If you want to learn a new language, it’s important to start by learning the basics and the fundamentals. This is vital in learning a new language because it lays the foundation of knowledge that you’ll use over and over again, even in more complex situations. Having a strong understanding of the fundamentals is vital in any educational pursuit. Think about math for a moment. The most advanced mathematics in the world are all built from the fundamental mathematical equations that make up the most basic of functions. It’s the same with language. Even the most complicated sentence structures, novels, and speeches are all rooted in the fundamental rules of the language.
If you want to learn Chinese specifically, there are a few fundamentals that will be crucial to learn and master before you’re able to start speaking, writing, and reading with fluency.
Learning the Alphabet
First and foremost is the Chinese alphabet which is extremely complicated. This is because the Chinese alphabet is character-based rather than letter-based. English, Spanish, French, Italian, and many other languages are Latin-based and therefore their alphabets make use of letters. Chinese, and a handful of other languages, though, make use of a character-based alphabet.
Learning this alphabet is certainly crucial to learning the Chinese language. However, there are additional complications with learning Chinese and understanding the alphabet. This is because of the way the Chinese language developed and speaks to the importance of learning the history and culture of a region in addition to the language.
When the Chinese language was first invented it was a monosyllabic language. Meaning each character in the alphabet represented a specific syllable which was defined by a single word. However, as time passed and language evolved, so did the way in which the Chinese characters could be used. Understanding how the Chinese alphabet works is one of the first and most important steps in learning the language.
Learning the Vocabulary
In addition to learning the Chinese alphabet of characters and symbols, one also needs to start learning the basic vocabulary. When learning Chinese, this is a two-fold task. First is the simple task of learning monosyllabic vocabulary. As mentioned above, many words in the Chinese language are a single syllable and are represented by a single symbol. This is the easiest place for beginners to start, because it gives them a solid baseline of vocabulary that they can turn to in conversation.
The second part of becoming familiar with the Chinese vocabulary is in the way that the language has evolved. Not every word in the Chinese dictionary is a single syllable anymore. This has created a new way for Chinese speakers to create words which is done through the combination of two or more characters, each representing a specific syllable. The combined characters create a new word, which is where more advanced language study comes into play.
Putting in Study Time
No matter what you’re learning, whether it be a language, a subject, or a skill, it’s important – crucial even – that you dedicate the time and energy to studying and practice. There are a myriad of ways to study the Chinese language, and there are plethora of tools on the market designed to make the entire language-learning process much easier and more efficient.
From using flashcards and other traditional study methods to utilizing the availability of language-learning apps, there is nothing more important to the success of a language-learning journey than putting the time into studying and practicing. Language-learning apps are extremely popular among consumers because of both their convenience, and their design.
By utilizing strict memorization tactics alongside more engaging strategies that mimic organic language learning, these educational apps have helped millions of people across the world master a second, third, or even fourth language.
Read, Write, and Conversate
There are many different ways that one can practice a new language. Reading, writing, and engaging in regular conversation are by far the three easiest and most immersive ways to learn, develop, and eventually master a language.
All of the living languages have a plethora of libraries that you can look to for stories, books, poetry, or anything else that might interest you. Meanwhile, there are exercises that can help you practice your writing, too.
Finally, finding a partner with whom you can hold regular conversations in the language you’re learning can help you lock-in important pronunciations, turns of phrase, and other important details.
Learning a new language is not always a simple or easy task. However, taking it step by step, being patient, and putting in plenty of practice will guarantee that you’ll be speaking, reading, and writing the language with fluency in no time. Take your time learning the fundamentals of the language like the alphabet and the basic vocabulary, and let the fundamentals guide you through the more complex stages of learning a second language.