Aug 20, 2019

Surprising Ways to Learn the Chinese Language

Image Source: Photo by Niketh Vellanki on Unsplash

Chinese is one of the world’s most widely spoken languages with more than a billion speakers. It is arguably an important language that has the potential to go toe to toe with English as an international language. Learning it has palpable benefits particularly in the fields of business, education, government relations, entertainment, and tourism.

If you want to learn Chinese, attending a language course is not the only way to do it. Consider the following alternative methods.

Watching YouTube

YouTube may be mired by a plethora of nonsense, but it can also be a trove of useful information. You can find numerous tutorials or guides in learning the Chinese language in this massively popular video sharing platform. There’s a good number of YouTube channels dedicated to teaching new languages. You don’t have to spend for them. Maybe just consider not skipping the ads to show some appreciation for the quality content you find useful.

A quick search using the keywords “how to learn Chinese” will lead you to a good selection of video tutorials, most of which are presented by native Chinese speakers. You can find many channels that feature series of videos to help you get started. You’ll be surprised at how a good number of these videos are thoughtfully structured or organized to help you understand the lessons more quickly. Some even come with appealing graphics or visual cues to help you remember the details better.

Using Translation Apps

Habitually using translation apps can help you learn a new language. Even if you are not traveling all of the time, consider installing a reputable translation app on your phone. Chinese translation is complicated, so make sure you only use an app developed by a dependable language specialist and backed by extensive R&D. Better yet, get an app that facilitates access to human translation services.

Giving in to Your Drama Addiction

Are you a fan of Chinese series or movies? Make good use of that fondness, or passion if you will, by turning it into a motivator in learning Chinese. Many fans of Korean pop music and dramas have become fluent in speaking Korean out of their desire to be up to date with their idols and the latest drama releases without relying on subtitles. You can do the same with Chinese by harnessing your love for Chinese media and pop culture.

Dramas and movies can help you become familiar with the basics and nuances of the Chinese language. Hearing people speak Chinese frequently and exerting the subconscious effort to understand the words being said can train your mind too.

Socializing with Chinese Speaking People

Make friends with people who speak Chinese. Join clubs or attend social gatherings participated by Chinese speaking people and make friends with them. It will become inevitable to learn how to speak a bit of Chinese as you regularly interact with people who speak the language. If you are the type who does not easily get motivated to do something like learning a new language, being with people who don’t speak your language can create the urgency to do something new.

Socializing does not have to be always personal, though. You can play video games with Chinese speakers, participate in Reddit discussions or other forum boards, engage in regular online chat, or use social media. China may have banned most of the popular social media platforms in the country, but it shouldn’t be difficult to find other Chinese speakers (not based in China) on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Dating a Chinese Speaker

You may also go a level higher than socializing by dating someone who speaks Chinese. If you fall for someone who speaks the language and you successfully develop a romantic relationship with the person, take full advantage of the relationship. Take the time and exert the effort to learn each other’s languages. Doing so should make things more fruitful, enjoyable, and less prone to misunderstandings.

In Conclusion

Of course, you will not learn Chinese by simply doing the alternative Chinese learning methods briefly discussed above. You need to complement them with your own efforts in learning the characters, words, pronunciation, grammar, idioms, and more. The surprising approaches described here are only meant to enhance the learning experience. You need to actively try to learn the language using a combination of methods. Watch online tutorial videos to get a better grasp of the characters, words, pronunciation, and grammar. Then, expose yourself to Chinese multimedia materials that greatly interest you, and interact with Chinese speakers (online or in person) to become more familiar with the language.

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By Sean | A Super Chineasian

Sean Patrick Hopwood is the polyglot CEO of Day Translations, Inc., a global language service provider that serves clients in a wide range of industries including healthcare, finance, and government.

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