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.

All you need to know to be a good chinese professor
Chinese writing is almost like calligraphy, beautiful, and complex. | Source: Unsplash

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 (), like the letter “e”.
  • 2: èr () “are”
  • 3: sān ()
  • 4: sì (), “suh”
  • 5: wû (), “whoa”
  • 6: liù (), “lay-oh”
  • 7: qī () “t-chee”
  • 8: bā ()
  • 9: jiû () “gee-oh”
  • 10: shí () “shee”
Chinese grammar is not as complex as it appears from the written language. | Source: Unsplash

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:

English

Mandarin Chinese

Pronunciation

Yes

正确

Zhèng què

No

错误

Cuò wù

Please

Qǐng

Thank you

谢谢 您

Xiè xiè nín

You’re welcome

不客气

Bú kè qì

Excuse me

劳驾

Láo jià

I’m sorry

对不起

Dùi bù qǐ

Hello

早晨好

Zǎo chén hǎo

Good night

晚安

Wǎn ān

Let’s go up a level and look at expressions that you could use in a work meeting or in the street once you’re fully immersing yourself in the language!

Expressions in Chinese for meetings and encounters:

English

Mandarin Chinese

Pronunciation

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?

您好

Nín hǎo

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.

Learn online
Online learning has become a popular medium of education in India. | Source: govtech.com

Chinese Skill

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 assessmentChinese 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.

Hello Chinese

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

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.

learning chinese online
Online tutor platforms like Superprof provide ample scope for learning languages, such as Chinese, from the comfort of your home. | Source: Superprof

Duolingo

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.

Personalized Learning

Duolingo lessons are designed to 0adapt to the learning style of the user. The lessons are customized to help students learn and review vocabulary effectively.

Immediate Grading

Users have the advantage of receiving instant feedback on their practice exercises. This way, they can improve their Chinese skills on the spot!

Rewards System

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.

Need a Chinese teacher?

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Shreyanjana

Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.