As the world becomes more global, the need for multilingualism increases. With the rise of the ‘digital nomad’ culture, where people are constantly on the move, it’s not easy to find the time to sit down with a language course and learn a new language. That’s why Chinese is seen as an ‘easier’ language to learn these days, compared to, let’s say, Japanese.
However, being the ‘chopsticks of the modern world’ , Chinese can be a very useful language to know. While the global community is increasingly becoming multilingual, China is still very much a mono-lingual country. This means that a lot of the population doesn’t know, and perhaps may never learn, another language – at least not as well as they know Chinese. If you’re looking to learn Chinese, this can be a real disadvantage. Especially since most people around the world think that Chinese is mostly a vocabulary and grammar based language (i.e. grammar doesn’t change that much from one dialect to another). Is this truly the case? Let’s find out.
How to learn Chinese
While it’s not easy to learn Chinese, it’s not impossible. There are a few tips and tricks that can make the process much easier.
Firstly, get a good book. The more you read, the smarter you’ll get. The idioms, grammar, and vocabulary will all start to make sense to you. Moreover, make sure that the book is written by an author that you’d find interesting. It’s amazing how much a good story can help you learn a language. As you read the book, you’ll learn new words and phrases, which you can then use in your daily life. Remember–vocabulary and grammar don’t come easily to everyone, so it’s important to be patient.
Understand The Differences
Before you begin your Chinese journey, it’s important to understand the key differences between the Chinese languages. Otherwise, you’ll likely confuse yourself and not be able to progress at a decent pace. Fortunately, there are several language teachers who’ve done much of the hard work for you, parsing out the differences between the various Chinese languages. For example, in order to help you learn Korean, they’ve identified the most frequently used words and phrases in Korean, as well as those that are unique to the language. With this tool, you’ll have a head start in your language learning, and be able to make much more progress than you would if you were forced to learn Mandarin Chinese by yourself.
Many Chinese words and phrases have been adopted into English. However, in most cases, these words and phrases aren’t directly related to the English language. For this reason, when a Chinese person speaks English, they usually use a special language called Pinyin. Pinyin is a Romanized form of Chinese that’s been adopted by most Chinese linguists and teachers. Due to its widespread use in China, it’s the perfect gateway drug to help you learn Chinese.
If you visit the Chinese Wikipedia, you’ll see that most entries have been translated into Pinyin. Moreover, if you go to a Chinese dictionary, you’ll see that Pinyin has been adopted as the standard form of diction for writing Chinese words. If you’re looking to start your Chinese journey, Pinyin will be your best friend. Don’t worry–this pronunciation guide isn’t going to be too hard, we’ll help you along the way.
When you study a foreign language, it’s important not to cram. This is especially true when you’re learning Chinese. If you do, you’ll likely find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of new material, and won’t learn anything new. Instead, take your time–slowly but surely you’ll be able to understand and remember things much better. Moreover, make sure that you’re not going too fast either. Remember, you’re not at school anymore, you’re free to learn at your own pace.
Try And Test Your Learning
Learning isn’t something that happens overnight. It usually takes a while before you can actually start using the new knowledge you’ve gained from studying. For this reason, it’s important to regularly test yourself. This way, you’ll ensure that your brain is still absorbing the new material, and that you’re not just regurgitating what you learned. Unfortunately, once you stop testing, the material will no longer be in your head, and you’ll struggle to recall it. For this reason, make sure to test yourself regularly, use lots of practice materials, and take regular breaks.
Learn From YouTube
If you’re really looking to learn Chinese, the best way to do so is from YouTube. There you’ll find many Chinese language tutorials and lessons. Moreover, the videos can also serve as an invaluable reference for other topics that you might encounter while studying. For example, in one of his videos, Justin Bylsma–a Swedish language teacher–shows you the differences between the Chinese and Japanese ways of pronouncing certain words. While this might not be directly related to your Chinese studies, it can still prove useful. Don’t forget, every language has its own idiosyncrasies, and this can make a difference in how you say certain phrases and words. This can eventually lead you to learning how to say them differently, and in a more Chinese-like manner.
Use Audio Books
If you’re looking to study a language, one of the best ways of doing so is with audio books. The world of Chinese books, both printed and on audio, is growing, and it’s all thanks to companies like [Sohu](https://sohu.com/), who aim to make audio books available for everyone. With dozens of Chinese-language audiobooks available, it’s never been easier for students to learn Chinese. Moreover, since audio books can be paused and fast-forwarded, they make a great studying aid. And what’s more, you can use this ability to test yourself on what you’ve learned, seeing how you do on a particular phrase or word when compared to the audio version.
Ultimately, just like anything else in life, learning Chinese is not easy. However, with a little bit of patience and determination, you’ll be able to overcome any language barriers that you might encounter. Moreover, as you learn more and more, you’ll find that your productivity in daily life increases. Which is always a good thing.