8 Tips for Learning Chinese Faster
1. Start speaking from day 1
Most people learn a language to speak it — so why wait? The best way to get better at speaking is to speak more frequently and more often. To some people that is pretty basic advice that they’ll do anyway. In fact, these louder, more outgoing people tend to learn languages faster. That’s why it’s important if you’re a more shy person to still make a concentrated effort to speak out as much as possible. Don’t be afraid of mistakes! Don’t be afraid of sounding stupid! You gotta be bad at something before getting good at it.
2. Don’t be afraid of sounding like a fool
This may sound like point 1, but it’s worth repeating. Don’t be afraid of sounding silly! You’re brand new to this! You need to practice to get good. As soon as you accept that, then your learning will go much faster. The louder more obnoxious kids in my Chinese class were actually much better learners than the quiet ones.
3. Make sure you get your tones right
Tones are one of the hardest parts of learning Chinese for foreigners. Sometimes, since it’s so hard, people take shortcuts and/or don’t spend enough time on the tones. Learning good tones is like learning a good habit. If you spend time and get it right from the start, then they will always be there for you. If you have half-ass it at the beginning, it’s much harder to fix later down the line. Learn all the tones together with all the pronunciations, it will help you build the strong Chinese foundation you need to succeed.
4. Enjoy Chinese culture!
What inspires you to learn a second language? A language is just a tool. For most people, the best use of this tool is to get to the hidden culture and history behind it. Many people learn Chinese because they’re interested in Chinese history, economics, music, food, or otherwise. Remember the reason you started learning Chinese. Learning more about this aspect of Chinese will help keep you motivated and interested in learning.
5. Learn the most common Chinese words first
After pronunciation and tones come Chinese words. You need words to build sentences and start learning the language. Know that some words are more important than others. Choose “high-frequency” words first, so you can learn as quickly as possible. Look at our list of HSK1 words to see the first 100, 250, and 500 words you should learn!
6. Learn grammar so you can apply it in conversations
At TutorMandarin, our courses are designed to have 8-10 vocab per lesson and 1-3 grammar points. This lets you apply everything you learn in practical context right away.
7. Talk to native speakers as often as possible
Hopefully, this comes naturally to you. But the point of learning a language is to speak it! You should want to apply the new things your learning in real conversations with native speakers. At the same time, there’s a double benefit. There’s no better way to learn the language than to practice it with native speakers. Native Chinese speakers will show you new phrases, native phrasings, correct your awkward problems, and more. Plus, the human connections will hopefully make you feel more attached to Chinese language learning.
8. Learn Chinese through different music, movies, tv, more
I know countless people that have learned and improved their English just by watching American TV shows. It wasn’t even on purpose! They just liked the TV show friends and watched it so much that their language skills improved. You can do the same with Chinese. There are tons of great Chinese dramas, Chinese kungfu movies (make sure it’s not in Cantonese), and Chinese songs. Just because it’s fun doesn’t mean you’re not learning!!
9. Get apps to learn Chinese
Every year technology gets even more and more advanced. There are some incredible apps out there for all aspects of Chinese learning! Apps for Chinese writing. Apps for Chinese speaking. Tons and tons of apps for both iOS and Android. Come to see our lists of different types of Chinese language learning apps.
- Best HSK Apps
- Best Chinese Translator Apps
- Best APPs for Kids to Learn Chinese
- Best iOS Chinese apps
- Best Chinese learning apps of 2017
- Top Apps for China
10. Get a Chinese tutor
The last tip is to learn with a Chinese tutor. Since people have the internet and youtube, they think they can learn a language all on their own nowadays. Not true. A good teacher is the number one factor in whether or not you will learn to speak Chinese. Do yourself a favor a try a tutor as soon as you can. At TutorMandarin, we even offer one free hour class for all users who sign up. Sign up for your trial class today!