9 Apr 2014

Effective Methods for Learning Chinese

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Everybody agrees that Chinese is one of the most difficult languages to study. However, the use of effective methods can help you to achieve your goals.

At the beginning, some people face big challenges in pronouncing, listening, and learning Chinese characters. They also struggle to put all the meanings together. Which difficulties are you having trouble with? Today, I will try to give you some good methods to learn Chinese, in the hopes that you can apply these to your individual learning difficulties:

Mastering Pronunciation

The Montessori method explains that children learn things by listening, even before speaking. Our brain has a natural ability to absorb new languages given enough exposure to them. In learning Chinese, we must recognize and believe that it is within our grasp in order to progress. To remain positive is the first, and most necessary step for success. Furthermore, we can turn on the Chinese songs, or a good movie, and try to get familiar with all the sounds. The more time we spend listening, the more we will train our ears. Also, we will grasp large amounts of new words. For example: “x” “sh” “ch” “zh” are hard to pronounce for some students. A good idea is to listen, listen, and listen. For example, if you hear the sound “sh”, you can try to record your own voice with “sh”, and then listen to your own voice for comparison. You can also use this method to find out the differences between your sound and the proper sound. Based on these differences, you can adjust accordingly and in no time, you will master pronunciation.

Remembering Words

Learning new vocabulary requires that you understand it, and speak it. These are all extremely simple things to do. But how can we use new vocabulary as flexibly as we do in our own languages? A good way is to practice, practice, and practice. For example, if we learn the phrase “hǎo kàn 好,(which means good looking/pretty for people and objects) then we should practice using it as much as possible.

Zhè gè bēi zi hěn hǎo kàn.
这 个 杯子 很 好看。
This cup is very pretty.

After we understand the basic construction, it’s a good idea to try and make as many examples as you can. Here are some more sentences:

Nǐ de zì hěn hǎo kàn.
你 的 字 很 好看。
Your hand writing is pretty.

Nǐde bāo hěn hǎo kàn.
你的 包 很 好看。
Your bag is pretty.

You can practice with your baby, your little dairy, or your mirror. Try to practice. You need to find a good listener!

We can still create more sentences; do not forget to ask your teacher to correct it.

Example 2:
hǎo kàn de huār.
好 看 的 花儿。
Flowers are pretty

hǎo kàn de + noun . Think about all the nouns you know and then try to make your own phrases. To learn a new word is like eating food. First, you need to chew the food (understand the words), and then to digest the Nutrition (practice the words). When the nutrition is soaked up by your whole body, you have remembered the word successfully.

Practicing Sentences

How can we make good sentences? It is true that one must always try to bring one’s own thoughts to others and speak out. At the beggining stage, you will need a Native Chinese Teacher to help you to correct your sentences.
We often say the sentence in the wrong order, for example:

*Wǒ xǐ huān bú xià yǔ míng tiān.
*我 喜欢 不 下雨 明天。

The correct way to say is:

Wǒ xī wàng míng tiān bú xià yǔ.
我 希望 明天 不 下雨。

1. In Chinese sentences: somebody+ xī wàng希望(to wish)+time +something. To describe things in the future, we usually use “wish—xī wàng 希望” to instead “like—xǐ huān喜欢”.

2. After “xī wàng希望” usual adding a big sentence, also it talks about future, for sure we will give a certain time after “xī wàng 希望”. Not put time at the end of the sentence.

Other examples:

1. Wǒ xī wàng míng tiān shì qíng tiān.
我 希望 明天 是 晴天。
I wish tomorrow is sunny day.

2. Wǒ xī wàng jīn tiān xià wǔ fàng jià.
我 希望 今天 下午 放假。
I wish this afternoon were off.

Believe that your own sentences are very powerful, and express yourself so that you can communicate with others in an enjoyable manner. Languages are merely tools for exchanging minds. Hope you will benefit from these methods in your quest to succeed in Chinese.