Learning Mandarin Chinese: 5 Great Ideas to Improve Your Skills

Note: This is a guest post by the good folks at the Learn Mandarin Website. They also recently interviewed me for a post on their site about effective language learning methods. 

street games in Beijing


Learning Mandarin Chinese can be undertaken via a wide variety of methods.

Recently, we at Learn Mandarin Now spent considerable time interviewing a number of Chinese language teachers, students and experts in order to find out about the preferred methods to effectively learn Chinese. We are now pleased to share with you five great ideas to improve your learning skills.

However, before we start, we’d like to sincerely thank Joann, from this blog, Outside In, for allowing us to write this post and who also contributed to our recent research.

The top tips can be summarised as:

  1. Learn Chinese by travelling to China

While not everybody can actually travel to China, owing to their particular circumstances, many people say that the most effective strategy is to go to the country and immerse yourself in the language. If you are really serious about learning Chinese and want to improve your skills quickly, this is certainly one of the best options. In fact, we discussed this subject with Joann previously: Learn Chinese in China.

  1. Keep on practicing

If you are not in China, or not able to travel there, there are sites such as Italki where you can still speak with native speakers. As an example, we know of some foreign students who learned to speak Cantonese even though they are not in a city where Cantonese predominates.

Obviously though, if you can get to China to live or work, one of the best ways to improve your language skills when you are there is to talk as much as you can to native Chinese speakers and try to blend into the local culture.

  1. Set attainable targets

While there are many online courses which claim to help you learn Mandarin Chinese quickly and easily, it’s important to remember that, no matter which way you choose, it will take years to speak fluent Chinese.

Don’t rush to try to study advanced Chinese; follow a clear learning pattern, starting with the basics—and don’t expect to know Chengyu or idioms from day one!

  1. Learning Chinese characters is a key element of learning Chinese

Often, students struggle with the dilemma whether to learn simplified or traditional Chinese characters. However, in our opinion, it’s rather more important to simply get started and begin to take some action. If you can master either type of character, you can basically understand the other type.

In any event, learning Chinese characters is an important element of learning and, in fact, we offer some tips and the strategy about how to learn Chinese characters in this interview.

  1. Learning better Chinese is not always expensive

From recent research we undertook with expert bloggers: How to learn Mandarin Chinese, we found numerous sites offering to help students learn Chinese. When we looked closely, it was apparent that most are free or only require a small investment to get started.

No matter which way you choose, please check out our website Learn Mandarin Now as we are always finding new ways to help you learn Mandarin Chinese in the most efficient manner!

Related Posts: 

Chinese Language Learning Infographic

Learning ABOUT Chinese (and Language Learning)

My Favorite Language Learning Quotes

Learning Chinese in the 1920’s

Learning Chinese in the 1600’s

A Letter to Chinese Language Learners

Imagine Learning Chinese Without Pinyin

How Long Does it Take to Learn Chinese?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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