How do I learn Mandarin effectively

5 Truths You Should Know About Learning Mandarin

Anyone who starts learning Mandarin has made something special. Mandarin, the standard Chinese, is considered to be one of the most difficult languages ​​in the world. There are 5 truths that very few people know before they start using the language.

In my other post on the topicLearn Mandarin“Which Chinese should I learn?” I have already explained the difference between Mandarin and Chinese. In a nutshell: Mandarin is “Standard Chinese”, while “Chinese” is the collective term for all Chinese languages ​​and dialects. That means, whether Cantonese or Mandarin, or Shanghai, “they are all Chinese. Mandarin is also spoken as standard Chinese in Taiwan, while many dialects are also spoken.

I now have a YouTube channel, here I have explained what the 3 ultimate rules are if you want to learn Chinese as a beginner:

5 Truths About Learning Mandarin You Should Know Before You Begin:

  • Mandarin is not one language, it is made up of two languages: one written and one spoken.

    While languages ​​such as German or English use “writing” as a link between what is spoken and what is written, there are two parallel languages ​​in Mandarin: A written language - the Chinese characters - and a spoken language - Pinyin. Pinyin describes only the pronunciation and does not contribute anything to the structure of the language. Pinyin has a single function: it serves to make the script - the Characters, can pronounce. Therefore Learn mandarin This is particularly difficult for most Indo-European native speakers because they assume that writing is "automatically" an aid to what one speaks, while when learning Mandarin one quickly realizes that one is actually learning two languages ​​at the same time.

  • Mandarin has no letters - not what you perceive as letters.

    Once you have understood the first point, the text is particularly easy to understand. Mandarin has no letters - although the pronunciation system (Pinyin) from letters, but these do not form the language, but rather they reproduce with a written form how a character - i.e. the written Chinese - is pronounced.
    For comparison: In German you start with ABCD. Immediately afterwards you can learn words that consist of these "ABCD" such as A-M-P-E-L. The same letters can also be used to form words such as "L-A-M-P-E" or "P-A-L-M-E", although they have no other connection with each other. Because that's how letters work.
    With Mandarin you learn with the help ofPinyinthat e.g. the word "灯" (lamp) is pronounced as "dēng". However, it would not work if you tried to create another Chinese word from the same letters. Not only that, you can't just create a new word or character from other letters at all. Because 灯 “dēng” serves as a “root” with the basic meaning “lamp”. Word formation works with the base of 灯 (dēng) anyway. In this case even “traffic light” would fit, because 红绿灯 (hóng lǜ dēng) literally means “red-green lamp” or traffic light. The word with the root “lamp” will be expanded further.
    Since “palm” has absolutely nothing to do with the lamp, it of course has nothing to do with dēng.

  • Learning Mandarin is easy!

    Because Mandarin has no grammar - not what you call grammar.
    In my other article I wrote “Intensive Chinese Course: Forget Vocabulary! Learn “sentence treasure”! ”Explains in great detail how Chinese works, especially that grammar is practically non-existent there.
    In a nutshell: In Mandarin there is no grammar and that does Learning Mandarin is particularly easy.

  • The four notes are with Learn mandarin important, but not as important as you think.

    In my other post "Are the 4 tones of the Chinese language really that important?" I explained in more detail why the tones are not as decisive as they are usually represented. If you are interested, you can read more about it there.
    If you want to read the short version: The tones are important if you speak Chinese relatively well, they are comparable to the stressing of individual syllables in German. This is ALSO important, but not the decisive factor whether communication takes place. Whole sentences that you pronounce “correctly” are much more important, because that really decides whether you understand and be understood.

  • You don't need a talent for itLearn Mandarin

    Perhaps you think that you need a special talent in order to learn Mandarin, the truth is: The so-called "language talent" for most Indo-European native speakers is nothing more than an instinct, with which one tries to reduce one's experience of one's mother tongue to use other language. Therefore, we don't actually learn French, English or Spanish much differently than if we were to learn German. Because they work so similarly that you can “guess” a lot.
    But Mandarin works fundamentally differently than most languages ​​that you know as a native German speaker. Instinct does not help here because everyone has to start from scratch. That is why most of the students report their experience of learning Mandarin that they do not have the feeling that language skills play a role.

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5 Truths About Learning Mandarin You Should Know was last modified: January 26th, 2021 by