Last week, an old man in his 70s told me that he regretted not learning Chinese Language when he was young. During that time, Chinese Language was not compulsory in Singapore and many people had chosen to drop Chinese Language. Two main possible reasons were: It was very difficult to learn Chinese Language and most parents think that English was more widely used worldwide.
Time flies and things change. Now, many people are learning Chinese Language, even the non-Chinese. Whether you are a student from English-speaking background or an adult wanting to learn Chinese Language, here are the basic steps to get you started:
- 汉语拼音 — If you are non-native speaker and you really want to master Chinese Language, HanYu PinYin is the basics that you need to learn. HanYu PinYin is like phonics in English, yet it is more useful than phonics. We communicate by talking, writing and typing, if you are using the computers or mobile phones. Whatever tools you use, HanYu PinYin helps you to “write” the Chinese characters.
- 笔画和部首 — 笔画 and 部首 are the basic strokes in Chinese Language. Learning them will help you to remember Chinese characters better.
For the two steps above, try to learn them in a short time and carry on learning other aspects of Chinese Language. You may want to revise the two steps as and when necessary.
The next step depends on who you are and why you are learning Chinese Language. For students, you want to learn how to answer your exam papers. For adults, most probably you need to communicate in Chinese Language with your colleagues, customers and / or vendors. Thus, adults may directly learn the vocabulary for business while students learn how to differentiate Chinese characters, how to write a composition, how to understand a passage, etc.
It is a long and on-going journey that takes years. I have been learning Chinese Language since young, but every now and then, I still find some Chinese characters that I do not know. Yes, there are a lot to learn about Chinese Language. Take learning Chinese Language as a journey, start the journey now. You may take a break but do not give up!
Next: The tools