Top 5 problems when Learning Mandarin Chinese

What problems you will have when learning Mandarin Chinese? Let’s see the top 5 problems when learning Mandarin Chinese form a Professional teacher’s view.

Wrong expectation to Mandarin

Set up right expectation is very important, especially this is your first time to learn a “second language” or a “foreign language”. That is because based on your previous experience, it is easier to get proper awareness of “how to learn a new language”.

Also, if it is the first time you touch a logogram language, in the other hand, if your mother language is a phonogram language, you need to give yourself more time to understand Mandarin Chinese.

Here is an example:

In Mandarin Chinese, “吃飯” has tow different means. The first meaning is “eating (meals)”, the second meaning is “eating rice/having rice”. These two different meanings depend on:

  1. What is the whole sentence want to say
  2. What is the structure of the “word”, is “吃+飯” as verb. and object or “吃飯” as one word.

Looking for “fast”, instead of “stable”

When people start to learn something, normally we don’t really see it as a “long turn” learning program. We also hope we can be good at that subject faster than the others.

Of course, not everyone has the same idea, but it is quite normal to have this kind of thoughts. However, learning faster in the beginning doesn’t mean you will be the first to reach the end.

If you are a fast learner, it is good. But when we go deeper and deeper, don’t forget “width” is as important as “depth”. A wild foundation is crucial to what we will achieve.

Make “logical sentences” instead of “grammatically correct sentences”

To make a grammatically correct sentence is easy but necessary useful, make a logical sentence is the key-point. The reason we learn a language is for communicate with the others. If we can’t make a meaningful sentence, how can we have interaction with people?

For example, the sentence ”I sleep everyday.” is completely correct grammatically, but who will say that? Under what kind of situation? I will say, in normal situation, this is not a logical sentence.

Another example is “我家後面有山” VS ”山在我家後面”

我家後面有山,which means “ there are mountains behind my house”, is a good sentence. But when we say “山在我家後面”, which means “the mountain is behind my house”, sounds quiet strange.

Why ? it is not a grammar issue, it is about why we want to say so. The patten is for telling people the surrounding nearby my house, not where is the mountain.

Asking why there are differences between two languages.

Every language is unique. We can try to make comparation between language A and B. But that is for helping us to understand the new language, not asking why the new is different with my language.

A lot of my colleague has been ask “why I can say so in my language, but can not in Mandarin Chinese?”. Honestly to say, we don’t have the answer neither.

I am not really good at Japanese, but as what I know, Japanese put “negation” in the end of the sentence.

For example: “我不吃飯/ 食べない/ I don’t eat” . This is a very short sentence, but in different languages has different structure. How can I ask why Mandarin Chinese VS English VS Japanese are different?

Be afraid to use Mandarin Chinese because of language level

There is nothing perfect, so don’t wait still you fell you are fully prepared! Just say it. Making mistakes sometimes is the best way to learn. Beginner level is the best timing to make mistakes, because no one expect you can perform like an advanced learner.

The more you use Mandarin Chinese, the better you will become. Language is for communicating, not for testing. The only thing you need to keep in mind is not create “your own Mandarin Chinese”! What I mean is “try to use what you learn and follow the rules”. Don’t just say it without caring about what you are using. In the other side, saying simple sentence as a beginner is not a shame. By using those simple structure over and over, you will develop a very good sense of Mandarin Chinese.

Here you can read about How to improve your Chinese Reading Skills

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