Chinese language is one of the most difficult languages to learn as it consists of a thousands of characters. Each character has its own unique way of pronunciation. However, no need to worry about all these intricacies surrounding the Chinese language. Nobody learnt anything in a day or two. Have you heard about the girl who learnt to play piano in a week? Neither have I. Similarly, you can’t expect yourself to be a fluent language speaker in a week or so. Whether you are about to learn French in Brisbane, Spanish in New York, or master Chinese in any other part of the world; no one can be a fluent speaker in a couple of weeks or so. However, there are ways in which you can speed up this learning process.
There are a wide range of foolproof tips and tricks to make you learn Chinese as soon as possible. These are more like guidelines than actual rules. Nevertheless, one cannot negate the individual effort required to achieve this feat.
Below are some points to assist you in learning Chinese fast:
Research the Basics
Before you begin learning the Chinese language, do a basic research. This research shall entail all the possible and best sources from where you can learn the language. Not only this, your research shall include the answers to a few core questions like:
o What is the difference between traditional and simplified Chinese characters?
o Which one of those should I try to learn?
o What is a brief history of Chinese characters?
o What are some dialects (if any) of the language? Mandarin v/s Cantonese?
o What is my learning goal? And till when I shall achieve it?
Specify Learning Schedule
Once you have done the basic research, consider setting up a daily learning schedule. It should be customized as per your learning goals. Stick to those goals and keep a record of all what you learn daily. To learn the Chinese language you need to be regular or else you will forget what you learnt the other day! Keep in mind that practice makes perfect. Practice as much as you can.
Give Time to Memorize Characters
Memorizing the characters and repeating them daily is very crucial for learning the language fast. Daily repetition is a must because you forget the characters as fast as you learn them. Therefore, the repetition makes you learn and retain them in your mind permanently. You may make cardboard flashcards with characters written on them and use them to revise the characters.
Distinguish Patterns, not Rules
Instead of getting wound up in difficult grammar rules, just focus on patterns associated with different characters. The book titled ‘Intermediate Reader in Modern Chinese’ by Harriet Mills mentions this very fact. In each of the chapters in the book they have included patterns for each character and they serve as frames to speak fluently. There is no doubt that the Chinese grammar is not very complicated. It is free from genders, conjugations, verbs, and complicated tenses. Still the patterns are way easier to learn Chinese language fast.
Listen and Speak Often
Pick a famous Chinese movie or a song and listen to their words. Try it with subtitles the first time and afterwards give it a go without the subtitles. Unlike reading which helps in building vocabulary, listening actually helps you to speak a language. One of the main issues with Chinese is remembering the tones. Listening makes you ease into remembering these tones.
Speaking to yourself in front of a mirror helps build self-confidence. Likewise try and find a study buddy to whom you can converse in Chinese. Don’t worry about the mistakes. Nobody is perfect. Speak while making mistakes and you shall soon be able to speak without even a single mistake.
Final thoughts – Chinese can be fun to learn if you keep a schedule and focus on basic research beforehand. Know your goal and set aside a time limit to achieve that goal. Work through the language in a systematic way; like remembering the patterns instead of the vocabulary. Likewise, listen and speak often to absorb different tones of the Chinese characters. Good luck with your Chinese learning journey! Hopefully it will be a fast one!