You may realize that learning a second language is never easy. To succeed, you need perseverance, a lot of time, and useful Chinese resources. This is not to distract you, but to remind you that learning a new language requires the same effort as your mindset, but we will discuss this more later. Now, Sinobus has some basic steps to help you learn Chinese lessons.
The first step to learning Chinese is actually asking yourself a very important but possibly unpleasant question: Is this language suitable for me?
Learning a new language can be hard, but for Mandarin Chinese, it's especially so, which is why it often appears on the list of the world's hardest languages to learn! Learning Chinese is not suitable for everyone, and starting your journey requires the strength to do so, just as admitting it is not right for you requires the strength to do so before the race begins.
So, how do you know if Chinese is suitable for you? Think about how much time and money you are willing to invest (since Mandarin requires continuous work) and resources such as online vs. classroom. Therefore, if you are unsure if this language is suitable for you, the best thing you can do is attend a free lesson for English speakers to find the answer without wasting too much time and resources.
Now that you have started your language journey, the practical question arises: How can you learn Mandarin?
The resources you have can make or break your language progress, and many language learners give up due to a lack of sufficient language support. Our recommendation is to attend regular classes, based on an English speaker, and then use online resources or textbooks to continue and support your practice.
You can divide learning Chinese lessons into these steps
Learn Pinyin - correct pronunciation
Start with learning Pinyin (a system of writing Chinese using Roman letters), also known as the Chinese alphabet, which can be found in more detailed guides in our previous posts. Pinyin course is essential because it teaches you how to pronounce Chinese words correctly. This is important because although Pinyin looks easy to read, word pronunciation is different from what you expect.
Speak Chinese - practice with native Mandarin speakers
Once you have mastered this, you can move on to the next step, try speaking Chinese. The best way is to find a way to practice with native speakers, and you can ensure that your word pronunciation is correct. This will also help you transition from saying simple things to having basic conversations, which will reinforce positive language patterns. This will also help you with your listening skills. The benefits of learning a language in such a connected world are that you don't even have to leave your home to practice. There are many platforms that offer online lessons for English speakers, or you can even find an online language partner to practice with.
Listen to Chinese - practice recognizing tones
Although often combined with speaking, listening is a step of its own. Listening actually has a smaller step, tone. You can start from this. Now that you are interested in learning Chinese, you may know that Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, so it is important to speak with correct tones!
If you cannot recognize tones, not only will Chinese people not understand you, but you will not understand them. This skill requires a lot of practice, and there are many free apps that can help you practice. Tone skills also belong to speaking, so don't forget to use tones to practice speaking. It may seem impossible at first, but proper practice can make it possible.
Write Chinese - strengthen your ability to speak Chinese
The next step is the writing system, which is based on Chinese characters in China. For tips on how to practice your writing, see our past articles! Start with simple ones, find a fun way to practice Chinese characters, and don't let writing lag behind when you learn a language. Learning to write in Chinese will also enhance your speaking ability.
You don't have to strictly follow these steps, but if you want to improve your Chinese, one thing you must do is practice every day!