To learn a new language, foreign to you, be it English, Japanese, or Chinese, you must be prepared to let yourself enjoy the process of learning. There are plenty of good reasons to learn Chinese. For one, 1.35 billion people in the world speak a form of Chinese with most of them residing in mainland China and Taiwan. In fact, it’s the most popular language on the planet, along with English. Not to mention, Chinese food is one of the most popular cuisines on Earth!
Be it trade or food, China is a world leader and it is useful to learn the language to stay on course with the international competition. You never know when a Chinese business comes calling! The Chinese language can be fun to learn. And, it is possible to learn Chinese on your own by using smartphone apps and digital or online Chinese resources.
Learning Chinese, indeed any new language, such as Japanese, French, or English, can become monotonous and challenging if you stop enjoying the process of learning. Be it Mandarin or Cantonese, foreign language learning should not feel like a mundane chore. You won't be able to improve your language fluency that way.
Superprof is here to suggest a few ways that make the process of learning a new, international language, a lot of fun! Turn your everyday activities into learning without necessarily laboring to make a conscious effort. Let’s have a look at some ways you can enjoy learning Chinese.
Learn Chinese on the Go
Learn the Chinese language as you commute to work, while you exercise, or even while you cook! Audio and video resources available online are great for busybodies who want to learn Mandarin. Here are some fun ways to integrate learning Chinese into your everyday activities.
Learn as You Drive
Whether you’re learning German, French, Spanish, or Chinese, your daily commute is a great time to be studying a language and learning some new Chinese phrases especially given how boring driving to work in the morning can be! Throw in a few traffic jams and your daily journey to work can become unbearable.
Let’s look at things a little differently. What if your daily commute became an opportunity to study Chinese? We recommend listening to podcasts and learning the basics of Chinese while practicing your pronunciation and listening out for the four “tones”.
Learn Chinese on Public Transport
If you use public transport every day to go to university or work, make the most of the time you’re usually doing nothing to learn some Chinese with fun apps on your smartphone or tablet. Improving your Mandarin Chinese is a great way to make the most of the time that would otherwise be wasted.
65% of people are visual learners, and adding video allows for greater retention as well as making the lesson content, even more, fun and interactive.
When you shop for a Chinese learning app, you may be confounded by the plethora of options in the market. So, take a minute to think about your learning goal and which level of learning you are at. Consider these factors before and during your app shopping.
- User-friendly: Choose an app that allows offline learning and practice, so you can get the most out of it. Read the app reviews that will tell you how user-friendly the app is.
- Active Learning: A Chinese language app should be designed to encourage learners to think. Practice exercises in the form of games or simple question-and-answer can facilitate active learning.
- Level of Learning: Learners of Chinese should be allowed to choose settings on the app that corresponds to their own level. This encourages structured learning and may even inspire students to “level-up.”
Learn Mandarin Chinese While Training
Are you the kind of person who likes going out for runs or for a walk? Or do you like to work out in a gym or sports center? It doesn’t really matter what exercise you’re doing. The important thing is that you can use this time to improve your Chinese. Put your headphones on and start listening to Chinese music or the radio in Chinese.
There are a number of different ways to enjoy exercising and learning a language at the same time. All you have to do is choose the method that works best for you!
Make Foreign Language Learning Fun
No matter the form of Chinese you desire to learn - traditional or standard, Mandarin or Cantonese - here are some ways to make the business of learning Mandarin Chinese fun and simple.
Find Your Medium of Learning
Learning a new language - English, Japanese, or Chinese - from a textbook may not be the easiest thing to do. Chinese is an important international language, at par with English. It is the medium of business language in major international corporations. So, if you are on the career path to join a foreign multinational, you need to brush up your Chinese speaking abilities.
Before you begin your Chinese learning lessons, understand what you want to achieve from such a course.
Recognize the medium or media most suitable for your style of learning. ChinesePod is a great option that lets users learn Chinese on the go. The website posts podcasts of all kinds in Chinese. Their content is divided according to the level of fluency. It is an easy format for beginners wanting to learn Mandarin Chinese.
Listen to China Radio International
The radio continues to be an essential medium of information. But, did you know that it is also a great way to pick up a foreign language? Teach yourself Chinese on the go by listening to Chinese news radio. Instead of your daily dose of news in English, listen to half an hour of international news a day in one of the best Chinese stations, China Radio International (CRI). It is a state-run consortium, with a very good news channel, that can easily be streamed online.
Give your foreign language learning and Chinese vocabulary a healthy boost with 30 minutes of Chinese radio. You will likely come across words in news shows which you will not find in Chinese textbooks or Chinese learning mobile apps. Some examples of such words include nouns like the names of countries, political groups, and organizations, or formal verbs.
Chinese news radio is broadcast in clear Standard Mandarin, making it very easy for listeners to understand what is being said. Moreover, you can use it as a model for your pronunciation practice during your spoken Chinese exercises.
Use Google Chrome’s Language Immersion extension
Chinese learning apps have saturated the app market these days. It is a challenge to find something unique and innovative. However, amidst the crowd, the Google Chrome extension called “Language Immersion,” offers a fresh take on learning Chinese online.
Language Immersion is a foreign language learning app where learners get to pick their choice of international language/s and the level of learning. Once selected, the extension slowly changes the selected text in websites and other online locations into Chinese, starting with a handful of individual words at lower levels, before gradually increasing. To look up the meaning of an in-text Chinese word, simply hover your mouse over the word.
For those reluctant to switch to Chinese for their international news digest, combine the use of the Language Immersion extension with daily news reading. Read the news in English on your mobile phone, while turning on the Language Immersion. This way, your Chinese vocabulary is bound to grow stronger over time.
Record Chinese Words
You can record any number of new Chinese words you learn every day. This can greatly increase your speed for word recognition. Record 4-5 words or even 10 Chinese words every day. Play them back and practice your vocabulary and pronunciation.
Subscribe to Chinese Word of the Day Services
Learn a new Chinese word every day by subscribing to services specifically designed for this purpose. Online services like Transparent Language or Innovative Language allows users to sign up for their services. Once you register, select the foreign language you want to learn (in this case, Chinese), and send you a new Chinese word every day. Not just the word, users also receive a sample sentence and a recording of a native speaker saying the word.
China is a leader when it comes to international trade and business. Because of this, the Chinese language has become an important medium of business communication, at par with English and Japanese. There are many ways to learn a new language. And, learning Chinese is no different, although its pictorial script and tonal nature might be overwhelming for beginners.
The key is to try multiple methods and settle on one or two most suitable to your learning style and learning goals. Try the methods outlined in this article to make learning Chinese a fun activity that can be seamlessly integrated into your everyday life.