In a word, yes. But not for the reasons you might think. It depends on why you want to learn Chinese.
So the first thing you need to do is know your objectives. Is it learning Chinese for a trip? Or to watch C Drama? Speaking with families? If it’s to knowing how to speak Mandarin for a journey, learning Chinese is pretty easy and fast.
If your objective is to be fluent in Chinese, then it’s not really difficult to start and understand how the Chinese language works, but it will require time. But it’s pretty fast to learn simple sentences if you want to have a basic conversation. If you want to be proficient then yes, Chinese is difficult to learn.
Once you know your objectives, you can choose a course on Ninchanese. There’s a course for every level and every need.
How do I start learning Chinese?
Starting to learn Chinese is easy. The first step is to learn to recognize Chinese characters and associate them with the right tones. Tones are essential in Chinese sounds since they give the correct meaning.
Once you understand the characters correctly, learning Chinese feels more like a puzzle. The Chinese grammar is pretty straightforward and more accessible than in most languages.
Then you need to know how to speak, and for that, practice and repetition are critical. On Ninchanese, you can learn the vocabulary, pinyin, and grammar, and with a voice recognition feature, you can also learn to speak.
How do beginners learn Chinese?
You start by learning characters and pinyin. Then you move on to words and sentences and then basic conversations. To learn Chinese means breaking the language into four parts: reading, speaking, listening, and writing. Being excellent and becoming fluent in Chinese is difficult.
The most advanced Chinese learners on the app can hold conversations and speak freely about what is on their minds. You’ll begin by learning Chinese characters and some basic grammar.
Can I learn Chinese on my own? Is Chinese difficult to learn alone?
Yes, you can learn Chinese on your own. There are a lot of resources to help you learn Chinese. And it is the way to learn Chinese since it takes time to learn the characters. You can’t expect a teacher to make the memorization for you!
You will be the one making efforts and then use it to speak with Chinese people. However, learning Chinese is much easier if you have regular contact with a native speaker. Learning with a partner, in a class, or through a language exchange is a good complement to Ninchanese and makes it much easier.
Can you learn Chinese without writing?
To learn the Chinese language, you need to know the characters. With today’s computers, you can learn to type with an IME, a Chinese keyboard of sorts, which simplifies learning the language.
Thanks to the IME, it means you can type in Chinese rather than write in Chinese. This improvement is much more effective and valuable. It might seem that Chinese is difficult for the beginner for, such a complicated language. I would say learning the base of writing is essential. Knowing how stroke orders work is important and will help to read a character better.
The great news is learning how to write a character is fast. The same rules apply to every character, so once you know it, you can just learn to recognize a character.
How many words do you need to know to be fluent in Chinese?
You need to learn around 2500 characters to be fluent in Chinese, at least comfortable. You can learn all these characters on Ninchanese for free.
In addition, there is a Chinese character (or a combination of them) for everything, so you can know many more Chinese characters than is necessary to be fluent in Chinese. You often know characters from your field of work that other people, even Chinese, do not know.
Can you learn Chinese without living in China?
Yes, you can learn Chinese without moving to China. If you do not live in China and your exposure to Chinese learning is limited, you can still progress in your Chinese knowledge.
So don’t despair, you can learn the language without going to the country. And you can start today. Then, once you have a great foundation, you’ll be ready to go to China and continue your learning there if you want.
How long does it take to become fluent or conversational in Mandarin?
Depending on how much time you spend a day and what you consider conversational, there are no set time limits to be able to speak Mandarin. However, you will reach a level of fluency at which the native ability in speaking, both written and pronunciation, will be much stronger.
Let’s say you’re learning every day on Ninchanese. In a month, you can achieve the HSK 1 level, which will grant you the ability to speak basic Chinese. In 6 months, you can have an intermediate level and speak about a lot of practical subjects. In certain situations, you’ll feel like you’re fluent! But for some other situation, you won’t be. And in a year, you achieve the advanced level of Chinese. At this level, you’ll be able to speak about every situation you encounter, but you will still likely have words you don’t know or idea you still have difficulty expressing.
If you learn any language, there will still be things to learn, words you don’t know, but you’ll be able to learn it pretty fast. The most difficult is to learn every day for a long time. So you need to make a good habit and have a routine installed in your life.
Can you learn Chinese by watching movies?
Watching Chinese movies helps to be better in Chinese. But it is a very superficial learning process. So no, you can’t learn Chinese only by watching a movie.
That being said, watching a movie is an excellent way to improve, but you need to be at least at an intermediate level to have it benefit your learning. So I recommend you not just watch movies or play games in Chinese but also read Chinese books, try to listen to conversations, and use Ninchanese to learn.
Having a method to learn alongside watching movies will make it more efficient, and you will memorize the characters better.
Should I learn to speak or write Chinese first?
This is a good question. You need to learn both at the same time. Focus on learning to speak first. You will have better communication skills and pronunciation. Still, it will be hard to read or write, which is a significant part of how a language works.
Chinese characters are unique and a part of the beauty of the Chinese language. The best way to learn Chinese is to learn the language while understanding the culture. And reading texts from Chinese author is a great way to learn more about China and its culture.
So, learn to speak and read Chinese characters first. Writing will come easily once you know how to do that.
So I hope I have answered the majority of question beginner ask us about learning Chinese. The journey is definitively fun, and it is incredibly rewarding to learn such a language spoken by one-third of the population.