Do you want to learn Chinese and don’t know where to start? It is normal to feel lost at first. We all are when we want to start a project as ambitious as learning a new language. Although the alphabet and phonetics of this language are totally different from those of our mother tongue, it is not mission impossible! Right now, you are at the point where you want to find tips to help you learn this language in a self-taught way. Do you think it is too difficult for you? Well, here we will try to answer some of your doubts:
There are many false beliefs, but we will try to show that you can do it if you put time and dedication:
“Chinese characters are impossible to understand”. The truth is that, to speak Chinese, you don’t have to learn the characters. With the Latin alphabet, you can phonetically transcribe all the words of the language, a method known as “pinyin”. So don’t worry when you’re just starting out you don’t need to know how to write with Chinese characters.
“Chinese grammar is incomprehensible to us” – Another false belief. Mandarin Chinese has no conjugations or complicated grammar rules. You simply have to know some fundamental rules. For example, in Chinese, we don’t say “I am thirsty”, we say “I thirst”. Does it sound so difficult? Of course not! In fact, if you think about it, Spanish is much more difficult to learn (“yo tengo sed, tú tienes sed, él tiene sed, nosotros tenemos sed…”). Let’s see if you are encouraged to learn this magnificent language when you finish reading this article.
Chinese is different from any other European language, such as German, English, French, or even Spanish, but if you try to immerse yourself in the Chinese way of thinking, you will learn more efficiently. If you take an interest in the country’s culture, your language skills will also increase.
Is It Difficult to Learn Chinese by Yourself?
Before starting Chinese classes, you should know that you will not become bilingual in the blink of an eye. Learning a language, specifically Mandarin Chinese, can be very frustrating at first. However, even though anyone can learn the basics of the language on their own, you need to stay motivated.
How Much Time Do I Need to Master the Basics?
According to the experts, we need between 80 and 100 hours of class to master the language, always with daily dedication and the necessary motivation. You will not speak Chinese fluently unless you are a genius, but you will master the basics of the vocabulary.
In theory, you will need around 100 hours of intensive learning to speak Chinese. However, if you are a self-taught learner, it will take you longer because you will not have the help and feedback of a teacher.
What Is the Main Obstacle to Learning Mandarin?
At first glance, learning Mandarin seems complicated, but then again, if we think about it, the truth is that Spanish is one of the most difficult foreign languages to learn because of all its conjugations, grammatical rules, and exceptions. In Chinese, we don’t have this problem. Chinese is a monosyllabic tonal language, and the most complicated thing for us Europeans is understanding how to use the different intonations in pronunciation. That is, in Chinese, the same word can have four different meanings depending on the intonation we use. To learn more, check out Linda Mandarin to Learn Chinese in Singapore.