Why You Should Not Just Learn Chinese From The Dictionary
Dictionaries are a nice resource to have when learning a new language. In fact, you could argue that they’re the most valuable resource to anyone trying to learn a new language, like Chinese.
However, a lot of people seem to have a misconception that a dictionary is all you’ll ever need to learn a new language.
That’s not true.
The thing is, while useful and extremely accessible, Chinese dictionaries aren’t the only resource that you should be tapping into in order to learn the Chinese language in the fastest and most powerful manner.
You have to use other resources as well.
Below are the many disadvantages of trying to learn the Chinese language strictly from the dictionary:
1. You’re probably not learning enough
Using a dictionary to learn Chinese is a great start, but you most likely are not learning the precise pronunciation and tonality of speaking the language. Since you’re probably reliant on using a vocabulary list to learn the words and characters, you are missing out the proper guidance that is needed to know if you are on the right track.
2. Conversing will be a problem
Remember, Chinese is a language.
When you’re solely reliant on using a dictionary, that means you are only learning and expanding your list of Chinese characters and words. You don’t necessarily learn how to put these words together to formulate a proper phrase or sentence, let alone paragraphs or hold a proper conversation.
Sure, learning Chinese via a dictionary is completely fine if you just want to increase the number of words you know. However, that doesn’t mean that you know how to use them correctly in a sentence.
Even if you did know how to formulate a sentence or two, holding longer conversations in Chinese is going to be a problem.
How to best complement your learning
Of course, even though there are disadvantages to solely relying on Chinese dictionaries to learn the language, that doesn’t mean there’s no way to utilize them properly.
The best way is to come up with a consistent schedule to ensure that you are actively learning new words, and applying what you learnt on the daily.
Remember, learning a new language requires a lot of effort — simply knowing the words won’t mean anything if you don’t know how to use them.
While it’s certainly useful to study lists of characters and words from a dictionary, immersion is a much more important part of the language acquisition process.
In fact, enrolling in a proper language course to learn the Chinese language is a great way to supplement your use of the Chinese dictionary.
This way, you get proper guidance and an environment conducive to learning, while also being able to learn on your own time at home or whenever it is most convenient for you.