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Explore the Fascinating Features
of the Chinese language

First Free Lesson for Beginners Now!

  • Discover the Chinese language and expand your horizons;

  • Open your mind to the oldest culture, traditions, religions, arts and history;

  • Engage with the world in a more immediate and meaningful way;

  • Build up lifelong friendships in a wholly new universe;

  • Connect with 1/3 of the world;

​Phonetics & Learning Strategies

Is it hard for English speakers to learn Chinese?

Chinese is considered difficult for native speakers of the Indo-European language family. In the same way, Hungarian would probably be difficult for Niger-Congo language family speakers.

Chinese Intonation Tones and Words.jpg

The Chinese language is complex for Europeans because of the very different writing and pronunciation. The most difficult language is the one that differs most from one's native language features. It can be assumed that the most challenging language for you is relative to your native language.

Why the pronunciation in Chinese is considered to be difficult?

Chinese is a vocal language. For example, a character is usually one syllable. As in Indo-European languages, syllables are stressed or unstressed, so in Chinese, they have four intonation tunes. Different intonations of the same syllable can radically change its meaning. For example, depending on the tune, the syllable 'ma' could mean 'mom', 'hemp', 'horse' or 'scold'. Please hear the examples below.

​Another example providing even more variety is the syllable 'wan'. It could mean seven different things according to the tune and/or the context.

What features of the Chinese are considered to be difficult? How to deal with the learning?

Chinese consists of 21 consonants and 16 vowels and diphthongs, while English, for example, consists of 21 consonants and 5 vowels. Other European languages are similar to English. This means that in the instance of European students, they need specific strategies emphasizing pronunciation and reading/writing when learning Chinese. On the other hand, the Chinese language can be learned effectively and only through oral communication. Then, specific approaches are needed only on pronunciation.

What is the right strategy to learn Chinese?

A common misconception is that the Chinese language is very difficult. It may or may not be difficult but solely related to the learners and the teaching strategy.

Homonyms According to Tone.jpg

The right strategy then should be different for learners from different native language backgrounds. At our school, we know this and always strive to compose groups following these particularities. Our teachers are instructed to engage the students with appropriate activities depending on their native background for better learning results. They also emphasize specific linguistic structures that are key patterns in the process of memorizing and practising the language.

What are patterns in the Chinese language?

These are common phrases, specific order in sentences, specific order in asking questions, well-known expressions and proverbs and their corresponding Chinese idioms. Combined with many repetitions, these patterns represent an excellent approach to training mainly European language speakers.

Please also take a look at our Stories, Idioms & Phrases section.

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