1. Have a Chinese word of the day or week. And use it! All week long and in all kinds of situations. Try Zhen bang=excellent, Zan= amazing.
2. Learn a Chinese phrase. Try this yì shí sān niǎo, Chinese translation “Catch three birds with one stone”, the English translation to have an excellent idea. Apply “Mr Wang’s” words of wisdom, they have some insightful meaning, who knows you might just be able to use them to the right situation. How philosophical!
3. Use English words, or ‘link words’, to associate with new Chinese words. Yi Bei (one cup) sounds exactly like Ebay. Create a sentence like “I buy one cup of tea on Ebay” to help you remember. Pronunciation doesn’t get much simpler than that!
Even though Mandarin Chinese and English are completely different languages, try to associate words and sounds to ones you know from the English language.
4. Go to KTV! There’s nothing like listening to Chinese tones and sounds through singing and music. There’s no better way to practice either!
5. Watch Chinese TV, movies and cartoons. Whether it’s sport, weather or a Chinese soap drama. You’ll be sure to pick up some Chinese vocabulary.
6. Try shopping at your local market for groceries, but in Chinese! Use the words you have learned to purchase the vegetables /fruit/groceries and make a meal with what you’re able to purchase – guaranteed to be an interesting outcome!
7. Volunteer- Try volunteering a local Chinese School or Community Centre to practice your Chinese.
8. Attend a Chinese Class – but not a regular class. Try a calligraphy class. It’s not only a beautiful form of art; you might enjoy learning how to write Chinese characters. Calligraphy not your thing? Take a cooking class, try Tai chi, chess or karate
Q: How do you learn another language? How do you make it easier?
I hope these little tips help; I know what it’s like to learn a new language. If you’ve even been ripped off, ordered the wrong meal –numerous times, or gotten completely lost on the other side of Shanghai, I feel you. But, besides all the frustrations and epic language fails, as daunting and confusing studying and learning another language may seem, it helps to try different methods of learning Chinese to make it fun and interesting.
The extra time and effort you put in to learn Chinese or another language has many rewards. Like the simple things, getting your point across in conversation, giving directions or sharing a joke with a friend it’s completely worth the investment and the challenge.
Learning another language like Mandarin Chinese is incredibly valuable as it’s one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and the learning process is proven to have its benefits.
Written by Eloise de Jong, Marketing and PR.