When introducing yourself to an utterly new experience like how to learn Chinese, there are several methods of going about it. You can take the decision to learn Chinese step by step or dive right in. In
the case of language, you can learn the mechanics methodically, learn the written techniques and the characters, or simply listen to people talk and pick up phrases until they begin to overlap and make sense. Which path you choose may depend on whether your goal is to learn spoken Chinese, master the language for business or professional purposes, or simply learn Chinese online for the benefits of
When you start to learn Chinese, your best strategy will depend a great deal as well on what type of person — or better yet, what type of learner — you really are. If you’re anything like me, you’ll slap
your head in frustration as you spend ages working on how to learn Chinese while your friend, a younger person who appears not to have to put too much effort into anything, goes right ahead and finds himself
able to learn Chinese in 5 minutes. You’ll tear your hair out trying to learn Chinese free online, only to find that the best, most tried and true method to learn spoken Chinese is to make friends with real flesh-and-blood Chinese people, and take a genuine interest in them.
The trick, as it turns out, in how to learn Chinese — at least, for people like me — is to forget about the written form of the language for the present moment, and work on it later, when the language itself
begins to make internal sense. Focus instead on the grammar (which is quite simple, incidentally, and if grammar were the sole criterion, it would be easy to learn Chinese in 5 minutes) and work your way
progressively through the vocabulary as you learn spoken Chinese. Through this process, the trickiest part of your quest to learn Chinese free when spoken will be to get the rising and falling intonation right, and to reproduce successfully the sounds that make up the language. When you learn Chinese with a friend, and most especially when you attempt to learn Chinese free, you’ll be able to listen to each other’s voices and help each other out, when comparing what you hear to the sounds on the CD or from the teacher.
If you decide to learn Chinese online, close every other window in your browser except the essential ones for your study. Distraction is always fatal when studying, particularly concerning languages as
foreign as Chinese. I can’t tell you specifically how to learn Chinese, because the answer will depend always on the individual. But while you may not ever quite achieve the maddening perfection of your
friend — the one who can learn Chinese in 5 minutes — you may instead find your ability to learn spoken Chinese to be quite an impressive achievement in its own right. And, make no mistake: It is.
But it’s also a rewarding one. A quarter of humanity will learn Chinese naturally and there is much richness and depth to discover when you find yourself able to enter their world. East may be East,
and West is West, but in this new century we’ve long since developed the ability to travel between them — especially if you can learn Chinese free in 5 minutes. Why not take the time to learn Chinese online and explore the beautiful, utterly foreign rest of the world?
About the author:
David Norcross is an analyst for Digital Search and has lived in Asia for almost a decade. His academic status as a sociological and political researcher has influenced his linguistics studies and he has written a number of widely circulated articles on the advent of online language learning.
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