Posted by Julia Song 5325
Want to learn how to speak Chinese well in a comparatively short time? This is an article you cannot miss!
This may sound cliche, but we do know that pinyin is the first step to learn Mandarin Chinese that we cannot ignore. By using the Roman alphabet, pinyin is a system to write standard Mandarin Chinese. Over the years we have witnessed the wide spread popularity of pinyin in the international community, especially for teaching school children to read and for teaching materials designed for foreigners to learn Mandarin. However, it is worth noticing that although pinyin uses the same letters as European languages, the sounds those letters represent are totally different. Therefore some letters may not make the sounds you expect, which means you cannot read pinyin as if it were English and should pay close attention to how each letter of pinyin is pronounced.
The elementary difference between Mandarin language and western languages is that Mandarin is a tonal language. The four Mandarin tones are used to clarify the words’ meaning. They are written in Pinyin with tone marks. Tones are important in Mandarin because there are many words with the same sound. Changing the tones of a Mandarin sentence could completely change the meaning. So you should definitely learn to write the pinyin with correct tones at the same time to improve Chinese listening comprehension skill and pronunciation.
There are a lot of phrases in any language that carries almost no meaning but are simply there to save you time to think. If you want your Chinese to sound native and more fluent, there’s an easy way to do it. When you listen to native speakers speaking with you or with each other, take note and learn the phrases that sometimes carry no meaning, which are called mould phrases.
As in English, in the conversation you’ll hear sentence like this: “What you said is very interesting, but…” or “I think that depends on…” These are the same meaning as the short phrases such as “I think” or “in my opinion.” So the objective to use mould phrases is to remove some pauses from your speech, which makes your speech more fluent. Instead of being silent for three seconds, or using a long “ummmm,” you fill that emptiness with solid Chinese.
By reading (and hearing yourself reading) will give you a deeper impression of the text. And exaggerating the tones can help you remember them. It is proved that reading training is an important way to learn the language, and in many countries, educators encourage especially the language learners to do this. More importantly, in the reading process, you will be able to master language laws to foster a sense of language to improve oral expression skills.
For example, if you are learning Chinese for professional purposes, focus on special vocabulary and phrases related to business. If you’re fascinated by Chinese culture, learn how to talk about the Spring Festival and Chinese food by taking the Chinese culture course.
The longer time you learn Chinese, the more you understand what the other person is saying, you can follow this up with other cultural discoveries. Naturally, this has little to do with real ability but can be useful if your goal is to impress people.
Luckily, there is a wide variety of multimedia for you to be exposed to native Chinese speaking. Internet videos and TV shows can be found in Chinese, as well as an increasing number of Chinese movies.