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Learning Article : How To Master Chinese As A Foreigner

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How To Master Chinese As A Foreigner

In this article Russian, Mandarin, and English teacher Maryna provides some insightful tips to learning any language. Learning to think in your target language and enforce positive association with your studying could be powerful tools to help you progress more quickly.

Mar 19, 2018 12:00 AM
Comments · 21


First, I want to command you for an unusual, and most interesting combination of languages. That is positively amazing.

Second, I would like to share my own experience with Chinese. I started Chinese fairly late in life, or at least a lot later than most people. Picking up Chinese after learning or getting acquainted with virually all Latin languages, I found that culture was a big issue. Let's face it. Learning languages like Spanish and Italian involves some cultural adaptation, but nothing compared to Chinese. I have spent a lot of time on the language itself, but I have also become very much interested in history and philosophy, because I feel you need to go back in time to understand both how Chinese people think and behave today, and how the Chinese language has evolved and works. When I studied (Western) history back in school, we started off in Mesopotamia, and moved on to Egypt, Greece, Rome, Europe, and finally America. As for China, there is only one country, but several thousand years of history to be taken into consideration. 

So my piece of advice is don't expect to know Chinese and China unless you devote as much time to culture as to language.

Hope this helps some of you out there.

July 4, 2018

Yuelin, I think it is better to learn how to speak first, and afterwards master characters and reading. 

But there is no wrong or right, it's all about what suits you best, in my opinion for a foreigner it's easier to start with practicing speaking, and the next step is characters, of course.

March 27, 2018

Step 1: buy an one-way flight to China 

Step 2: say bye to your friends who speak your native language or English.

Step 3: go out audaciously and be ready for any daily challenges or obstacles 

Step 4: use your limited selection of words to express yourself and ask whatever question you may have 

Step 5: take communication barriers positively 

Optional: find a life partner who can help you practice the language ;)

Step 6: acknowledge it is a painstaking process and repeat from step 1. 

August 6, 2018

Maryna, I just wanted to thank you for the article.

I know using a monolingual dictionary helped me a lot with my English, so I've just switched my main dictionary in Pleco to Guifan so I can achieve the same in Mandarin.

Your tip about memorizing whole texts is also something I've been thinking of doing for a long time. After, all, when I was learning English I memorized the lyrics of entire Pink Floyd and The Beatles albums.

Thank you again!

August 1, 2018
May 12, 2018
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Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, Other, Russian, Ukrainian
Learning Language