To learn Mandarin Chinese is Easy!

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To learn Mandarin Chinese is Easy!

To learn mandarin Chinese is often described as a difficult language, sometimes one of the most difficult ones. There are thousands of characters and strange tones! It must surely be impossible to learn for an adult foreigner! Naturally, if you’re aiming for a very high level, it will take time, but we have met many learners who have studied for just a few months (albeit very diligently), and have been able to converse rather freely in Mandarin after that time.

How difficult a language depends on many things, but your attitude is certainly one of them and it’s also the easiest one to influence. You stand little chance of changing the Chinese writing system, but you can change your attitude towards it. In this article, we are going to show you certain aspects of the Chinese language and explain why they make learning a lot easier than you might think.

Why Learn Mandarin Chinese is easier than you think:

No grammatical cases – In English, we make a difference between how pronouns are handled depending on if they are the subject or the object of a sentence. We say “he talks to her”; “he talks to her” is wrong. In some other languages, you need to keep track of different objects and sometimes also not only for pronouns but for nouns as well.

None of that in Chinese!  (wǒ) “I, me” is used in any situation referring to myself in any way. The only exception would be the plural “we”, which has an extra suffix.

Chinese man teaching woman how to learn mandarin chinese

Flexible parts of speech – When learning most languages other than Chinese, you need to remember different forms of the words depending on what part of speech they belong to. For example, in English we say “ice” (noun), “icy” (adjective) and “to ice (over)/freeze” (verb). These look different. In Chinese, though, these could all be represented by one single verb  (bīng), which incorporates the meaning of all three. You don’t know which one it is unless you know the context. This means that speaking and writing becomes much easier since you don’t need to remember so many different forms.

People at event to learn mandarin chinese

Logic character and word creation – When you learn words in European languages, you can sometimes see the word roots if you’re good at Greek or Latin, but if you take a random sentence (such as this one), you can’t expect to understand how each word is constructed. In Chinese, you actually can do that. This has some significant advantages. Let’s look at a few examples of advanced vocabulary that are really easy to learn in Chinese but very hard in English. “Leukemia” in Chinese is 血癌 “blood cancer”. “Affricate” is 塞擦音 “stop friction sound” (this refers to sounds like “ch” in “church”, which has a stop (a “t” sound), then friction (the “sh” sound)).

If you didn’t know what these words meant in English, you probably do now after looking at a literal translation of the Chinese words! These are not exceptions in to learn mandarin Chinese, this is the norm.

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