Mandarin Chinese is quite a complex language to learn, especially for English speakers. So how to learn Chinese quickly? Here are some advice for you.
Learn Chinese Pinyin
Because each character can be pronounced accurately by the standard of Chinese phonetic alphabet, and the number of Chinese phonetic alphabet is very small, so we must pronounce these basic initials and finals accurately.
Practice using the four Mandarin tones.
Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, which means that different tones can change the meaning of a word, even if the pronunciation and spelling are otherwise the same. It is essential to learn the different tones if you wish to speak Mandarin Chinese correctly. Mandarin Chinese has four main tones, as follows:
The first tone is a high, flat tone. Your voice stays flat, with no rise or dip in the way it sounds. Using the word “ma” as an example, the first tone is indicated using the symbol above the letter a: “mā”.
The second tone is a rising tone. Your voice rises from a low to middle pitch, as if you were asking someone to repeat something by saying “huh?” or “what?” The second tone is indicated using the symbol “má”.
The third tone is a dipping tone.The pitch goes from middle to low to high, like when you say the letter “B”. When two third tone syllables are near each other, the second one retains its third tone sound while the first takes the sound of the second tone.
The third tone is indicated using the symbol “mǎ”.
The fourth tone is a lowering tone. The pitch goes rapidly from high to low, as if giving a command e.g. stop! Or as if you’re reading a book and have come across something new and interesting and are saying “huh”. The fourth tone is indicated using the symbol “mà”.
Find a native speaker.
One of the best ways to improve your new language skills is to practice speaking with a native speaker. They will easily be able to correct any grammar or pronunciation mistakes you make and can introduce you to more informal or colloquial forms of speech that you won’t find in a textbook. Find a native speaker and practice with him or her everyday, it can help you learn Chinese very quickly.
Learn some basic conversational phrases.
Once you have a basic grasp of vocabulary and pronunciation, you can move on to learning basic conversational phrases which are used in everyday Chinese speech. For example: 你好! (nǐ hǎo)
你吃了吗？(nǐ chī le ma?)
不客气！(bú kè qi!)
Listen to Chinese music and radio.
Listening to Chinese music and/or radio is another good way to surround yourself in the language. Even if you can’t understand everything, try to pick out keywords to help you get the gist of what’s being said.