How to start learning Chinese

First, with the understanding that Chinese and translate chinese to english is not as complicated as it might seem at first glance. With a proper systematic approach, incomprehensible squiggles will soon be converted into folding sentences, and strangely singing Chinese sounds will please with their sound.

It is important to determine for yourself – I can do it, because I am not stupider than the rest. One of the wise men said: if at least one person on Earth could achieve something, this achievement can really be repeated.

It was step zero, and now

Step number 1 – pronunciation

I’ll start with a little story from personal experience. While studying in China, there were a couple of guys from Myanmar in my group. They coped well with written tasks, perfectly understood Chinese speech by ear, but their pronunciation was poorly set, and it was impossible to understand them. It got to the point that the Chinese teachers often asked them again, because they could not understand them because of the accent. I’m not trying to scare you of course 🙂, but I want to draw attention to the importance of correct Chinese pronunciation.

Some of you are already familiar with the phonetic system of the Chinese language and translate english to chinese, but for beginners, I will briefly tell you the basics. There are 4 tones in Chinese, that is, 4 ways to pronounce the same sound. They are called so – the first, second, third and fourth tones. It is important to understand that the tone, that is, the way of pronunciation, affects the meaning of the word.

Members of Chinese military band watch an event to honor some of those involved in China’s fight against COVID-19 at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. Chinese leader Xi Jinping is praising China’s role in battling the global coronavirus pandemic and expressing support for the U.N.’s World Health Organization, in a repudiation of U.S. criticism and a bid to rally domestic support for Communist Party leadership. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

For example, take the syllable “ma” (read “ma”). “mā” in the first tone means the word mother, saying “má” in the second tone, we will say the word cannabis, the third tone will transform our “mǎ” into the word horse, and the same syllable, but in the fourth tone “mà” will mean the word scold. Can you imagine what ridiculous situations you can get into by pronouncing the tone incorrectly?

Step number 2 – learn Chinese with phrases

Like any European language, Chinese can be learned in phrases. Take on everyday phrases such as: “hello”, “how are you?”, “how much?” etc. This will speed up the understanding of the language, significantly enrich the vocabulary and allow you to feel more confident in an unusual language environment. After that, or in parallel with the above, it is worth starting to learn hieroglyphs. The study of Chinese writing is a separate topic, previously covered in our blog, so here I will only say that this is a very creative process and an open flight of fancy. At first, it may seem difficult, but with the competent support of the LF School teachers, you will quickly master this too: learn how to work with cards, deal with the key table and be able to understand the meaning the Chinese put into their hieroglyphs. You will learn that, for example, “train” is made up of the words “fire” and “cart”, “telephone” is made up of the words “hand” and “apparatus”, and a zebra in the Chinese sense is the addition of the words “river” and “hippopotamus”! !!! What a charm, isn’t it?