Last updated on April 11th, 2023 at 01:47 am
People today are keen to learn Chinese since it opens new business and employment possibilities. But, if you find yourself in the same boat, you might wonder, “Is Chinese hard to learn?” If so, you’ve come to the right place to find out!
Learning Mandarin Chinese has become the top choice for many people worldwide. It has more native speakers than other languages, at over 900 million, and is expected to become more widely spoken as the country‘s economy develops. But as you know, being fluent in Chinese doesn’t happen overnight; you’ll need to put in the time and effort required to master any other language. So, let’s look at the minimum of what’s necessary for a painless four-steps Chinese education.
1. Chinese Characters
Written Chinese and Japanese both use symbols called Chinese characters. The Chinese writing system was also utilized in the Korean and Vietnamese languages, but they call it differently. Hànzì (汉字), literally means “Han character,” is the term used to refer to these symbols in Chinese. Kanji (漢字) in Japanese, Hanja (한자) in Korean, and chữ Hán in Vietnamese are all names for these characters.
At least 3000 years old, these characters are among the world’s oldest continuously used writing systems. In East Asian culture, Chinese characters play a significant role.
Types Of Chinese Characters
There are two different styles of Chinese characters: Traditional and Simplified. But everything has already been written in traditional Chinese. By the time the PRC, or the People’s Republic of China, was established in the middle of the twentieth century, mainland China urgently needed to increase literacy rates throughout the country. Therefore, Traditional Chinese characters were considered as difficult to learn and understand by the Chinese.
As a result, they promoted the simpler characters that were created from the traditional ones. The modern, simple, and easy-to-memorize type are known as Simplified Chinese, whereas the old, more complex yet traditional style, known as Traditional Chinese in English, is still used in Taiwan.
Many Chinese Characters?
Compared to the European languages, there are more than 50,000 Chinese characters, making it the most extensive alphabet in the world. However, a modern dictionary would seldom include more than 20,000 of these characters. As a result, a well-educated Chinese person will have a vocabulary of over 8,000 characters, but you’ll only need to know approximately 3,000 to read the newspaper.
2. Chinese Pronunciation
Unfortunately, Chinese isn’t a phonetic language. Therefore, the writing and pronunciation of Chinese characters do not correlate. All the sounds will be pronounced directly from each Chinese word, not by spelling alphabets.
Pinyin is a specialized tool developed to help non-native speakers of Mandarin learn to speak the language correctly. Since Chinese is a tonal language, Pinyin is created to transcribe Chinese characters into phonetic transcriptions. And it’s written with characters close to the English alphabet, but they aren’t pronounced the same way. So, let’s check out the following table.
Pinyin Initials With Sound
Pinyin: Single Finals
Pinyin: Plural Finals
3. Chinese Grammar
A lot of similarities exist between English and Chinese grammar. For instance, subject-verb-object (SVO) is the most common structure for sentences;
我吃面包 (wǒ chī miànbāo) – I eat bread.
我 (wǒ) + 吃 (chī) + 面包 (miànbāo) → I + eat + bread
More Basic Rules To Remember
- The Chinese time term is placed at the beginning of the sentence.
- There are no tenses and verb conjugation in Chinese.
- Nouns won’t be pluralized, it remains in the same form.
- There is no agreement between the genders of the noun and the adjective.
- To create a question in Chinese, simply add 吗 (ma) at the end of the sentence.
4. Chinese Dialects
Mandarin (普通话, Pǔtōnghuà), Cantonese (广东话, Guǎngdōng huà), Wu dialect (吴语, Wúyǔ), Fuzhou dialect (福州话, Fúzhōu huà), Minnan dialect (闽南语, Mǐnnán yǔ), Xiang dialect (湘语, Xiāngyǔ), Gan dialect (赣语, Gàn yǔ), and Hakka dialect (客家話, Kèjiā huà) are just eight of the various Chinese dialects spoken throughout the country.
Mandarin is a common name for the language spoken in Beijing. Several regional variants and subdialects within each of these eight dialects, some of which meet the criteria for recognition as a different spoken language.
Is Chinese Hard To Learn?
You should know what aspects of Chinese, such as grammar, pronunciation, alphabet, and more, are the most challenging after reading about them. Because of individual differences, some people may have no trouble putting thoughts into writing, while others may find pronunciation challenge. In addition, some countries have linguistic similarities to China that can be used to your advantage when learning Chinese.
Is it difficult to study Chinese? That really depends on who you ask. You may need to take a comprehensive look at the case, identify the areas in which you feel the most uneasy, and then go into practice. Nothing is truly impossible, even if it may appear so at first.
Ling Can Make Learning Chinese Easier!
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You can learn a new language with the help of the Ling App, which is available to download on your smartphone, tablet, or website. The wealth of knowledge and quality of the instruction will astound you. If you’re worried that our app won’t provide anything special, know that you’d be wrong. We include several entertaining features to help you learn Chinese, like mini-games, puzzles, and an incredible chatbot. Because of this, you’ll have a whole new lexicon of Chinese words memorized in the early hours!