If you're looking for a perfect exercise for your brain, then learning Mandarin is something you may want to consider. Studies hint that the parts of the brain used for learning Mandarin are more than the parts used for learning other languages.
Learning Mandarin will boost your brainpower and make it easier for you to connect with people from different cultures. Again, studies show that Chinese is the most widely spoken language with more than 1.2 billion speakers.
Out of this multitude, more than 870,000 million speak Mandarin. This implies that around 14 percent of the entire world population speaks Chinese.
How can I Learn to Speak Mandarin Fast?
Learning Chinese shouldn't be complicated. Now, if you feel intimidated by the Chinese language, that fear is most likely fueled by the fact that Chinese is only different.
To learn to speak Mandarin fast, you will only need the correct method and suitable tools for learning Mandarin. For instance, you can benefit from apps like Anki to learn the Chinese characters.
To make this experience even fun, you may also turn to games designed to make learning the Chinese tones easy. Some of the games you can enjoy as you practice the tones include BBC Languages Chinese Tone Game and Chinese Four Tones Memory Game. Explained below are a few basics that should make learning Mandarin easy for you.
I. Laying the Foundation: Begin with Research
A perfect preparation for learning a new language like mandarin is doing basic research about the language. In doing your research, you will certainly come across a plethora of videos, mp3 files, and articles introducing you to the Chinese language.
Take time to go through those resources to discover how the language works, history, and the Chinese characters you should learn. This implies that your first few days of learning Mandarin will be focused on learning about the language's history, watching videos, and listening.
When listening to Chinese, it is advisable that you also read what you're listening to. To get a better sense of what you're hearing, consider reading them using a phonetic writing system like Pinyin.
You will still learn the characters, but when just beginning, gaining some momentum in this language will be what you need to give you continued motivation to learn Chinese fast. Ideally, trying to know the characters first may not be a good approach since you will barely have any sense of those words and how they should sound. This may only discourage you, and hamper your progress.
The key here is getting accustomed to the basics of the language and its individual sounds so you can easily differentiate words and phrases. You may also benefit from listening to podcasts or watching TV and movie shows.
Having a good mastery of Chinese pronunciation will lay a solid foundation for learning Chinese characters easily and faster. When it comes to learning the characters, it is prudent that you begin with the simple characters.
This way, you will also find it easy to master Chinese. You can begin with learning these basic characters stroke by stroke.
II. Work on Basic Pronunciations
Starting with the basic pronunciations like 'thank you, 'hello,' and 'goodbye' will make it easy for you to familiarize yourself with Mandarin. Make sure you know how to say the phrases.
Do note that the phrases may change depending on your setting. You will, of course, learn this too but first getting to know the basics should be a priority. 'Hello' is one of the words you'd want to know first. In Mandarin, you will need to say 'ni hao' for casual conversations. Informal conversations, for example, in business settings, you'd need to say 'nin hao.'
III. Mastering the Sentence Structure
The phrase ‘sentence structure’ may also sound intimidating, but again, it shouldn't really be confusing. In Chinese, the grammar isn't as complicated as you may think.
Unlike languages like English, where you would need to change things like gender and tenses, you won't need to change any of these in Mandarin. Do note that a big fraction of simple cases uses the same sentence structures as English.
Both English and Mandarin make use of subject-verb-object (SVO) or subject-verb in constructing simple sentences. After you've mastered the characters, using the subject-verb-object or subject-verb structures should help you solve most Chinese grammar problems.
You could be wondering about questions too. You can easily turn simple sentences into yes/no questions in Mandarin by adding (ma) at the end of the simple sentence.
IV. Learn how to Count
Again when it comes to counting, you will need to master pronunciations. In this case, you can benefit from an audio tool or audiobook. After mastering 1 to 50, consider upgrading to 50 to 100 and more.
V. Practice with Native Mandarin Speakers
Practicing with native speakers will make it easy for you to get the language rhythm and, even better, master the tones. You can interact with the native mandarin speakers by dining in their restaurants or becoming friends with a Chinese.
Listen a lot to how they speak to capture the pronunciation. You may also challenge yourself by making the orders in Chinese. Remember that you are not a native speaker, so there are chances of making mistakes.
A little humility goes along the way. If you make any mistake when trying to make your orders in the restaurants, it would be best if you accept and continue trying. You will learn from these mistakes and become an even better speaker.
VI. Find Learning Materials
You will need enough learning resources to make mastering Mandarin easy. There is a wide variety of online tools you can use for this purpose.
As we had mentioned, you can benefit from apps specifically designed for learning Mandarin. You can also try online libraries and check through the books.
VII. Get a Mandarin Language Tutor
If you still struggle to master Mandarin, you may consider working with a tutor to guide you in the lessons and even practice with you. A good tutor will help you expand your Mandarin vocabulary and give you honest feedback on your progress.
Learning Mandarin is easier if you're committed to learning it. Keep trying new things and challenging yourself regularly. Ultimately, you will hit your goals.