Learning a new language can be done for fun or for more serious reasons. Some of the reasons that could compel you into learning Chinese include relocating to the country for educational reasons or to settle there because of one reason or another. If you are looking forward to doing business, creating partnerships or even working in the country or with its locals, then you might also need to learn the language. The challenge of learning a new language is inevitable, even when it comes to Chinese, but by doing a few important things, you can actually have an easier time learning the language.
1. Know the languages
When it comes to Chinese, you have to decide whether to learn Cantonese or Mandarin. Mandarin is the national language of Taiwan and China and is best for travelers and learners headed to the country. Cantonese on the other hand is the primary language in Guangdong province and Hong Kong and you can consider it if you are headed to those two locations as it is the dialect for Chinese overseas. Generally, Mandarin is easier to learn compared to Cantonese, which is characterized by more tones and changing slang terms.
2. Decide whether to speak or write Chinese
Considering that this is a language that is not phonetic based, learning to write will not help you learn speaking it. It may be helpful to learn reading characters if you are travelling so you can easily read menus and signs as well as interact with the locals. Writing the language can be done as enjoyable art.
3. Learn phrases rather than vocabulary
One of the easiest ways of learning Chinese it by learning phrases to help build vocabulary and not the other way round. This way, you are able to communicate by context, even when tones are not quite right. Remember this is a language with many words having a similar meaning even though they are used in different contexts.
4. Expose yourself more
Repeated exposure to Chinese will make your learning smoother and easier. This could mean creating time to listen to audio lessons and programs as much as you can so you can distinguish tones and reproduce them correctly. The more you expose yourself, the more you hone your speaking; it is really something you can best learn by hearing rather than reading.
5. Reduce pressure on grammatical rules
The vocabulary may be complex when it comes to Chinese, but the grammatical structure is simple. With the reduced pressure on grammar, absorbing the language is faster. Instead of concentrating on intellectually understanding the rules, focus on practicing the language and getting as much exposure as you can. When you listen and repeat over and over, learning becomes very easy.
6. Have fun while at it
You may be learning the language for serious reasons, but without enjoying the learning you will achieve very little. Join a language group, try language exchanges and watch as many Chinese movies as you can. Whatever you do just ensure you remain motivated to keep learning.