To try and start to learn Chinese in 5 minutes will bring untold rewards.
As it’s a language spoken by some 15-20% of the world’s population, wouldn’t it be great to be able to converse with so many people? Learn about their culture, their ways, their likes and dislikes, and be able to explain about your culture, your hobbies, your country and so on—all in Mandarin Chinese.
Well, we all know that learning a new language is not that easy, and takes time, effort and dedication to get to a point where you can converse reasonably comfortably with a native speaker.
Yet, surprisingly, learning Mandarin Chinese is not quite as difficult as many people first think. Sure, it might appear to be harder as you can’t read the Chinese charac
ters but don’t let that put you off, as reading the characters is not the first step.
Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language with five distinct, recognisable tones and if you plan and listen well you will really begin to learn the language in 5 minutes.
Some tips to get started include:
Set Aside Some Time Every Day
Ideally set aside time in the same part of the day every day, so that you get into a routine. Spend at least 5 minutes, but longer if you can, listening to a native speaker speaking Mandarin Chinese from a CD, DVD or videos such as those on You Tube. Gradually, step up the time you study every day until you reach a period of time you are comfortable with.
Listen To The Tones Carefully
Especially in the beginning, listen very carefully and try to detect the various tones of Mandarin Chinese being used. Usage of wrong tones can sometimes mean amusement to others as this quite dramatically changes the meaning of the word you are trying to say.
Have Your Text Book To Hand
More often than not, beginners start with Mandarin Chinese books phonetically translated so that the reader can at least see the Chinese words in Romanised script; usually, such books have small number adjacent to each word indicating tone.
Start With The Basics
For sure, when learning Mandarin Chinese, start slowly and with the basics. Think of the simple greetings and phrases that you may need to use and which will certainly be helpful. Words and phrases such as:
Hello, how are you? Ni Hao
Thank you very much Xi Xi(谢谢)
My name is …. Wo Jiao (我叫…)
You’re welcome Bu Ke Qi （不客气)
If you can find someone to practice your Mandarin Chinese with, maybe a friend, colleague or even your Chinese girlfriend, all the better—and hopefully, they won’t laugh if you make a mistake with your tones and will correct them where necessary. If it is not possible to find someone, try to say the words out loud or maybe record them onto one of the Apps that allow voice recordings and play back so as you hear what you sound like.
Don’t be too disheartened if you think you are not making good progress with learning Mandarin Chinese in 5 minutes per day. Learning any new language takes time and you’ll suddenly find that it all starts to come together; the tones begin to become familiar and the sentence structures finally make sense.
Have fun and take your time to learn Mandarin Chinese—you’ll certainly be happy that you persevered.