With These Simple 5 Tricks You Will Learn to Speak Mandarin Chinese Much Faster
For a long time I thought that learning to speak Chinese language must be very difficult. All people around me were making me believe that as well. Even now, when I mention people that i am learning Chinese language, I get this stare on their faces:
“What??? You are learning Chinese??? It’s so hard and difficult! Why are you studying this if you already can speak English!”
And all I think to myself, that they have never tried it or that they have no idea whats going on in the current world. For me, learning Chinese has become a passion the same way I teach Yong Chun – Wing Tsun( 咏春), which is a very beautiful form of Chinese martial art and I see a lot of similarities in learning the language and learning this martial art.
As a matter of fact, I teach myself to speak Mandarin the same I teach students Wing Tsun. And it does work. Before I will share with you what I think is the best way to learn Mandarin, I think you will find this video very interesting, since is made from a guy who learned Chinese in 6 months!
So how do I do it?
Well, here are exactly the steps that I think are important for anyone who want to learn anything, be it martial arts, language or cooking…
The 5 Secret Tips to Learn Mandarin Chinese
1. Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes
I like to start with this one first, because I see a lot of students being affraid of making mistakes. I think its a side-effect of learning in the class environment at school. Many teacher and books will teach you a lot of stuff that you do not need while learning the language at the beginning.
They will teach you a lot of grammar, exceptions and dwell too much on saying things correctly.
But then, your mind will be always thinking about how to say it correctly without making mistakes. I believe this is wrong.
When you learn the language this way, you will always be in thinking mode and your speech will be so slow! That is not natural.
So my advice is that you try to say the new word as you hear it. Try to match the sound of the word as the native speaker would say it. Say it alound so many times that it will become natural.
You see, you will not learn this from any book or from a teacher who only wants you to know the grammar stuff, but there is no conversation during the class. That is why I recommend to learn from courses that have audios and videos, here are my favorite Mandarin Chinese learning course that trully work and make you ready to speak.
Simply follow the Nike’s commercial slogan —“Just do it!”
2. Learn the Mandarin Chinese Alphabet and Sounds — Pinyin
We have discussed how you should not be affraid to make mistakes. Please remember this and keep it deeply rooted in your mind. That way you will never stop the action and will master the language much faster.
Now its time to master the Chinese sounds or Pinyin. I have already written two articles on this topic — Chinese Alphabet and Chinese tones pronunciation. So go and watch the videos on those pages. Try to spend first week watching the videos and trying to copy the sound of it.
You will see that most of the sounds will be similar to English language, but some will be completely out of your league. Again, do not be affraid to make mistakes. After a week of trying, I believe you will already know which sounds are easy for you and which are the most difficult ones.
Once you know this information, focus all your time to master the most difficult Mandarin sounds and tones combinations.
This way, you will improve with much higher speed! Then find other ways to learn from hearing and repeating the sounds. For this the Rocket Chinese is the best, since it has voice recognition, where you can hear the sound of a native speaker and than you can record your version and compare to the native version. Again, that is a feature that can nnot be duplicated or learn from any Mandarin language book.
3. Start Learning Basic Mandarin Chinese Grammar and Vocabulary
When you go to this stage, you should be pretty confident in pronouncing Mandarin Chinese tones and letters. Now, you need to learn some basic grammar patterns in order to make sentences and some easy words so you can practice the patterns.
This point will be very difficult to explain, but I will try it like this:
- Basic Grammar Patterns: Here you need to realize that in Mandarin language, grammar is not so difficult. But there could be some exeptions. Do noy worry about it untill later stages of your learning process. For now, you need to focus only on couple things like:How to put sentence together, how to make a question, how to say that things already happened and the action finished (past tense) and how to create sentence that some action will happen in near future (future tense).Once you know these basics, all you do is to replace the words with new ones and form a new sentence, will it be to infrom someone about something, will it be asking simple question about somethin, talking about what you did the other day or what you will be doing in the future. You do not need anything more than this to start speaking Mandarin Chinese! Do not make it difficult, make it as simple as possible.
- Basic vocabulary: I think you would aggree that without words, you can not express what you want to say. So once you master some basic grammar patterns, you need to focus on learning new words. And please do not learn words by words, but try to learn the words inside the basic grammar sentences we talked about above.That way, you not only learn new Mandarin vocabulary, but further reinforce the grammar inside your brain. With this, the brain creates a new pathways that will help you later to speak as fluently as you can. Because brain likes to create associations and when you help yout brain to so this, your Chinese language learning progress will increase exponentionally.
4. Create Your Inner Dialogues in Mandarin Chinese
This one is very important trick. As soon as you know how to create the basic sentences and get some new vocabulary, you need to immediately to put it into use. What I am doing is having inner conversation in my head. I role play all kinds of situations, which will keep my brain busy.
I can stay like this the whole day. Now, it does not mean you do not speak aloud. I watched some actors doing some roleplaying for themselves in front of a mirror. Do the same!
Basically, first create a dialogue in your mind. Try to visualize the particular situation. Than repeat it like 5 times in your mind, without making any sounds. Just in your head.
After that go in front of a mirror and repeat the same visualization, but now you try to talk like it is for real. You will be amazed on how fast your language will improve!
Of course you can do this in a kitchen when you prepare your meals, in the shower or wherever you are and whenever you feel like it. Heck, even walking down the street. Just pretend that you are talking on the phone! Nobody will suspect that you just playing…lol!
5. Talk to Real People in Chinese
This is the last step, but very important one. Without this, you will only guess if you saying things the right way. I suggest to find somebody who speaks Mandarin Chinese already, preferably a native speaker, since he or she can give you immediate feedback on how they say it.
This way, your Mandarin learning will become as natural as possible and you will know that you are really able to speak real Chinese!
What if you do not have a Mandarin language speaker around?
Do not worry. There are plenty opportunities that you can find native speaker online. My favorite place is iTalki — that is a site, where you can trully find Mandarin Chinese language exchange partners or even professional tutors that still cost less that a class at your local boring language school.
You can learn more about iTalki website here, you should give it a try if you are serious about speaking Chinese fluently, but have nobody to practice with.
And without practicing with native speakers, your progress will be very slow. Later you might even get discouraged and frustrated. And you will quit. That would be a pitty, you have started a long journey to master one of the most beautiful language in the world, so go for it all the way!
OK, you have now discovered what I believe the only way of learning to speak Chinese fluently. As you can see, it is not so difficult and it is not some rocket science or secret. Just common sence that will make the learning process more fun! And I always say that if its not fun, its not worth doing it.
You need to ask yourself a question — “Why do you want to learn to speak Mandarin Chinese?”
Once you have clear answer in your mind, there is no doubt that you can not do that. Just go for it and have fun while learning to speak Mandarin Chinese language!