Is It Vital To Learn The Basics Of Chinese Language First?
Are you currently taking a Chinese course? Or perhaps thinking of enrolling into one?
Regardless, if you are planning to learn the Chinese language, there is a good chance that you want to be fluent enough to hold a conversation and if possible – be at a near-native level. However, that might take a long time.
So, you are probably thinking about the shortcuts and ways to cut down on the learning time. There are many tips online that supposedly teach you how to do just that.
The only question is, is it advisable?
Many claim that you do not always need to learn the basics of the Chinese language first. This includes not learning the Chinese characters and its writing system – instead only picking up the most commonly-used characters.
While there is some merit to that, it does not always work.
To put simply – we advise against skipping the basics. Why? Because of the reasons stated below:
1. The basics are your foundation
One of the main reasons why learning Chinese takes so long is because you have to spend a huge amount of time grasping the characters first. You can speed it up initially by skipping this portion – but that also means that it will be much more difficult for you to pick up new words in the future. Unless you are familiar with your characters – a lot of Chinese characters will start looking the same after a period of time.
The initial investment of taking the time to build a strong foundation pays off eventually, making it far easier to read longer sentences and add more words to your vocabulary later on.
If you truly want to learn Chinese and be fluent in it, do yourself a favor and include characters into your vocabulary right from the get-go.
2. You won’t be able to speak or read properly
One shortcut that many claim works is learning only the most common 3,000 characters of the Chinese language.
Contrary to popular belief, this does not work.
The truth is, even if individual Chinese characters have their own meaning, combining them together tends to form an entirely new meaning – making it hard to understand unless you learn the Chinese language the proper way.
3. You won’t learn proper pronunciation
Chinese is a language where the context of a spoken word depends mostly on how the speaker pronounces it. If you do not start with the basics and take everything slowly – it will be hard for you to be understood, even by a native Chinese speaker.
Building a solid foundation of proper pronunciation and grammar helps ensure fluidity in your speech patterns.
Doing this helps ensure that the listener actually takes in what you are trying to say and can understand you.
In learning Chinese, or any kind of language, shortcuts will only make things harder for you in the long run. This is especially true if you are trying to learn Chinese – in order to be successful, you need to take your Chinese course seriously and stop looking for ways to cut your learning time.
The less you worry about taking shortcuts and the more you focus on the basics – the smoother your language acquisition process will go. Good luck!