10 Tips for Studying Chinese
Psychologists tells us that we have deep reservoirs of capabilities locked within us. Can you imagine what you could do if you had access to just a substantial amount of true potential? You could finally learn how to play the piano, and even learn how to speak Chinese fluently. If you are interested in learning Chinese, below are some tips:
1. Know The Benefits Of Learning Chinese
With over one billion residents, China is the most populated country in the world. Statistics state that one in every five person you encounter is from China, and speaks Chinese. With these tremendous statistics in mind, learning Chinese instantly sets you apart, and puts you at great advantage. As a result of learning Chinese a person has access to more career and travel opportunities, is able to communicate and connect with more people, and also develops a sharper and healthier brain in the process. Learning Chinese can literally revolutionize a person’s life so let us dig deeper into some of the tips for studying Chinese in China.
2. Get Reacquainted With Your Inner Child
We all remember childhood as a time of fun and adventure. The reason why we look back on childhood with such fondness and nostalgia, is largely due to our unlimited imagination, and our eagerness to learn new things.
As children we never presumed anything, or took the attitude of superiority in regards to learning, we simply kept an open mind and absorbed information without prejudice.
Learning Chinese requires that same level of receptiveness. In order to proficiently learn how to speak and write in Chinese we must set aside the knowledge of all other languages we know. Chinese involves new sounds, and pronunciation, all of which are completely different from English, and most Germanic languages.
3. Learn Through Immersion
The best way to learn anything is through repetition and immersion. Through immersion of a certain skill, it becomes etched into your consciousness. Think about it. How did you learn to speak English? Simple. Through repetition and immersion. Family members spoke English at home, friends spoke English in schools, as well as letters and symbol in form of billboards, and advertisements, all of which programmed the speaking, writing, and thinking, in English, deep into the treasury of your mind.
4. Make A Deliberate Effort To Learn
With deliberate and repeated effort almost anything can be mastered, including learning how to speak Chinese.
There are tools all around you that can aid in improving your knowledge of the language.
While buying translation dictionaries are of some value, they often only give a sample taste of the Chinese experience. In addition to learning from dictionaries and translation manuscripts, visit museums and experience theaters, and local events.
Also, become acquainted with local travel guides, as well as make friends with bilingual individuals, for they both share the desire to spread their vast knowledge.
An underrated tip would be to watch classic Chinese movies, and documentaries. Try watching without subtitles. As you watch and listen, try to get a intuitive feel for what is being said. Study the facial expressions of the characters in the movies, and place yourself in the very spirit of the film.
5. Embrace Mistakes. Feel Comfortable With Mispronunciation And Grammatical Errors
As humans, we are prone to move away from discomfort, and towards pleasure and security.
The idea of making mistakes and being ridiculed by others makes us afraid to try new things. Just as whenever we would fall off our bikes as children, and keep on riding, we must take the same attitude towards learning Chinese. Despite your fears of not being able to get the 'perfect' accent, or being able to correctly pronounce a few words, you will be surprised to know that there are people who truly acknowledge your efforts and feel honored that you desire to share their language and culture.
6. Talk To Strangers
Despite the social conditioning that states you should never talk to strangers, strangers can serve as potential friends, companions, and teachers. Simply stopping to say hello to a stranger, telling them about your desire to learn their language and attempting to engage in brief conversation can be of tremendous value when learning Chinese. Next time you see someone you find intriguing or are simply in a conversational mood, go over and say hello, you will be amazed at the difference it makes.
7. Learn Chinese Songs
Have you ever wondered why it is so easy to memorize and recite song lyrics, but whenever its time to cram for an exam, you draw a blank? That's because music is a very powerful tool that involves both the body and the mind. Many of us have caught ourselves dancing while humming a song we didn’t know the words to, but when we make the conscious effort to fully learn the lyrics, we instantly begin singing along. This same process can be used to learn Chinese. Listen to the radio, pick out songs that have a catchy rhythm and make an attempt to learn its lyrics. You will be surprised at how effective this process is to your Chinese comprehension.
8. Mutual Exchange: Learn Chinese By Teaching A Native Speaker English
While Chinese is the most spoken language in the world, English is also ranked highly, at #3 worldwide.
Just as you are seeking to learn Chinese, there are several students, business people, and everyday citizens seeking to learn English as well.
Not only do you benefit form learning directly from a native speaker, you are also enriching their life through teaching them English.
Mutual education can be the most effective way of learning Chinese.
You are both the student, as well as the teacher, no one is superior to the other.
9. The Power Of Talking To Yourself And Forming Word Association
While many people scoff at the idea of talking to oneself, it can actually be a powerful learning technique in itself.
Just as Winston Churchill, the great British Prime Minister never gave a speech without first reciting it to himself in front of a mirror, you can effectively use your mirror as a way to perfect your Chinese speaking.
By using a mirror, you get to watch your lips move, fine-tune your voice tonality, as well as calibrate your facial expressions. The process of practicing in front of a mirror can be shift your learning curve.
10. The Power Of Word Association
Humans are designed to think in pictures.
Take for example the word "car", the very moment you read the word, an image of a car, specifically yours, flashed into the screen of your mind. We use words to give meaning to pictures .
Placing Chinese written label on everyday items can be a tool that helps in creating the mental association between words and pictures, which leads to easy retention as well as mastery.