As you are planning to spend some time in China, you are probably also thinking about learning Chinese, or actually Mandarin, as the most common Chinese dialect is called.
For most non-native speakers, the hardest part about learning the Chinese language is the tones. The four tones that make up Mandarin Chinese don't feel natural to our foreign tongues.
The best place to start as a student of the language is with one simple but important concept: listening.
Learning to be a good listener is the first step to learning tones. You need to make it a part of your daily habits, whether you're watching Chinese TV or listening to a Chinese podcast.
Once your ear has been able to get a feel for the tones, it will be much easier to start working on your pronunciation and accent so you can sound more like a Chinese person speaking Chinese instead of a laowai.
In many cases, it's best that new language learners focus on listening and speaking the Chinese language before moving on to reading and writing. Why?
Because learning the Chinese characters, although fun, is like learning a whole new language inside of an already difficult language.
It takes a lot of time, repetition, practice and patience, but in the end, it's one of the most rewarding skills. To be able to read and write Chinese is something that will set you apart as a language learner!
The foundation of any good lanaguage learning system is vocabulary. The more Chinese vocuabulary you can master - even if it's only spoken - the better you'll be able to communicate.
There are numerous methods to learn Chinese vocabulary, but the most popular are flashcard apps that make use of the phone that you keep in your pocket. This powerful device can now speed up your Chinese language learning!
Here are few ideas and tips for building your base of Chinese vocabulary.
The Chinese language is a uniquely difficult one to learn. The tones, the characters, the grammar...it all presents a fun challenge.
Thankfully, you are not the first person to attempt to learn Chinese - that path has been well-trodden! For this reason, there are also some great tips and tricks that have been shared over the years.
I invite you to dive deeper into some of these language tips to help accelerate your Chinese language acquisition. Some of these might seem like no-brainer ideas, while others might spark a new thought on how to learn more efficiently.
There are so many great language resources available for students today, it can almost be overwhelming. That's why we've shared our favorite resources that we've personally used over the years.
These are the books, apps, and courses that have stood the test of time and provided immense help in the language acquisition process.
If you need some good recommendations for tools to help you with listening, speaking, reading or writing...look no further than these recommendations.