The Chinese language is considered one of the most challenging languages to learn, especially with the different dialects, pronunciation and complex writing forms. Most native speakers use the official language of China – Mandarin Chinese – as do those who learn Chinese.
Truthfully speaking, there is no one definite way of language learning. However, you will find that it isn’t as complicated as you thought it would be with the right approach. And there are many benefits of learning Chinese, along with it being the most spoken language worldwide.
Parents who are worried about their young children’s progress in the Chinese language, read along to find out all the extra help you can give them!
MASTER THE FOUR TONES
There are four tones when you speak Mandarin Chinese:
- First tone – a level tone which is high and flat. For example, the word “ma” in this tone is pronounced as “mā”.
- Second tone – a rising tone. Your voice rises from a low to middle pitch as if you’re confused. The second tone is indicated using the symbol “má”.
- Third tone – a departing tone as your voice pitch goes from middle to low to high, like when you say the letter “B”. The third tone is indicated using the symbol “mǎ”.
- Fourth tone – a lowering tone. Your voice goes rapidly from high to low, similar to giving a command. The fourth tone is indicated using the symbol “mà”.
There is also a neutral tone with no tone or sign on the letter (ma), but its existence is still being debated. Tones are an essential part of learning Chinese pronunciation, as phrases with different tones have different meanings.
Therefore, I highly recommend parents let their children watch Chinese movies and pay attention to the tones of native Chinese speakers. You’ll be able to catch onto the tones used and the speed of Mandarin speech.
GET THE BASIC VOCABULARY AND PHRASES DOWN
Whenever you are learning a new language, it is always good to learn as many words as possible. Therefore, have your child memorize some useful Chinese vocabulary and common phrases to start getting used to the Chinese pronunciation.
Primary textbook used by SLC – 欢乐伙伴
Secondary textbook used by SLC – 华文伴我行
Make sure there is a notebook by your child’s side at all times so they can write down all the Chinese vocabularies they are learning. Another way is to place Chinese labels on items around the house, such as the coffee table, television, refrigerator etc. They will learn the words by heart after seeing them so many times.
After getting most of the vocabulary and pronunciation down, move on to some basic conversational phrases. For example,
Hello– 你好- nǐ hǎo, pronounced [nee how]
Thank you– 谢谢 – xiè xiè, pronounced [shie shie]
You’re welcome– 不用谢 – bú yòng xiè, pronounced [boo yong shee-e]
Excuse me– 对不起 – duì bu qǐ, pronounced [dway boo chee]
STUDY BASIC GRAMMAR
The Chinese language is very logical, with no complicated rules about conjugations, agreement, gender, plural nouns or tense. Even so, Chinese grammar does exist, just very different from English or other languages.
Mandarin Chinese uses grammatical features such as classifiers, topic prominence and preference for aspect. This is difficult for language learners to grasp as these features are not used in English. However, they have the same word order, i.e. subject – verb – object, making translation much more manageable.
As stated, Chinese characters have different pronunciations. Hence, the Hanyu Pinyin system used for writing Mandarin Chinese in the Roman alphabet. This is used widely in textbooks and most teaching aids as it allows language learners to focus on their pronunciation.
For example, the letter “c” in pinyin is pronounced like the “ts” in the word “bits”.
Hence, parents should ensure their children are proficient in pinyin pronunciations before letting them use it as a guide.
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN CHINESE
One of the best ways to improve your new language is to get yourself a language partner. If you know any Chinese people who are also English speakers., befriend them! You can practice speaking, having an entire Chinese conversation with them, and asking them to correct any mistakes you made.
If you don’t have any Chinese friends in your social circle, that’s fine too! You can search online for any pre-existing Mandarin conversation groups or try QQ – China’s popular chat app. Most people there are native Chinese speakers learning English, so they will be pleased to accept you.
Other methods you can try:
Watch Chinese films and cartoons
Listen to Chinese music and podcasts
Consider taking a trip to China
HOWEVER, THE BEST METHOD IS, OF COURSE, CONSISTENCY! IF YOU WANT TO LEARN TO SPEAK CHINESE FLUENTLY, YOU HAVE TO KEEP UP THE EFFORT AND NOT GIVE UP.
SIGN UP FOR SLC’S CHINESE LANGUAGE CLASS NOW!
SLC’s tutors are effectively bilingual, making it easy for teachers to communicate even with students who might have difficulty conversing in Chinese. Beyond grades, their teachers have a balance of aptitude and attitude. We aspire to help all children and students find their potential and grow in confidence in the Chinese language.
Below are some of our students who excelled in Chinese after starting their tuition here!
If your child has been showing little to no improvements even with the use of practise papers or tuition classes, perhaps it’s time to try something else.
Our Online Diagnostic Assessment helps children to discover his/her ‘problematic’ spots and learning-behavioural profile. This combined with SLC’s method and materials can help your child learn effectively to improve his/her grade and deepen his/her foundation in the language.
Simply fill in the form below to book your Online Diagnostic Assessment now. Slots are limited, be sure to book fast!
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