Mandarin Chinese is one of the hardest languages for English speakers to learn. That’s why most people are hesitant and uncertain when they start to learn this Asian language. While it is true that Mandarin may take a bit longer to master, it is definitely worth the effort! In this article, we speak about some reasons you could find it difficult to learn Mandarin.
It is hard to master mandarin tones
Contrary to other languages, Mandarin has four tones, which are used to change the meaning of a word. For example, the word “ma” can mean “mother,” “horse,” “rough” or “scold”, depending on the tone it’s pronounced. In addition, there is a neutral tone, a pitch, and intonation that are also used to change the meaning of a sentence. The use of four tones makes Mandarin very different from most Latin languages, and it’s difficult for students to learn and differentiate them initially.
Mandarin characters are complex
Another thing that you could find difficult is that there is no alphabet in this language. Mandarin is formed from 50,000 characters. They may seem challenging to learn for beginners, but don’t get discouraged. You only need to use around 10,000 characters for daily conversations. And if you succeed in mastering 25,000 characters, you will comprehend approximately 97% of written Chinese. That’s how easy it is to learn Chinese.
Speaking and understanding Mandarin is hard at first
Just like with any other language, learning Mandarin implies practicing reading, understanding, and speaking the language. At first, you will find listening and speaking difficult, because Mandarin is a tonal language. If you don’t live in a Chinese-speaking environment, you will not be exposed to the Chinese tones and words frequently, and you’ll need longer to learn Mandarin well. However, you do not need to be hard on yourself. You can enroll in private online classes and speak with Chinese tutors as much as you want. And, one of the first things your online Chinese teacher will help you with is to learn to distinguish the four Mandarin tones. You will improve your listening and speaking skills in no time.
Mandarin takes long time to lean
When people think of the main difficulties in learning Mandarin, they tend to focus on how many years they’ll need to dedicate to learning the language. Indeed, Chinese is one of the most challenging languages and may take many years to learn. It depends on the time you invest, your learning speed, and the learning methods you use.
But, instead of thinking of the time you need to achieve fluency, focus on meeting your short-term goals and doing your weekly home works. With the right work and attitude, you will make faster progress.
Finding practice partners is easy
Contrary to what many people may think, it is not difficult to find language exchange partners to practice Chinese. Many native Chinese speakers are looking to improve their English. You could offer free lessons in English or your native language in exchange for Chinese language lessons through social media and language exchange apps like Bilingua and HelloTalk.
You can easily study with a Chinese teacher online
One of the quickest and most efficient methods is to learn Chinese is with the help of an experienced Chinese teacher. With the help of mobile apps and social media, it won’t be hard to find a native Chinese teacher or a tutor, as they are widely available on language learning websites and apps. All you need to do is choose the language platform that fits your needs and search for the right Chinese teacher for you. Getting a tutor is one of the most important steps you would make in learning Chinese. Your private teacher or tutor will teach and correct your tones, listen to your pronunciation, and help you improve your speaking skill. In a nutshell, a private Mandarin teacher will help you overcome most difficulties when learning Chinese.
Learning a new language takes effort and commitment. It’s the same case when it comes to learning Chinese. Mandarin is indeed one of the most difficult languages, but with determination and a little help from a professional Chinese teacher, you can learn Chinese. Have a look at the Mandarin teachers and tutors on italki and enroll in 1-on-1 Chinese lessons for as little as $10.