Learning Mandarin Chinese is equally challenging as well as rewarding. Along the way, you can also teach yourself expert penmanship and calligraphy. Learning Chinese has many benefits including gaining cultural insights into one of the oldest civilizations of the world, access to better business opportunities, communication while traveling, and even some lifelong friendships.
Chinese is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, second only to English. Globally, more than 1.2 billion people speak this beautiful language.
Not just native speakers of China, Mandarin Chinese is spoken by people in Singapore and Taiwan. Chinese-speaking people are spread across the world and you are more than likely to encounter a few in your professional circles.
Unraveling the Complexity of Chinese Grammar
The Chinese writing system may appear complex at first glance, especially for beginners. Chinese letters look more like calligraphy than words and phrases. However, the good news is that Chinese grammar and conjugations are quite simple.
There are no genders, as in some of the other leading languages of the world, such as English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese, singular or plural nouns.
The basic formula for a sentence in the Chinese language is: subject + verb + object. There is no need for adding auxiliary verbs to adjectives in Chinese, either as verbs are understood in context.
Tone and Pronunciation in Chinese
Chinese is a monosyllabic tonal language. This means a word can have four different meanings based on how it’s pronounced.
For example, the word ma can mean:
- “Mother” in the first tone.
- “To bother” in the second.
- “Horse” in the third.
- “To scold” in the fourth.
Too annoying or frustrating? The best way to get around these frustrations is to spend between 15 and 30 minutes per day working on your pronunciation.
Learning Chinese Numerals
Numbers are one of the first things you will study in your beginner's course in Mandarin Chinese. The first step is pretty easy to follow. A horizontal stroke 一 (yī) means 1, two horizontal strokes, 二 (èr), represents the number 2, and three strokes, 三 (sān), mean the number 3.
Once you’ve learned the characters that represent 4 (四 sì), 5 (五 wǔ), 6 (六 liù), 7 (七 qī), 8 ( 八 bā), 9 (九 jiǔ), and 10 (十 shí), Chinese numbers, up to 99 (九 十九 jiǔshíjiǔ), are quite easy to learn.
Here are some numbers in Chinese with their approximate pronunciation:
- 1: yī (一), like the letter “e”.
- 2: èr (二) “are”
- 3: sān (三)
- 4: sì (四), “suh”
- 5: wû (五), “whoa”
- 6: liù (六), “lay-oh”
- 7: qī (七) “t-chee”
- 8: bā (八)
- 9: jiû (九) “gee-oh”
- 10: shí (十) “shee”
Picking Up the Essential Expressions in Chinese
No matter your reason for learning the Chinese language, you will need to pick up and memorize some of the most basic and essential expressions.
Here are some of the most important expressions to get you started in Chinese:
Xiè xiè nín
Bú kè qì
Dùi bù qǐ
Zǎo chén hǎo
Expressions in Chinese for meetings and encounters:
Do you speak English?
您 会 讲 英语 吗
Nín hùi jiǎng yīng yǔ ma
Is there somebody who speaks English here?
这里 有人 会 讲 英语 吗
Zhè lǐ yǒu rén hùi jiǎng yīng yǔ ma
I only speak a little Chinese
我 只会 讲 一点 中文
Wǒ zhǐ huì jiǎng yì diǎn zhōng wén
What’s your name?
您 叫 什么 名字
Nín jiaò shén me míng zì
My name is Luo Lun Si
我 叫 罗 论 丝
Wǒ jiaò lúo lún sī
How are you?
I’m good. Thank you.
我 很好 谢谢 您
Xiè xiè nín
Nice to meet you.
很 高兴 认识 您
Hěn gāo xìng rèn shí nín.
I don’t understand.
我 不 明白
Wǒ bú míng bái
Online Tools for Learning the Chinese Language
In the contemporary age of technology-driven education, learning a new language has also been made easier and more accessible with online learning apps and lessons. Interested learners can simply download any of these apps or online resources, such as a Chinese dictionary.
While Taiwan uses Traditional Chinese, China favors Simplified Chinese. Most online courses in India focus on the latter.
Here are some of the most user-friendly and resourceful online apps and learning platforms to learn Chinese quickly on your own.
Chinese Skill’s core curriculum covers grammar and vocabulary required to pass HSK 1- 2. The app uses mini-games to test the learner's listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills.
The app also offers a unique combination of Chinese automatic speech assessment, Chinese character handwriting, and pinyin tone animation technologies that make language learning easier, more fun, and more effective.
What You Can Learn
- 150+ grammar points
- 300+ sentence patterns
- 1000+ keywords and phrases
- 1500+ essential Chinese characters
The ChineseSkill app supports learning Chinese from 8 languages, including English, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Vietnamese, Portuguese, and Thai.
Ever wondered how to learn Chinese and make it a fun activity? Well, the language learning app, HelloChinese, seems to offer a fun, effective, and engaging app for beginners to learn Chinese Mandarin.
Using proprietary Chinese speech recognition and character handwriting, the app makes learning Chinese Mandarin language more fun and easy. The interactive app interface teaches Pinyin, pronunciation, character stroke order, vocabulary, and grammar.
Why You Should Try It
- Game-based Chinese Mandarin learning
- A well-designed Pinyin (Chinese pronunciation) course
- Speech recognition to correct your pronunciation
- Handwriting specially designed to learn Chinese characters at a faster rate
- Personalized daily training games
- Systematic courses based on HSK levels
- Bite-sized curriculum
- Both Simplified and Traditional Chinese characters supported
- Standard Chinese Mandarin audio recorded by native speakers
- The display offers the option of Chinese as pinyin or as characters
- Download the course and enjoy learning offline
- Track study progress across multiple devices
Superprof is a free online education platform that acts as a meeting ground for students and teachers. Students can consult tutor profiles freely and contact their ideal tutor according to their needs (prices, qualifications, reviews, home, or webcam lessons).
Schedule your lessons and pay them securely, all from your inbox.
The incredible Student Pass gives you unlimited access to all tutors, coaches, and masterclasses. The average price of Chinese lessons is ₹1,716. The price depends on a number of factors, such as:
- The experience of the Chinese teacher
- The location of the lessons (at home, online, or an outside location)
- The duration and frequency of the lessons
97% of teachers offer their first lesson for free. 2,977 tutors are currently available on Superprof to give Chinese lessons in India.
Duolingo boasts of the world's largest collection of language-learning data at its fingertips. Users can learn Chinese with the 5-minute game-like lessons available on the app. The lessons are designed to serve the interests of learners at all levels of learning. Duolingo offers an array of unique and attractive learning features.
The app lets users earn virtual coins, level up, and improve their fluency score by mastering new words, phrases, and grammar.
The Value of Constant Practice
No matter what language it is you are trying to learn, practice makes one perfect. Practice your Chinese with a real, native Chinese speaker. This is a step you will have to take to become fluent in the Chinese language. Communication is best learned through practice and devoting as much time as possible.