How does one study Chinese effectively?

chinese words
Chinese is a beautiful language that has more than 5 000 years of history.

It is a pity that some students give up learning this language as they find it just too difficult. Some children also have a stigma about Chinese which makes it even more difficult for this group to do well in the language.

As a person who excels in Chinese, I thought it is good to share some of the methods or ways to learn this language effectively.

1) Immerse oneself in a Chinese speaking community helps tremendously. As people around you speak Chinese all the time, you will pick up the language almost automatically. However, if you don’t have the right environment, I suggest you join some social groups which have a lot of Chinese being spoken.

2) Listen to Chinese songs. Depending on your preferences, you may listen to folk songs, pop or children’s songs. Choose songs that you like to hum along to and you will learn the words more easily.

3) Add variety to your study of Chinese. In Chinese, you can learn about idioms (成语) and sayings (谚语). Adding such variety when learning Chinese will take away the boredom in studying the language.

4) Practise writing the Chinese characters until you know them well. Part of the rigours in learning Chinese includes knowing how to write the words by heart. I believe there is no short cut to doing this. It takes perseverance and determination. Students should diligently copy Chinese characters and in no time it will stick in the mind for a very long time; except some uncommon words which require one to check the dictionary before one can know how to write it out.

5) Read the great classics like “The Three Kingdoms” (三国演议) and travel back to ancient China. You will be amazed at the wisdom of our forefathers and understand why war tactics like “Sun Zhi’s Art of War” (孙子兵法) are applied in the modern corporate world. “Dream of the Red Mansions” (红楼梦) is another good classic to read up. The events that unfold will keep you glued to your seat for many hours simply because the story is just tremendously mesmerizing.

6) Watch Chinese dramas and news. What better way to learn Chinese than to turn on the television and enjoy the news or drama channels every day. You will learn how Chinese is used in no time. If you are a beginner in the learning of the Chinese language, watching Chinese cartoons is a good place to start.

7) Writing in Chinese is the most difficult part for the majority of people learning the language. Learning to speak is easier. Writing in Chinese requires one to know the prose style, the flow and expressions needed to bring out the ideas and forms. Learning from a good teacher can speed up the learning process. Children can consider getting a good Chinese tutor to come in and correct their writing and learn the know-how to write well.

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