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The different types of private Chinese lessons in Birmingham

Taking Chinese lessons in Birmingham

According to a Chinese proverb, “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.”

That said, learning a language isn't always the easiest thing to do.  Beginners have to familiarise themselves with different ways to pronounce words, new grammatical structures, and lots of vocabulary. Language and culture, are you interested in Chinese or would you just like to learn the language? Are you getting ready for a trip to China or Taiwan?

It would be a good idea to start learning Chinese from somebody who speaks it natively, such as a private tutor.

Once you're outside of the big cities, very few people will know how to speak English so you'll need to learn how to speak Chinese in order to communicate with the locals. Around 1.3 billion people in the world who speak a Chinese language and 850 million of them speak Mandarin Chinese.  After the English language, it's the most useful language in the world. With this in mind, learning to speak Chinese is a huge advantage especially in terms of your professional development as a way to open the doors to the Chinese market and give you a better understanding of Chinese culture. The Chinese writing system is over three and a half thousand years old and is used in a number of different Chinese languages.

When we talk about Chinese, we usually are referring to the Mandarin Chinese, the largest member of the Chinese languages.

Whether you want to learn to speak Chinese, understand the Pinyin romanisation system, master writing Chinese characters or calligraphy, or improve your listening and speaking skills in Chinese, Superprof's got information for those of you living in and around Birmingham.

More information about the Chinese languages

While we often talk about Chinese as if it's a single language, there are actually several Chinese languages.  Here are the seven most common:

  1. Mandarin Chinese, which is spoken by 850 million people.
  2. Wu, which is spoken by 77 million people in Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zheijiang.
  3. Cantonese, which is spoken by 71 million people in the Guangdong and Guangxi provinces, Hong Kong, Macao, Southeast Asia, and by Chinese immigrant communities around the world.
  4. Gan, which is spoken by 31 million people in the Jiangxi province.
  5. Hakka, spoken by 34 million people in Taiwan, Guangdong, and Fujian.
  6. Min, which is spoken by 60 million people.
  7. Xiang, which is spoken in the Hunan province by 36 million people.

Usually, when you get Chinese lessons, you'll be taught Mandarin Chinese.

For Chinese speakers, there are two main types of Chinese: Simplified Chinese, which is used in China and Singapore, and Traditional Chinese, which is used in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.

Similarly, you have to learn to differentiate between the written language and the spoken language, like with the different dialects of Arabic and the written language as appears in official capacities.

The written language (文, wén) is different from the Han language, spoken by the Han people.

Finally, the Pinyin  Romanisation System was adopted in 1979 by the Chinese government to help people learning Chinese languages.

Pinyin is usually used for the phonetic transcription of Chinese words to help people pronounce them and to explain the Chinese grammatical rules.

The Pinyin writing system can make learning Chinese much easier for westerners, but it won't help them learn Chinese characters.

This is why some teachers prefer not to use it as it leads to their students picking up bad habits when it comes to reading and writing in Chinese. Many Chinese languages, Mandarin Chinese included, are tonal languages that are written using many different characters.  The Chinese dictionary can include up to 50,000 Chinese characters. In Chinese, each character represents a syllable. Chinese Works can include one or two syllables, with each syllable having its own unique meaning.

For example, to say hello in Chinese (你好), you'd write “nĭ hăo” in Hanyu Pinyin. Pronunciation is one of the most difficult aspects of Chinese as each syllable can be pronounced using one of five different tones, giving it up to five different meanings.

The word "ma" can mean completely different things depending on the way you pronounce it: Mother, hemp, horse, curse, or, when using the neutral tone, can transform the sentence into a question.

Chinese is the language with the most speakers worldwide. It would, therefore, seem quite logical that learning Chinese would help you speak with those living in Beijing or in Nanjing, and better understand Chinese culture. There are many words in Chinese that can help you to understand Chinese culture, ancestral sensibilities and values, and aspects of Confucianism.

Mandarin Chinese: an international language

China is growing as an economic power and starting to dominate international business.

Learning how to speak mandarin could help you open doors in the world of business, work your way up the career ladder in a multinational firm, or broker business deals between British businesses and Chinese businesses.

There are so many different career paths for those with language skills: international business, translation, interpreting, etc.

As a westerner, being able to speak Mandarin Chinese will look really good on your CV.  In addition to Chinese lessons, you might want to consider a passing the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) tests to prove your level in the language.

Linguistic and cultural immersion in the Chinese language will also help improve your language skills, your understanding of the foreign culture, and your career prospects.  It might be time to start thinking about a different career!

As a beginner, you can always learn from native Chinese are Taiwanese private tutors, travel to China or spend time in Taiwan, for example.

Taking Chinese Lessons with Superprof

Whether in a one and one tutorial or a small group, our tutorials will help you to learn and get better at the Chinese language.

As a beginner, you'll focus on the basics such as the Chinese writing system, characters, tones and phonemes, learning to read simple Chinese texts, and everyday phrases and expressions.

If you want to learn more about the Chinese civilisation, for example, our tutors can teach you more about the history of China, the Han people, and previous Chinese dynasties, etc.

Private language tutorials are useful for teaching learners how to speak, read, and write in their new foreign language. No matter where you are in Birmingham and the surrounding area, private tutors are happy to tailor their courses to you and your objectives.

Whether you're looking to just start with a new language, get conversation classes, need help getting into Uni, pass the HSK, learn a new skill, our tutorials are for everyone. You'll need to work for your visual and auditory memory in order to help you remember all the different Chinese characters and how to put together a few simple words.

For example, with just a few different characters, you can write the names of different towns in China and Taiwan: 

  • 台北: tai + bei (Taipei) means the city in the north
  • 台中: tai + zhong (Taichung) is the city in the middle
  • 台南: tai + nan (Tainan), the city in the south
  • 北京: bei + jing (Beijing), the capital of the north
  • 南京: nan + jing (Nanjing, ou Nankin), the capital of the south

Chinese isn't inherently more difficult than learning Russian or Arabic, for example.  You just need willpower and perseverance, just like any other foreign language.

Your hardest decision will be choosing the right teacher in Birmingham.

How Do You Choose the Right Private Chinese Tutor?

There are plenty of Chinese tutors on Superprof offering their services to students in and around Birmingham.  If you're still wondering how you can learn to speak Chinese, look no further. With your own private tutor, you can learn everything you want to know about Chinese from A to Z including vocabulary, culture, phonetics, listening skills, speaking, etc.  You can find experienced and qualified tutors as well as tutors to speak Chinese natively.

When choosing a private tutor, rates are important. In Birmingham, the average price for an hour of Chinese tuition is £35. The prices tend to range between £12 an hour and £50 an hour. In addition to the hourly rate, there are several other criteria you should consider when choosing your private tutor:

  • Their teaching experience: are they native speaker, bilingual, or not? It's recommended that they have at least three years of experience, though this isn't essential. 
  • Their teaching qualifications
  • Exactly where they teach and whether or not they're willing to travel to you.
  • The content of their Chinese tutorials: Chinese writing exercises, grammar, pronouns, verbs, prepositions, etc.
  • The students' objectives: an absolute beginner should expect to pay less than someone who's looking for an advanced intensive course or preparing for an official Chinese exam.

In any case, there are lots of tutors on the platform who offer the first hour of tuition for free.  This is a great way to see if you get along, test your level, and discuss your expectations and needs.

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