Is Chinese Hard to Learn?

Posted by Julia Song on 10/11/2015 1:42 AM 1103

why learn chinese is hard

Let’s face it: Chinese is hard to learn.

Why is Chinese so hard to learn for foreigners? The reasons are as follows:

1. Tones. Tones are a vastly important and difficult aspect of Chinese that foreigners must study and master to truly learn Chinese. There are four tones and one neutral tone in Chinese. Many characters have the same spelling in pinyin but different tones – and therefore have different meanings. Because Western languages don’t have formal tones, this concept can be confusing.  (See: The best way to learn Chinese tones)

2. Characters. Characters are the most difficult hurdle for foreigners learning Chinese. With no alphabet, a student must learn at least 400-500 characters to read a newspaper. As we all know, some characters are composed of numerous strokes, and the way of their composition is also different this is completely strange for foreigners, thus is also very hard to remember and master. (See: how to learn Chinese character fast)

3. Pronunciation. There are so many pronunciations of Chinese characters. Then one character usually has several pronunciations and meanings, and also can be used in different ways. Thus, what meaning is a word depends on what context it in, and this requires a process of practice and repetition. (See: how to pronounce Mandarin Chinese)

Above you can see how hard is Chinese learning. However, learning a language is a long-term process, it takes discipline and commitment. Although Chinese is difficult to study and master, it is an investment in your future that will pay off!

About The Author

Julia Song

Julia’s cheerful attitude and close attention to her students’ progress make her an excellent Mandarin teacher for students of all levels. Holding a bachelor’s degree in language instruction and several years’ teaching experience, Julia excels at linguistic pedagogy and one-on-one instruction. Learn Chinese online with Julia Song >>