Our Top 5 Tips on Becoming Fluent in Mandarin

A woman raising her hand in a Mandarin Language class

Learning a new language may seem extremely daunting before you actually start studying.

The idea of being fluent in Mandarin, speaking with locals, ordering food from an authentic restaurant and traveling in China using the new-to-you language may seem just out of reach.

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Truthfully, it is for now. But, if you follow these five tips, becoming fluent in Mandarin will become a possibility for you.

1. Understand that Chinese can be easy to learn

Blocks spelling out the word language

There is a large number of people that believe Chinese is the most difficult language to learn because of the written characters. In some cases, that is true. The Chinese writing system is extremely different than other languages. It doesn’t have an alphabet, it has thousands of pictographs called “characters” and the language itself is a “tonal” language.

However, the Chinese language boasts one of the easiest grammars in the world. The structure is like English (subject + verb + object). Verbs are singular with no conjugations whatsoever and there are no genders or plural nouns.

2. Learn Mandarin

A woman writing want to learn a language on a whiteboard

While there are hundreds of regional and locally spoken Chinese languages, we suggest learning Mandarin.

Mandarin Chinese is spoken by more than 955 million speakers worldwide, which makes it the most spoken language. If you learn Mandarin, that means you have the potential to speak to over 13% of the world’s total population.

It’s the predominant dialect in Northern China and is the official language of politics, education and media in both Mainland China and Taiwan.

Did you know that in Mainland China, the Chinese word for “Mandarin” translates to “common language”? If that’s not enough of a reason… We don’t know what is!

Fortunately for study abroad students, Mandarin is also arguably the easiest of all the Chinese languages to learn.

3. Take your studies seriously

A man sitting at a computer typing in a search in how to be fluent in Mandarin

You’re not going to become fluent overnight. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, dedication and study time.

Unlike a lot of Western languages which share more common linguistic roots with the English language, Chinese requires a high level of commitment and perseverance. You’re probably not going to learn Mandarin once a week in an hour-long group session.

You are however more likely to learn Mandarin in an intensive one-on-one class with a professional teacher. Keats School in Kunming, China offers an intensive one-on-one study option that includes private Chinese lessons Monday to Friday, allowing you more time to study the language.

Do your homework to find the best study option for you.

Additionally, you need to practice, practice, practice. Nothing is going to help you become fluent more than practicing the language. When you’re out exploring, even if you have the possibility to use your first language, why not try to only speak Mandarin?

If you’re in need of help, ask a local, ask a friend or ask a teacher. Westerners who have mastered the Mandarin language say that the real fluency comes when you spend time in a Mandarin-speaking city and country and you’re able to survive without your first language.

4. Focus on your language needs

A dictionary with the word study highlighted in Mandarin and English

According to the Huffington Post, a lot of Mandarin learners focus on speaking the language first before reading and writing it. This is because of the highly complex writing system, which can seem overwhelming at the beginning of your studies.

According to the Huffington Post, a lot of Mandarin learners focus on speaking the language first before reading and writing it. This is because of the highly complex writing system, which can seem overwhelming at the beginning of your studies.

The teacher will then create a completely customized study plan for you.

By working on what you want to work on, your focus will be zoned in. This will help with your study motivation because you’re learning and studying what you want to.

5. Listen carefully

A man holding his hand next to his ear

While learning a language is a lot about practicing speaking the language, there are huge benefits to listening to others speak.

When you’re having a conversation with a local, listening to your teacher speak with another student in the hallway or watching a tv show, listen carefully. Pay attention to the conversation and the wording being used.

By opening your ears, you’re listening to what the other party is saying and you could respond to what was said with relevant phrases of your own.

Soon your mind will pick up on certain spoken words and you’ll be on the road to understanding the tonal language.

You can learn Mandarin too

A woman sitting at the computer learning Mandarin

In the end, it’s not what you do, it’s the way you do it. Learning Mandarin will take a lot of time, but once you’re completely fluent it will be an incredibly rewarding feeling. You’ll be able to put it on your C.V., you’ll be able to speak with locals, business professionals and you won’t feel like a tourist in China anymore.

To learn more about Keats School in Kunming, China and why this school is a great option for you, contact us today. We’d love to discuss our eight different study plans and figure out which one would be best suited for you.

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