Whether you are about to start your journey into the Chinese language, or you already started, some life tips won’t be too much to keep going because sometimes the hardest part is not starting but keeping up.
- How much time shall I dedicate to it?
Well, it all depends on your goals and the number of hours you’d like to invest. Of course, the more exposed you are to the language, the better, which might translate to more class hours or more practice.
Some people get frustrated after studying for a year having class only once a week; then, after six months, they perceive there’s not so much of an improvement when we all know once a week is probably not enough time of exposure if you want to see a fast improvement.
- Culture is language and language is culture.
Getting to know the local culture makes learning a language much easier. “Why is this?” you may ask. Beyond the obvious explanation, we know languages are deeply intertwined with the culture of every country, thus the way it is spoken will always be related to the local ways. In other words, the closer you get to Chinese culture, the more you’ll understand why “白事 (funeral), 白学(to study with no results)，白忙 (in vain)” are usually words where white color gives a negative meaning; whereas “走红” (to be lucky), “红火” (flourishing), “红人” (a favorite person of someone power), “网红” (famous, popular) use red color to give a “success”, “fortune”, and “fame” kind of meaning (different than the “passion” or “war” meaning that’s given in the West).
- Practice, practice, practice!
There are many ways to do this; the point is for you to find something you enjoy. While there are many options to choose from, we share some:
A) Watch a Western movie with Chinese dubbing. Try to watch a movie you’ve already seen in English (or any other language), and then watch it with Chinese dubbing and subtitles. If you don’t catch every word, don’t worry, you’ll know what’s going on while you start catching the words you know. You’ll also start to get used to the rhythm and pace of the Chinese language.
B) Once you’ve gotten more confidence, then you’ve unlocked a new level and that’s the watch-a-Chinese-movie level. Go to the cinema (now that they are finally open) or watch online; China has many options to choose from.
C) Go out with your Chinese friends! Well, this is self-explanatory. If you don’t suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) it would be nice to ask them to speak Chinese when you’re around and not to worry about you; they will surely appreciate your effort to improve your Chinese. If you don’t have Chinese friends (which we hope is not the case) there are many ways to practice at Mandarin Community’s events.
D) Sing Chinese songs. Yup, just the way it is. You can start with reading pinyin and then upgrade yourself to reading hanzi. This is another unlocked level where you can impress your Chinese friends at KTV. (This is probably a topic for another article).
4. Watch your attitude!
This is probably one of the most important ingredients to learn Chinese (and mostly any other language). What attitude is that? Commitment and patience. Pretty much every activity needs this, whether it is a sport or a language, there’s always a threshold we all might’ve gone through. That threshold comes when you stand in a two-way path, one way is to give up and the other way to keep going. Well, at this point we will encourage you to make it a one way path and that should be “keep going”.