- 1 Wrong thought 1: learning a language with completely wrong learning goals
- 2 Wrong thought 2: many people think that multilingual learning will confuse each other
- 3 Wrong thought 3: Most people think that language learning must take many years before being used
- 4 Rule No.1: Firstly, we have to learn the basics of a foreign language, including listening, pronunciation, and recognition.
- 5 Rule No.2: Listening skills
- 6 Rule No.3: Pronunciation
- 7 Rule No.4: Recognition of the Chinese characters
- 8 Rule No.5: Fully immersive environment of language learning
Before introducing how to learn the Chinese language easily, I would like to point out a few common wrong thoughts about language learning because when your thought and cognition are in the wrong mode, your behavior must be wrong. If you apply the wrong way of thinking in language learning, then the result will be either poor performance or learning in the wrong direction.
Wrong thought 1: learning a language with completely wrong learning goals
For example, many Chinese learn English for the college entrance examination. So what exactly is the language used for? The fundamental purpose of language learning is to open up a new world for you, allowing you to get in-depth exposure to a new culture. Therefore, the purpose of language learning is to understand what others say, understand what others write, and express one’s thoughts orally and in writing.
Wrong thought 2: many people think that multilingual learning will confuse each other
For example, many people who learn French will confuse it with English. The spelling methods of many words in these two languages are very similar, but the pronunciation is quite different, so it is easy to cause confusion. But if the proper learning method is applied at the beginning of learning, you wouldn’t have to face this problem.
What is the proper learning method, then? When learning a new language, turn off other language systems. It’s like imagining yourself like a computer, each language is an operating system, and each is independent of the other.
Wrong thought 3: Most people think that language learning must take many years before being used
Most people think that daily life and work are already busy enough to deal with, so there is no extra time to learn a second language. In fact, with the proper and professional instructions, you would achieve the purpose of simple communication in less than one year or two years. Language learning is an accumulation process, but it won’t take forever.
After sorting out these wrong thoughts, we can start explaining how to learn the Chinese language easily. Which rules can be followed to help you learn Chinese with less effort?
Rule No.1: Firstly, we have to learn the basics of a foreign language, including listening, pronunciation, and recognition.
Pinyin is fine to most Mandarin learners. However, when it is related to the Chinese characters, many people just intend to skip the part of learning, but this shortcut method will cause difficulties in subsequent learning.
For example, in Chinese sentences with complex context, many homophones will be confused. At the same time, due to the vagueness of Chinese grammar in daily communication, if you cannot successfully recognize Chinese characters, it will greatly impact communication.
Learning Chinese characters well can lay a solid foundation for you and can facilitate your learning later. Checking out this blog about THE 500 MOST COMMONLY USED CHINESE CHARACTERS, you can learn some skills about mastering characters.
Rule No.2: Listening skills
How to learn listening? The trick is to listen as much as possible, even when you are new to the language in the first place.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand because your purpose at the beginning is not to understand but to have an overall sense of the sound of the language. If you listen a lot, you can naturally capture the laws of pronunciation and even know what a certain pronunciation means.
The best way of practicing your listening skill is to watch movies and listen to speeches, choose your favorite movies and speeches, and learn languages while having fun.
Rule No.3: Pronunciation
Why should pronunciation be such important when learning to speak Mandarin Chinese? If you ignore pronunciation, then even if you may seem to be learning a language, it is very likely that, in the end, you have actually learned an imperfect language.
Because a language is actually divided into written and spoken language. The two are closely related. For example, when you are in class, you can take notes while listening to write down what you hear, but if your written and spoken language are out of sync, it will be a mass.
How to practice pronunciation?
The best way is to imitate. Not only imitate the sound you hear but also imitate the mouth shape of the pronunciation. When we imitate pronunciation, we are also imitating the shape of the mouth. If the shape of the mouth is wrong, the pronunciation must be wrong too. The shape of the mouth includes the closure of the teeth, the curling of the tongue, and the position of the root part of the tongue.
Every language has dozens of fixed pronunciations, and each word is composed of these pronunciation elements. After remembering these pronunciation elements, the pronunciation of each word is just simple recombination for you. The way of learning pronunciation is very similar to listening: watching video materials, observing mouth shape and pronunciation, and then imitating.
Rule No.4: Recognition of the Chinese characters
Recognition means when you see a word, you can remember and know what the word means. How to perform effective Chinese character recognition?
The human brain usually only remembers meaningful things; if this thing is meaningless to you, you will quickly forget it. This is actually a way of human existence. Because there is too much information, the brain automatically filters out meaningless things. So we have to give this word meaning when we recognize it. The way to give meaning is through association.
Rule No.5: Fully immersive environment of language learning
Studies have shown that an “immersive learning environment” is more effective for a language learner under the correct guidance and instruction than in a traditional classroom environment. Only by learning Chinese through an immersive environment can learners speak authentic oral grammar like locals.
Language environment is the key point of language learning.
Well known about this, Keats School developed its most popular language program, the intensive One-on-one Chinese program, in 2004. You could fully immerse yourself in the authentic Chinese culture and its language. And the best length of time for you to improve your Chinese proficiency would be one year. Please check out the Keats blog for more details about why you should take a one-year Chinese language course.
In addition to following the above rules about learning the Chinese language easily, you should also develop a sound study plan and stick to it. One of the most critical parts of language learning is persistence. As long as you can persist, you can slowly accumulate and gradually achieve qualitative changes.