Essential Tips for Learning Mandarin Chinese – Part 2
Here we continue our essential tips to help you learning to read, speak and write Mandarin Chinese.
Once you have the fundamentals under control, you could return to your normal life and continue with your language training on a less intense scale – perhaps two or three times a week. But if at all possible, start your Mandarin training with a full-time or immersive boost, and you’ll be glad you did.
Find a Special Kind of Language Buddy
It is common practice these days to find a ‘language buddy’ – someone who is learning the same language as you, and someone who you can practice your new language skills with. Alternatively, some people will engage in a ‘language swap’, for example if you are a native English speaker seeking to learn Mandarin, you would make contact with a native Mandarin speaker seeking to learn English, with a view to swapping your language skills and providing each other with expert tips and corrections.
If you really want to boost your Mandarin training, though, consider a language buddy who is learning Mandarin as well, but who does not speak the same native language as you. No, neither of you will be an expert in Mandarin so you won’t be able to correct each other as much as a native Mandarin speaker would have been able to, but you will also be forced to speak solely in Mandarin in order to converse, as that will be your only common language.
And unlike a language swap situation, there will be no need to switch back and forth between different languages so that you each get an equal amount of learning time. You will only be able to convert in Mandarin, and you won’t have your native language to conveniently fall back on. You may find that you worry less about being perfectly correct, and concentrate more on getting your message across in Mandarin and understanding the messages that are coming through to you.
Chinese Pop Culture
For an enjoyable break from your normal language studies, while still improving your Mandarin skills, try some Chinese pop culture. This is an excellent way to consume Mandarin outside of the classroom setting and in its natural environment – via dialogue. It is best to follow your interests here, so if you like comic books, then research and find a Mandarin comic book series to follow. You may prefer cartoons, pop music, classical music, action movies – whatever you normally enjoy consuming in your native language will be a great resource for you to use to improve your Mandarin.
Revisit Your Favourite Children’s Books
If you had a favourite children’s book when you were little, see if you can find the Mandarin version of that book. This is a fantastic way to learn a new language, since you will already be familiar with the storyline, dialogue and the characters, so you will have less of a need to consult your dictionary and will be able to work out many of the unknown parts.