Almost all of us have an interest in language. Naturally, when we see someone learning a new language or seeing a foreign language skill, we naturally have a kind of envy.
There is a saying in the rural language, ‘fix the house first, then the outside!’ That is if we cannot manage our house first, it is not possible to handle the outside (society), we can all agree. Since our mother tongue is English, we all have the least skills over English. But even if there is proficiency in a language other than the mother tongue, it is certainly deserving of praise and imitation.
According to linguists, there are seven or ten languages or dialects in the Chinese language group. In learning Chinese, it is the first task to recognize its signals or letters and to remember them. The work is a bit difficult! However, when the signals are recognized, learning the language is a pleasure, not a pain.
Lots of good answers here, but they are very limited to personal experience. While some will work and some not, the question was “what is the best way to learn Chinese”.
I think that there is not enough emphasis on finding good teaching. Especially teaching methods for understanding the very building blocks of the language, which is the most important place to start. With a confident grasp on the foundations of Mandarin Chinese, learning the language becomes a rewarding and fun experience!
Find the best method that makes you excited to learn.
Conventional teaching gives you the study material, that you need to “study” with a mentor. This implies that the student should work hard to understand and memorize the language.
But what if I told you that things should be the other way around. That is the work of the teacher to make you not only understand but also memorize the language. If this sounds crazy to you, it simply demonstrates the failure of our educational system.
A modern teaching method (luckily they do exist!) Will explain the language well enough to give you control over the language, simply by listening to the teaching in a relaxed environment.
The learning happens when you understand the language and can construct completely new sentences by yourself. And when you understand something, you will remember it. I believe this is the best way to make learning Chinese an exciting process.
* Understanding is the responsibility of the teacher
* When you understand something you just remember it
* Real language learning is rewarding right from the beginning
* Everything starts from a confident grasp of the basics of Chinese
I hope this helps take the first step to find your own best way of learning Chinese! It’s a thrilling ride and if you’re not enjoying it, you must be doing something wrong.
Are you immersed? If you really want to learn it fast and you really think it’s worth it for this job, then cut yourself off from other languages. Spend time only with Chinese people who don’t speak English. Force yourself off the English Intertubes. Don’t read anything or watch anything in English or another of your existing languages: Only Chinese radio, Chinese Websites, Chinese television shows, Chinese newspapers, and magazines.
If you’re a structured learner, get in a program that actually makes you work and tests you. Or do whatever has worked before for you pedagogically, and double it, because Chinese really is damned hard.