Mandarin is a rather complex language, especially for English speakers.However, with daily practice, it is certainly possible to successfully master it.Practice alone with your textbook, practice with a Mandarin-speaking friend, or tutor with our Mandarin tutor.Below is a basic overview of the most important things you need to know about learning Mandarin.
1. Master the basics
practice usingFour Mandarin tones.Mandarin is a tonal language, which means that different tones can change the meaning of words, even if the pronunciation and spelling are the same. Learning the different tones is essential if you want to speak Mandarin correctly. There are four main tones in Mandarin, as follows:
- the firsta toneis a high and flat tone. Your voice stays flat and doesn't sound choppy. Taking the word "ma" as an example, the first tone is represented by the symbol above the letter a: "mā".
- The second tone is a rising tone.Your voice rises from bass to midrange, as if you're asking someone to repeat something by saying "Huh?" or what? " The second sound is represented by the symbol "má".
- thirdtonesIt's a dip sound. The pitch goes from middle to low to high, like when you say the letter "B." When two triphonic syllables are close to each other, the second syllable retains its tritone while the first takes the second. The third sound is represented by the symbol "mǎ".
- fourth toneIt's a drop sound. The pitch changes rapidly from high to low, as if giving a command, such as stop! Or as if you're reading a book, come across something new and interesting, and say "um." The fourth tone is represented by the symbol "mà".
- Is it easy enough? If not, don't worry. It is definitely recommended that you listen to the tones demonstrated by native speakers as it is difficult to understand how they sound purely through text.
2. Learn the sounds used in Mandarin.
- The popular pinyin system Pinyin (character: pinyin) is very useful. Learning Pinyin can be tricky, but most of the letters you'll come across sound very similar to their English counterparts. New sounds you must learn include: "h", "x", "q", "j", "r" and "ü". You will also need to learn other letter combinations, including "zh", "ch" and "sh".
- "h": Almost like the English "h", but more hoarse.
- "x": Bring the tip of the tongue near where the lower teeth meet the gums and the middle of the tongue near the upper jaw. Then, blow air out of your mouth. It sounds similar to "sh" but closer to "s".
- "q": Like "x", but starts it with a "t" sound. It sounds similar to "ch" but closer to "ts".
- "j": Similar to "q", but you need to use voice in this one. Instead of just exhaling the air, make a sound behind it. The difference between "q" and "j" is like the difference between "s" and "z" in English.
- "r": This letter is pronounced differently at the beginning and end of a syllable. At first, this is a tricky problem and may require more practice. Take the tip of your tongue and lift it up until it almost touches your roof. The sides of your tongue should touch the back molars on both sides. Then, breathe with your voice. It should almost sound like the "s" in "vision", but closer to the "r". When the letter is at the end of a syllable, it sounds like the "r" in English.
- "ü": This letter is the sixth vowel in Chinese, which does not exist in English. Still, it's easier said than done. First, like "food," round your lips as if you were going to say "oo." Then, make the "ee" sound you heard in "bee".
- "zh": Very similar to the English "j" in "jar", but with the same mouth position as the Mandarin "r".
- "ch": Very similar to the English "ch" in "chew", but with the same mouth position as the Mandarin "r".
- "sh": Very similar to English "sh", but with the same mouth position as Mandarin "r". The sounds "r", "zh", "ch" and "sh" are called "retroflex" initials because they are a family of sounds.
3. Memorize simple vocabulary.
No matter what language you learn, the more words you master, the faster you will become fluent. Therefore, the next thing to do is to memorize some useful Chinese vocabulary. 
- Some good vocabularies to start include: time of day (morning:zǎo shàng; morning,afternoon:xià wǔ; afternoon,night:wǎn shàng; night) body part (head:tóu; head,foot:jiǎo; foot,hand: shǒu; hand) food (beef: niú ròu; beef, chicken: jī; chicken, egg: jī dàn; egg, Noodle: miàn tiáo; noodles) along with greeting, color, day of the week, month, shipping word, weather, etc.
- When you hear an English word, think about how you would say it in Mandarin. If you don't know what it is, write it down and look it up later. For this purpose, it is convenient to carry a small notebook with you. Put small Chinese labels (with Chinese characters, pinyin, and pronunciation) on items around your home, such as mirrors, coffee tables, and sugar bowls. You will see these words so often that you will learn them before you know it!
- While it's good to have a broad vocabulary, remember that in Mandarin, accuracy is more important. There is no benefit to learning a word if you can't pronounce it correctly and use the correct tone, because different pronunciations can have completely different meanings. For example, using the wrong tone (usingmāinstead ofmá) could be the difference between saying "I want cake" and "I want Coke" - two completely different meanings.
4.Learn how to count.
Fortunately, the number system in Mandarin is fairly simple and logical, and once you learn the first ten numbers, you can count to 99.
- Below you will see the numbers one to ten, written in simplified Chinese, followed by the Hanyu Pinyin translation and correct pronunciation. Make sure to practice using the correct tone of voice for each number.
- one:writing (a) oryī, pronounced as[eee]
- two:written as (ii) orèr,read[err]
- three:writing (c) orsān,read[saan]
- Four:written as (d) orsì,readdo [ssuh]
- five:Writing (5) orwǔ,read[oo]
- six:written as (6) orliù,read[lee-yoe]
- seven:written as (seven) orqī,read[eng]
- Eight:Writing (8) orbā,read[baa]
- Nine:written as (nine) orjiǔ,read[jee-yoe]
- ten:Writing (10) orshí,read[sh]
- Once you have mastered the numbers one through ten, you can do this by saying ten digits, then ten, followed by a one-digit number to continue counting in two-digit numbers. E.g:
- number 48 writingsì shí bā(forty-eight), which literally means "forty plus eight". number 30 writingsān shí(thirty), literally "three ten". number 19 writingyī shí jiǔ(19), literally "ten plus nine" (but in most dialects of Mandarin the initials are omitted from the numbers for teenagersyī , as it is considered unnecessary).
- Hundred in Mandarin is (hundred) orbaǐ, so 100 is written asyì baǐ, 200 is written asèr baǐ, 300 is written assān baǐ,and many more.
5. Learn some basic conversational phrases.
Once you have a basic grasp of vocabulary and pronunciation, you can move on to learning basic conversational phrases used in everyday Chinese.
- Hello– hello – nǐhǎo, pronounced[nee how]
- What is your last name?(formal) - your last name? - nín guì xìng, pronounced as[neen gway shing]
- or what is your last name? - nǐ xìng shén me ( inf. ), pronounced as[nee shing shurn muh]
- May I have your name?- What's your name? - nǐ jiào shén me míng zì, pronounced as[nee jee-ou shurn muh ming zi] 
- Yes– yes – shì, pronounced as[sh]
- Do not– not – bú shì, pronounced as[boo sh]
- thanks– Thank you – xiè xiè, pronounced as[shie shie]
- You're welcome – no thanks – bú yòng xiè, pronounced as[boo yong shee-e]
- Excuse me – sorry – duì bu qǐ, pronounced as[dway boo chee]
- I don't know– I don’t understand – wǒ bù dǒng, pronunciation[wuo boo downg]
- Goodbye – goodbye – zài jiàn, pronunciation[zay jee-en]
the second part
Improve your language skills
1. Learn basic grammar.There is a common misconception that grammar doesn't exist in Chinese, but it doesn't. Chinese grammar rules do exist, it's just that they are very different from those in Indo-European or other language systems. Unlike these languages, Chinese is a very analytical language, which can be both good news and bad news for language learners.
- In Chinese, for example, there are no complicated rules about conjugation, concord, gender, plural nouns, or tenses. Most words consist of single syllables, which are then combined into compound words. This makes sentence structure fairly simple.
- However, Chinese has its own set of grammatical rules, and there are no corresponding grammatical rules in English or other Indo-European languages. For example, Chinese uses grammatical features such as classifiers, topic prominence, and aspect preference. Since these functions are not used in English, it may be difficult for learners to master them.
- However, despite the differences, Chinese does use the same word order as English, subject-verb-object, making word-for-word translation easier. For example, the English phrase "he likes cats" translates directly to "tā (he) xǐ huan (likes) māo (cats).
2.Learn how to use Pinyin.
Pinyin is a system of writing Mandarin using the Roman alphabet. Hanyu Pinyin is the most common form of this Roman pinyin and is used in many textbooks and teaching materials.
- Pinyin allows students learning Mandarin to focus on pronunciation, while also allowing them to read and write without having to learn complex Chinese characters. Although Pinyin uses the Roman alphabet, the pronunciation of its letters is often unintuitive to English speakers, which is why it is necessary to study it carefully before using it.
- For example, the letter "c" in Pinyin is pronounced as "ts" in "bits", the letter "e" is pronounced as "er" in "hers", and the letter "q" is pronounced like in the word "cheap" "ch". Because of these differences, you must learn the correct Pinyin pronunciation before using it as a guide.
- Although learning Pinyin pronunciation may seem like a pain, it is very beneficial for your language learning and is still much easier than learning to recognize traditional Chinese characters.
3. Practice reading and writing Chinese characters.
The final hurdle in learning Mandarin is learning to read and write traditional characters. This can take a long time (even years) to master because the only way to learn them is through memorization and continuous practice.
- According to the BBC, there are more than 50,000 Chinese characters in existence, but most of them are rarely used, if ever. A well-educated Chinese might know about 8000 characters, but reading a newspaper only needs about 2000 characters.
- When writing Chinese characters, you first need to learn each of the 214 "radicals" - which are essentially the components of each character. Some radicals can stand on their own as separate characters, while others are used only in more complex characters.
- It is also important to follow the correct stroke order when writing characters. You need to follow a specific set of rules, such as left-to-right, top-to-bottom, and horizontal then vertical.
- There are many Chinese workbooks you can buy that will guide you to form the characters correctly. These are usually for elementary school students, but are useful for anyone trying to learn Chinese characters. It's better to buy a copy that is specially designed for foreign countries, such as Happy Chinese that you can use Hanban, because it also has an English translation.
- One of the main benefits of learning Chinese characters is that you also gain exposure to Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, and other literary works that also use many traditional or simplified Chinese characters, even if the spoken language is different.
Part 3 Immersion in Mandarin Chinese
1.Find a native speaker.One of the best ways to improve your new language skills is to practice speaking with native speakers. They'll be able to easily correct any grammar or pronunciation mistakes you make, and can introduce you to more informal or colloquial forms of speech that you won't find in textbooks. GETUTOR has native Mandarin tutors who will match you with a native speaker right awayMandarin tutor.
2. Consider enrolling in a language course.
If you need some extra motivation or feel you would be better off studying in a more formal setting, try enrollingParticipate in Mandarin tuition.
- Look out for language programs advertised at your local university, school, or community center.
- If you're nervous about signing up for a course yourself, find a friend to take Mandarin tuition with. You'll have more fun and practice people between classes!
3.Watch Mandarin movies and cartoons.Get some Chinese DVDs (preferably with subtitles) or watch Chinese cartoons online. This is an easy and fun way to get a feel for the sounds and structure of Mandarin Chinese.
- If you're feeling particularly active, try pausing the video after a simple sentence and repeating what you just said. This will add realism to your Chinese accent!
- If you can't find one to buymandarinMovies, try renting them from movie rental stores, which usually have foreign language sections. Alternatively, see if your local library has any Chinese movies, or ask if they can provide you with some.
4. Listen to Mandarin music and radio.Listening to Chinese music and/or radio is another great way to immerse yourself in Chinese. Even if you don't understand everything, try picking keywords to help you get the gist of what's being said.
- Install a Mandarin radio app on your phone so you can listen anytime, anywhere.
- Try downloading Chinese podcasts to listen to while working out or doing chores.
Don't be too hard on yourself.Learning a language is a gradual process - you have to stick with it. Mandarin is one of the hardest languages to learn, so take your time.
If you think you are still learning Chinese by yourself, there is still something you don’t understand, you can alsoFind a private tutor to help.
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