Learning The Mandarin Language In Adulthood: Our 6 Tips

A group of adults sitting together thinking about the Mandarin language

There are a lot of adults who have the desire to learn a new language but something stops them from going for it.

It might be the fear that they think they’re too old to learn a new language (which is false) or they aren’t sure where to start. Whatever the reason, we want to change that fear of learning Mandarin Chinese and turn it into encouragement.

We’ve compiled 6 tips that will help make learning and understanding Mandarin Chinese easier for you.

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Continue reading to learn the key lessons we discovered when it comes to the most spoken language in the world.

Invest in your education and go through an intensive Mandarin program

A man and a woman studying the Mandarin language together

Your education is the thing that’s going to help you become fluent in Mandarin. If you’re serious, you’re going to need to invest some time and money. Applying and going through an intensive Mandarin program will give you the solid foundation to language learning that you’ve been looking for.

Keats Chinese in Kunming, China offers an intensive one-on-one course that has quickly become their most popular study program.

Personalized exercises and materials are developed for each student, which means you’re spending the time learning exactly what you want to learn.

Keats intensive program features personal study plans, the best teachers, any time start date and full services like food and accommodation.

Follow Chinese media & listen to Chinese music

Take a deep dive into the Chinese culture. If you begin to follow a Chinese TV show that you enjoy watching or listening to artists that you like from China, you will begin to pick up on key words and phrases.

What you watch or listen to will depend on your preferences and language level. If you’re interested, watching cartoons are a great place to start.

One popular series is called Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf. It’s a series created by Huang Weiming, Lin Yuting and Luo Yinggeng and has been running since 2005. Many language blogs encourage you to watch this show when learning Mandarin because it’s easy to digest.

Befriend a language buddies who is learning Mandarin

When you’re learning Mandarin Chinese, having a language buddy will help your skills broaden. Try to connect with someone who is studying Mandarin in the same school as you, but has a different first language.

By speaking two different first languages, that means you both won’t fall back on them to speak. Instead, you’ll have to use your Mandarin skills to converse.

Having a language buddy will also make you feel comfortable with mistakes. Since they’re a student like you, you both can feel less embarrassed when making a mistake or not knowing a word.

Help each other out when possible and watch your language knowledge grow.

Live in China

A woman on a bike in China

If you really want to learn Mandarin, pack your bags and buy the next plane ticket to China.

When you immerse yourself in the culture, listen to the Mandarin language every day, speak it when ordering your latte from your favourite cafe and write it while in class, your fluency will improve before you know it.

When you move away to learn a new language and study abroad, don’t square yourself off and only become friends with people who speak your primary language. One of the best things you can do is get out into the real world of Mandarin-speaking individuals and live like a local.

Speak Mandarin to your classmates, to your teacher, to your neighbors, the stranger at the bus stop and your Chinese friends. Always try your best to speak the primary language of the country you’re living in.

Practice speaking to yourself

Yes, you read that right. We’re encouraging you to talk to yourself. While you may not be comfortable enough to speak Mandarin around other people, speaking it out loud to yourself will do you wonders.

Learning Mandarin isn’t always easy. There are different tones you need to learn, key phrases that mean different things and sometimes it just feels funny speaking another language out loud.

By practicing by yourself, you will gain the confidence to speak it in front of others. Sit in front of a mirror, have a couple of sentences and words you want to master and repeat them over and over again. Watch yourself speaking them, pay attention to how you feel. Once you feel like you’re comfortable with those sentences, move on to a couple of new ones. Then, the next day, when you’re out, use those sentences in public.

We bet you’ll feel a lot less nervous than you’d expect.

Decide between simplified or traditional Chinese characters

There are two types of writing systems in Mandarin. There are traditional characters and simplified characters.

The simplified characters are mostly used in Mainland China and Singapore nowadays and have fewer strokes than traditional characters. Traditional characters are used in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

As someone who is just learning Mandarin, you should pick one version to learn. As your language skills grow and if you’re interested in learning how to write Chinese both ways, that’s completely a possibility.

But, to ease into the language, we suggest focusing on one type.

At Keats School, we teach students how to write simplified Chinese characters because they are more commonly used in China as well as around the world. Simplified characters are easy to learn and memorize. Normally, for the 4-hour Intensive One-on-one Chinese program at Keats, students usually learn 10 to 30 characters during a 4-hour lesson.

It is highly recommended to start to learn simplified characters at the beginning stage when you start to study Mandarin Chinese. Many students can speak very good Chinese, but cannot write. They have a hard time picking up the characters at a later stage.

Learn Mandarin Today

We hope with these tips, you will feel confident in signing up for your Mandarin intensive course. If you’re interested in putting tip #4 into play, Keats School in Kunming, China could be just the place for you.

We offer eight different study abroad options including an intensive one-on-one course. To apply online or to learn more about our school, visit our website today.

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