How To Speak Chinese Fluently: 7 Effective Tips For All Levels

How To Speak Chinese-Ling

Let me guess: you’ve already mastered basic Mandarin, you can read and write Chinese characters, and now you want to learn how to speak Chinese fluently.

You must know that achieving fluency in the Chinese language takes time. However, with some effective tips, you can speak Chinese fluently in a relatively shorter time. So, in this article, you will find seven tips that will help you speak Chinese like a native speaker.

How To Speak Chinese Fluently

Though many native English speakers believe Chinese is hard to learn, by following a consistent study plan and effective language-learning methods, speaking Chinese will become easier day by day. So, here are the seven tips you can follow for a shortcut to fluency.

1. Understand Chinese Tones And Pinyin

First, you need to know pinyin, which is the Romanized version of the Chinese language, to read and pronounce the Chinese words correctly.

After you’ve mastered pinyin, you should learn the Chinese tones. There are five of them, which are:

  1. Flat tone – 妈 (mā) meaning “mother”
  2. Rising tone – 麻 (má) meaning “hemp”
  3. Falling and rising tone – 马 (mǎ) meaning “horse”
  4. Falling tone – 骂 (mà) meaning “scold”
  5. Neutral tone – 吗 (ma) meaning “particle indicating a question”

As you can see in the examples above, understanding Chinese tones is crucial when speaking with Chinese people, as they can drastically change the meaning of a word. It wouldn’t be cool to call your mother horse by mistake!

How to Speak Chinese

2. Use The Right Language Learning Materials

If you want to focus on improving your speaking skills, you should use the right language-learning materials. Resources for learning grammar rules and writing Chinese characters are different from each other, so it’s important to choose wisely.

Since you want to improve your spoken Chinese, you will do good to use a language learning app that includes audio content, such as the Ling app. Apart from that, you can use podcasts, songs, videos, and movies to work on your listening comprehension.

3. Immerse Yourself In Chinese

The immersion method is the best-proven method for learning a foreign language. The essence of this method is exposure to the target language. So if you happen to have a chance to stay in China for a while to learn the language, that’s fantastic!

However, this method is not just about living in the native country. Another way of immersing yourself in the language is by hearing and reading it every day. This includes watching Chinese films and listening to Chinese music. By hearing native speakers, you will learn new vocabulary with correct pronunciation and pick up a native-like accent.

Social media-How To Speak Chinese-Ling

4. Use Social Media

I like integrating social media into my language learning plan, and I highly recommend it. Social media has become an inseparable part of our lives. I’m sure you spend hours just scrolling through your feed. Why don’t you use this time to expose yourself to Chinese culture and language?

Have a separate account where you follow Chinese-speaking influencers and language learners who speak the language fluently. Everything you see and write in this account must be in Chinese, meaning you should write your captions and comments in Chinese too. This way, you’ll be exposed to real-life content created by native speakers. Who knows, you can even find a Chinese friend!

5. Learn Chinese Fillers

Fillers are words that help you earn time when connecting your idea to another. So instead of pausing, which is something you want to avoid if you wish to speak Chinese fluently, you can add fillers such as “well…”, which is 这个… (zhè gè…). Native speakers often use these kinds of fillers in casual speech. It’s my favorite hack to sound native-like when speaking a foreign language!

Here are some other Chinese fillers you can add to your speech:

EnglishChinese PinyinPronunciation
It’s like就是jiù shì
Then然后rán hòu
That那个nà gè
By the way对了duì le
Also另外lìng wài
About that那什么nà shén me
What’s more还有就是hái yǒu jiù shì

6. Use The Shadowing Technique

The shadowing technique is the best-proven method to acquire a native-like pronunciation. If you want to learn how to speak Chinese like a native speaker, this is a must.

As you can guess from its name, shadowing is all about mimicking a native speaker’s speech. You can open a video or a podcast and listen and repeat the speaker by paying attention to their accent, pronunciation, and tone. Then record yourself speaking and compare it to the native speaker’s speech. Repeat this cycle until you sound just like them.

7. Talk To Native Chinese Speakers

Of course, the best way to improve your speaking skills is to speak as much as possible! It’s better if you have Chinese friends that you can practice with because they can easily catch your mistakes and show you the correct pronunciation. You can also learn new vocabulary in context when having a conversation with them.

However, if you practice speaking with another Chinese learner, they may not be able to correct your mistakes, or worse, they may teach you the wrong pronunciation, so be careful!


Speaking Chinese is not child’s play, but after discovering these seven tips on how to speak Chinese, you now have a shortcut to fluency. Remember that even when you follow these tips, you won’t achieve fluency overnight, so patience and consistency are just as valuable!

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