master the Chinese language with Superprof. Photo credit: matsuyuki via Visualhunt
We recommend two books for beginner learners in Chinese:
And why not introduce your children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces or cousins to the reading of Chinese at the same time as you? There are chances that they will however learn much faster ?
Several applications for smartphones are also very useful for learning characters:
Why not watch again all Chinese Kung Fu movies in Chinese with Chinese subtitles?
As with any language, to improve, you have to study regularly and multiply different medias:
Of course, to progress in a language, it is absolutely necessary to learn Chinese vocabulary. Reading it will be even easier!
What would a language be without its vocabulary? Very little. But how then to learn Chinese words?
To learn a foreign language would combat the onset of Alzheimer’s disease!
Often, we wrongly think that some are more gifted than others to memorize. It’s not true! It is simply a matter of training and knowledge of strengths and weaknesses.
You need to know before everything what is the best method for yourself:
Let’s connect our neurons so that they work more and faster! In addition, learn a language and train your brain is very good against aging and problems… of….. memory of course!
Now that the student was able to target their strong and weak points, there are still several methods that have proven their worth:
To learn effectively, we need to leave room for “reading”, “writing” and “vocabulary” in Chinese!
Several programs offer Chinese vocabulary on the internet. Two have caught our attention:
Finally, note that the best way to learn a language and its vocabulary is of course immersion!
And if you don’t have the means to go to China at the drop of a hat, that we can understand, know that there are websites linking Chinese learners and native Chinese speakers. The two parties learn the language of the other, in a win-win relationship.
Follow a Chinese course one-to-one with a teacher or in a group is an excellent solution for those who wish to acquire vocabulary, on condition of course to emphasis it when choosing the professor.
Find a Chinese tutor for fluency in the language. Photo via Visualhunt.com
To sum up:
Need to find a mandarin tutor in the UK? Look no further! Whether your searching for a Chinese tutor London, or outside the capital, you’ll find them with Superprof.