Learning Chinese Mandarin.
Chinese is considered to be one the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers. However this shouldn’t discourage you from wanting to learn it. Some parts of Mandarin are even easier and more logical than compared with English or similar languages. The fact that it is so different makes people believe that is also hard to learn. So one of the biggest challenges of this language is the writing system, since it has close to ten thousand characters. However you only need to learn about two thousands of them to be able to read a newspaper. A good part is that you can use a Romanized version of Chinese, called Pinyin. Most of the learners begin learning other aspects of Chinese rather than learning characters and use pinyin in the beginning. And only later then they become more familiar with a language they start learning the original characters. There are a couple of great books on Amazon that can help you to learn speaking, grammar and characters quite cheaply.
As the name itself suggests this book is aimed at Chinese beginners, therefore it teaches you how to speak in different situations. There is also additional CD included (190 audio lessons) that can help you practice tones and pronunciation better. There are also quite a lot of tips about culture, so you will not only learn a language, but also find out more about native people and how to act in certain situations.
If you are interested in learning Chinese writing this book can be a great way to get started. It can help you to learn the meaning as well as pronunciation of more than 800 characters in an easy way. Most included characters are simplified although there are some traditional too. The book is 384 pages long so it is a great value for money.
If you need a short guide to Chinese grammar these short tables can be very useful for you. It is only 6 pages long, however includes the most important grammar essential. So it is great additional resource that can be easily used by students, travelers and business people. There are also similar tables for the most essential vocabulary that you can also find on Amazon site.
These are only a few examples of the books available to help you with learning Mandarin. You can find plenty of material on Amazon that is aimed for beginners and more advanced learners. If you do not have even a small budget on learning Chinese you should definitely visit your local library and look for books there.
How to learn Chinese Mandarin on your own.
When starting to learn a new language it’s important to begin with the basics. Due to the fact that Chinese is a tonal language it’s a good idea to start practicing. Since Mandarin has four main tones you should try to practice each of them. So a good start would be to find a couple of words and practice they pronunciation in these different tones and see how the meaning of words changes.
The next logical step would be to learn some basic vocabulary. The more vocabulary you would be able to learn the faster you will be able to connect them into sentences and start speaking. So a good start would be to learn numbers, weeks, months, colors, some surrounding items and etc. Then you can look for some essential phrases like how to say hello, goodbye, what your name is and where are you from. While learning new vocabulary it is important to practice tones, since if you pronounce tones wrong you might be saying a word with a totally different meaning.
To further improve your language skills you should study grammar. The good part is that Mandarin grammar is relatively easy compared to some European languages. There are no complicated rules for plural, gender, conjugations and etc. Although there are a few aspects that are different from English language. For instance there is a preference for aspect and the grammar also uses classifiers and topic-prominence, which are unusual to English language. But in general Chinese language has a relatively easy grammar so you should concentrate on more difficult areas.
Best way to learn Chinese Mandarin online.
If you find it a difficult task to look for material online or look for information in separate books a good idea would be to find an online course. If you have a budget for learning Mandarin an online course would be a better idea for beginners since it’s easier to build a language structure from a solid system rather than separate pieces. Also online courses are more interactive and fun, therefore you are more likely to continue on studying and succeed at learning.
When it comes to Chinese there are quite a lot of courses that you should consider. The first one is Rocket Chinese, which is a dynamic and fun way of learning a new language. The course has one of the most competitive prices and has a lot of features. You can read a full review here. The second option would be Pimsleur audio lessons. You should know that there are options to learn Mandarin and Cantonese dialects with this course. Since it’s an audio course, it only teaches you how to speak and understand without writing and reading part. So it’s good option for those who want to learn how to communicate in Chinese and learn essential vocabulary and phrases for traveling. The third option would be well-known software for language learning Rosetta Stone. There are a total of five levels of Rosetta Stone when it comes to Chinese language, so you can achieve more advanced level. Although it’s not the fastest way for learning Mandarin language, some people find it useful and effective. In case you want to know more about each of these mentioned courses you should read our article on the best online programs for learning Mandarin.
No matter which option you will choose: study individually by free resources and books or online course it’s important to stay patient since learning a new language takes a lot effort and time. Also once you learn some basics try to surround yourself with as much Chinese as possible by listening to radio, music, watching movies, cartoons and TV in that language.