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Difficulties encountered by English speakers when studying Chinese🇨🇳

We all know that difficulties and challenges are an integral part of learning anything. If to speak about the languages, in most cases, it’s much easier to learn languages from the same family as your native one. Chinese can be considered a complex language to learn.

The most frequent concerns in learning Mandarin Chinese are:

  1. Tones: Chinese has various tones that can change the words’ meaning. English speakers are not accustomed to this, as English is a non-tonal language, so they often struggle with using tones.
  2. Characters: Chinese doesn’t have an alphabet like English. Instead, it uses a logographic system of thousands of characters. Memorizing and writing them can be daunting, as the characters have no direct phonetic clues.
  3. Grammar: It is much easier in some aspects (for example, no verb tenses), but it has unique features that may be challenging. The lack of an explicit plural, the way time is expressed, the use of particles to indicate mood and topic-prominent sentence structure are all things that English speakers need to adjust to.
  4. Cultural context: The Chinese language is closely tied to culture. There may be words, phrases, or ways of expressing things that don't translate directly into English or don’t make sense outside of a Chinese cultural context.
  5. Variations in writing systems: Chinese encompasses two distinct script systems, Traditional and Simplified Chinese. Learners need to decide which one to learn or whether to learn both, adding another layer of complexity to their studies.

Recommendations for learning Mandarin Chinese

Mastering a new language presents an array of opportunities, and the Chinese language, distinguished by its vibrant history and global significance, stands out among them. This extensive guide outlines practical measures, fruitful tactics, and indispensable advice to facilitate your Chinese language mastery while navigating the hurdles that are typically associated with this intriguing language.

Step 1: Lay a robust foundation

To thrive in Chinese, it’s essential to lay a robust foundation. First of all, determine your desires and plans in Chinese learning. Start with mastering Punyin. This is the system that converts Chinese hieroglyphs into the Roman alphabet, and it's crucial for correct pronunciation. Comprehending how each syllable is sounded with the correct tone will help you expand your skills.

In the beginning, Duolingo, which offers gamified learning, will help you retain basic expressions and get a first impression of the language. But it’s not enough to achieve fluency in Chinese.

Step 2: Decipher the characters

Chinese characters, with their complex strokes and patterns, can seem intimidating. Yet, with a methodical approach, this obstacle is attainable. Start by learning the most common and frequently used characters. Gradually move to more complicated ones and character combinations.

To strengthen recognition, practice handwriting them. This bolsters memory and fosters a deeper grasp of stroke order and structure. Also, employ digital resources that offer character recognition and writing practice exercises, such as Skritter and Chineasy.

Step 3: Amplify your vocabulary

Constructing a solid vocabulary is a stepping stone to mastery of Chinese. Begin with common phrases and slowly raise your collection to include specialized vocabulary pertinent to your personal passions or professional goals.

To reinforce your vocabulary, incorporate it into your daily routines. Label objects around your living area with their Chinese designations, maintain a vocabulary diary, or create flashcards for review during your free time.

Anki is a good resource for memorizing new vocabulary and characters, as well as Pleco.

To move forward towards fluency, repeat the words and expressions you already know and boost your vocabulary with a Chinese tutor. LiveXP is an excellent platform to get connected with Chinese tutors and study online in private lessons.

Pair your practice with a teacher by delving into Chinese literature, newspapers, and online articles to encounter new words in their context and boost your reading comprehension skills.

Step 4: Master tones and pronunciation

The tonal aspect of Mandarin Chinese can pose a challenge for learners. Changing the tone of a word in Chinese can change its meaning. Spend plenty of time familiarizing yourself with the 4 tones in Mandarin or the six tones in Cantonese.

Listen a lot and everything. Want to relax by watching a film? Do it in Chinese. Mimic the tones and ask for mentoring from native speakers to fine-tune your accent and cultivate a more authentic and precise accent.

This is one of the most problematic parts of the Chinese language. To avoid misinterpretations and errors, it’s important to memorize the tones and pronunciation correctly. Interacting with a native Chinese speaker represents the most optimal and efficient strategy for learning to converse in Mandarin Chinese. On LiveXP, you will easily find an instructor and practice Chinese. In 1-on-1 lessons, you’ll get the chance to hear native speakers utter words and use tones, which will aid in honing your pronunciation.

Step 4: Dive into the language

Uncover Chinese history, watch television programs and films, listen to Chinese music, or even try Chinese cuisine. Reading Chinese novels, poems, and folk tales enhances your language capabilities and immerses you in the cultural subtleties that mold the language. Also, discuss culture with your Chinese tutor on LiveXP and understand better idioms and expressions.

Best way to learn Mandarin

Mastering a language is a voyage that demands consistent effort. Allocate dedicated time each day or week to practice all language skills. Celebrate minor victories along the way, as every word learned and every sentence spoken brings you a step closer to fluency.

The best way to learn Chinese is to combine all the above-written techniques with private lessons with a Chinese tutor. Interact with content in Chinese and then discuss it with your tutor on LiveXP, practicing new words and grammar. The best thing is you can easily find a tutor who shares your interests so that your lessons will be interesting and engaging. In addition to this, your teacher will choose the best teaching materials. In this course, you learn every aspect of the Chinese language without misinterpretations and errors in the future.


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