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Eight Keys To Quickly Learning Mandarin Chinese

By Edited Sep 23, 2016 0 3

Study Mandarin Chinese Quickly And Effectively

Mandarin Language Classes In Taiwan Are Rated The Best In The World

Taking Mandarin Language Classes In Taiwan

If you want to learn Mandarin Chinese you really have to be there and you have to be in an environment that forces you to speak Chinese every day. This is true for all languages but particularly so for learning Chinese. Very few people who remain in their home countries and try to learn Chinese from taking Mandarin language classes or using on online Mandarin Chinese language learning course are going to stick with it for long or succeed if they do. Even if you think you are making progress studying Mandarin Chinese you won’t really know how much you can understand or how well others can understand you until you are put in a real life situation.

Mandarin Language Classes in Taiwan are the top rated in the world.  There are excellent Chinese language courses available for foreigners studying Mandarin at the finest universities in Taiwan as well as many highly rated public and private mandarin language programs.  While many try to learn Chinese using software programs such as Rosetta Stone Mandarin, you must be very motivated and dedicated to make significant progress in your language learning this way.  While Rosetta Stone is the top language learning software, there is really no substitute for full Chinese language immersion programs.

If you are just beginning to consider learning Mandarin Chinese you may want to take a look at the article Top Ten Reasons To Learn Chinese to gain some additional motivation.

Learn The Traditional Chinese Characters First

As you probably already know if you are interested in learning Chinese there are two sets of Chinese characters in use. The traditional Chinese characters are in use in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and pretty much most of the rest of the world where there are Chinese populations. The simplified Chinese characters, brought into use by Mao after the communists took control in China, are in use in Mainland China. Are the simplified characters easier to learn? Yes, moderately so, but the small amount of additional time put into learning the traditional chinese characters will pay off in the end. Once you have learned the traditional characters the simplified ones are a snap to learn. The reverse is not the case. The traditional characters also preserve more of the original meaning of the characters and it is easier to see the relationships between them.

Learn Bo Po Mo Fo (or PinYin if you must)

Take the time to learn Bo Po Mo Fo – the phonetic system used in Taiwan for studying Mandarin Chinese before you begin studying the characters. If you are taking a Mandarin language class in Taiwan you will be required to do this.  If you are in Mainland China or elsewhere then you may have to settle for PinYin. PinYin is decidedly inferior to the Taiwanese system both in its rendering of the pronunciation of characters and in the fact that since it is romanized you will use the system as more of a crutch since you will look at the more familiar looking Pinyin by default rather than focusing on the character. But, you must use a phonetic system. Do not make the mistake of trying to develop your own phonetic system. This will not work.

Keep A Chinese Language Learning Notebook

Keep a small notebook with you to write down new Chinese vocabulary words and phrases you have learned. Refer back to your notebook in free moments to review what you have learned. You can also use this to copy down unfamiliar characters you see commonly repeated on signs, menus, etc. so that you can look the meaning of these up later or ask questions in your Mandarin language class.

Learn To Use A Chinese Dictionary

Using a Chinese dictionary to study Chinese is a bit of tedious process for those of us used to using dictionaries based on western languages. It is however a necessary skill that you will need as a student learning Chinese.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Daily practice is a key to learning Mandarin Chinese. You won’t retain what you have learned if you don’t practice. Go outside and practice speaking. It will be better if you do this on your own. Don’t become dependent on a Chinese friend or another student who is more advanced than you to speak for you. The more you practice, the better you become.

Use A Variety Of Chinese Study Materials

Don’t become dependent on a single method of Chinese language learning. You should use a variety of sources to make your learning more interesting and language acquisition more rapid. At a minimum you should have a good Chinese student dictionary, a couple good textbooks, some type of audio learning resource such as podcasts, CDs or online course materials, study materials such as Chinese flash cards like those from Chinese in a Flash and of course your notebook.

Know Your Own Language Learning Style

How do you learn best? Are you more of a visual learner or do you do best with recordings? We all have different ways of learning so tailor your Mandarin Chinese study to that which suits you best.



Apr 16, 2012 11:30pm
I agree with much of what you say but I think you are being very hard on Pinyin; it is an excellent and very simple system (even I managed it) and I believe it has now gained acceptance in Taiwan. I suspect that many learners using Bo Po Mo Fo (or Zhuyin Fuhao to give it its formal name) still add a form of Romanization to help them remember how to pronounce the symbol, which rather defeats the object. But we all learn in different ways, so who is to say which is best?
Apr 17, 2012 12:10am
There is no question that Pinyin is easier to learn than Zhuyin Fuhao. However, it's not *that* much easier to learn - it looks much simpler to the beginner since it's romanized. Because it is much easier to quickly read and recognize pinyin for a westerner though most students will immediately look at the pinyin rather than focusing on the character. The pinyin pronunciation is also not as exact as Zhuyin Fuhao and I know of no one who uses Bo Po Mo Fo who adds romanization as well. Once you've learned it, it's very easy to read. Basically it probably comes down to where you learn Chinese. If you learn in Mainland China you're essentially forced to learn Pin Yin and if you learn in Taiwan you'll probably use Zhuyin Fuhao though some schools will accommodate foreigners who want to use Pin Yin. For native Chinese speakers in Taiwan, the school system requires Bo Po Mo Fo.
Mar 19, 2013 1:08am
this is a very good guide. i personally am learning the traditional and simplified side by side - which is not hard as i am already familiar with chinese characters from japanese. however you make some really good points.
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