Learning to speak Mandarin Chinese can be fun and very rewarding.
Quite how you best go about it is up to you but, clearly, you need to start with the basics. If you follow these simple but effective suggestions, then it’s likely you’ll be able to learn to speak Mandarin Chinese in no time at all:
Learn The “Four Tones” of Mandarin Chinese As Quickly As You Can
The “four tones” of the language are the key to good speaking, the very basics of Mandarin pronunciation. Search the internet or look on You Tube for videos on audio based “tones of Mandarin Chinese” and listen frequently until you can grasp the differences and required pitch.
Admittedly, it can be quite hard at first, but don’t be too concerned if you cannot get them right straightaway, it will suddenly all come right.
Learn To Say Your Name In Mandarin Chinese
Ask one of your Chinese friends to tell you how you can say your name in Mandarin Chinese (maybe even ask them to write in Chinese characters) and then practice saying it until you memorise it well.
In future when you meet people you can introduce yourself by saying “Wo Jiao (my name is) [your name in Mandarin Chinese]”. Sounds good, right?
Use Some Simple Chinese Mandarin Phrases Frequently
For example, instead of saying “hello”, say “Ni Hao” which is a generic greeting term but can be loosely used in all situations where you may say “hi” or “hello” in English.
If there are other simple phrases you remember easily try to use a Mandarin Chinese phrase before you move on to talking normally in English. An example might be “Na Li Na Li” which is a standard response to any compliment, including compliments to your close friend or spouse.
Make Sure You Learn To say “Xie Xie”(谢谢) and “Bu Ke Qi”(不客气)
“Xie Xie” (pronounced “Zhi-Zhi”) means “thank you” and can be used whenever you want to say thank you or show your appreciation to someone. Then there is
“Bu Ke Qi” which means “you’re welcome” and is pronounced “Boo Ker Chi”.
Say Certain Phrases Twice
Often a native Mandarin Chinese speaker will say certain phrases twice, so try and do the same. For instance, instead of saying “Ni Hao”, say “Ni Hao Ni Hao!” or instead of “Xie Xie”, say “Xie Xie Xie Xie”. This is done to put emphasis on the words.
Say the phrase a little softer the second time, and keep repeating to fade out smoothly. Other such phrases include Bu Ke Qi Bu Ke Qi! Tai Hao Le Tai Hao Le!
Learn to speak Mandarin Chinese expressions such as “Da Jia Hao!”
If you are called upon to give a speech, open your remarks by saying “Da Jia Hao!” which can be loosely translated into “How’s everyone today?” or “Hello everyone!” or similar and is sure to go down well with your audience.
Another popular phrase to learn is “Tai Hao Le!” which means “wonderful!” and can be applied to many situations such as someone agreeing to see you again, or someone giving you a business card, etc.
Follow these basic suggestions for learning Mandarin Chinese and you are sure to get off on the right foot!