Easiest Things about Learning Chinese

By Leonard posted on 25 Sep 2010, 02:15
Tags: Chinese

It may surprise many people to learn that Chinese can be easier to learn than many other European languages. Languages such as French, German and Spanish have more similarities with English, but also share many of the traits that make English difficult to learn as a second language. Mandarin Chinese is a lot more straight-forward and simple than people imagine. Here are the eight easiest things about learning Chinese:


01 - It's not necessary to learn the Chinese characters.

Pinyin is a well established method of writing Chinese in the English alphabet. Chinese school children initially learn Chinese through Pinyin. For example, hello is written as 'Ni hao'. There are 4 types of tone marks used in Pinyin. But most other European languages would have letters not used in English too!


02 - No gender distinctions in Chinese.

Words in other European languages will usually change depending on whether the word is male or female (or neutral)! For example in Spanish you will need to learn which of the 3 words to say 'the' is appropriate for the situation - el, la, lo. You need to learn the gender of each word you learn, even if it doesn't appear to have a gender - like a table! So you can be thankful that in Chinese you'll won't have to remember the gender of inanimate objects!


03 - No verb conjugations in Chinese.

The verb 'to be' in English can change dramatically. For instance 'I am', 'You are', 'He is', etc. This is called conjugation and occurs in most languages throughout the world. These have to be learned, often by rote when they do not follow regular patterns. For example in German, 'to be' could be either bin, bist, ist, sind, seid or sind! You'll be glad to know that in Chinese, 'to be' is always shi. Verbs in Chinese always remain the same regardless of the person. So that means you won't have to learn lists of conjugations off by heart!


04 - Count in a truly decimal system.

While Europeans were still counting in dozens and scores, the Chinese were inventing the decimal system. Once you learn numbers 1 to 10 in Chinese, all other numbers follow a regular pattern based on these building blocks of 1 to 10.


05 - Verbs don't change for different tenses.

Taking the example once again of 'to be' in English, this becomes 'was' in the past tense. This also has to be conjugated once more - 'I was', 'You were', etc. Verbs will change in the past tense, future tense, and lot of other exotic tenses like the present continuous! In Chinese, verbs stay exactly the same for all tenses. So how do you let someone know you're talking about something that happened in the past? Easy, just add a timeword like yesterday, last week, etc!


06 - The names of Days and Months are based on their number.

The days of the week in Chinese don't have individual names so much as having individual numbers. If you know numbers 1 to 7, you can quickly master the days of the week in Chinese. Likewise the names for months of the year follow a simple pattern based on the numbers 1 to 12.


07 - The Plural is always the same as the Singular.

What's the plural of cat - cats. Just add an 's', its easy right? How about the plural of man - men. Hmm! How about wolf - wolves. What about sheep - well its sheep! Confused, you should be! You'll be relieved to know that in Chinese, words never change in the plural!


08 - Chinese words are formed very logically.

Once you know the meaning behind a new word in Chinese, it is very easy to remember. For example meals in English are typically called breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What is the meaning behind these words? How are these 3 words related? The answers are not clear. The words for these meals in Chinese are zaocan (literally 'early meal'), wucan (literally 'noon meal'), and wancan (literally 'late meal'). The underlying meaning is clear, as is the relationship between the words.


Comments

matthew
07 Feb 2011, 02:11
hi i am chiese person you done this website is
very good
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Alan
14 Jul 2011, 12:10
I am enjoying this programme but find it very slow if I am using my Ipad. It is ok on my desktop computer but I travel a lot so need to work away from my desk and it is driving me crazy waiting for the programme. On the whole great job.
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Leon
26 Jan 2012, 07:13
You have done a great job! I hope I can make myself understood in Mandarin very soon. Thank you for your help.
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soom
02 Feb 2012, 05:08
is great method to learning Chinese language
thanks a lot for you
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saleh
17 Feb 2012, 04:36
hi you have done good job and I'm very pleased to start grasp with Mandarin lag. becouse of your way of teaching,but still need to know how can I write chinese chracteres. thank you for your help
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Laird
29 Feb 2012, 08:16
Why don't you guys teach Chinese writing? That's important too. I would like to learn it.
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Joseph
19 Apr 2012, 01:54
I cannot EXPRESS how great this website has been for me. I plan to move to China in the next few years, transferring for business. These lessons are all inviting, non-intimidating, fun, intuitive... well, honestly I can list off a whole bunch of adjectives. I could not believe this language would be as easy to learn as it is, and I may never have known if I hadn't stumbled upon GraspChinese.com. My native friends and friends who speak have been very impressed that I have learned what I have, as quickly as I have. And though I use many different resources, I can assure you that my most effective and favorite of them all is certainly- you guessed it- GraspChinese.com
Thanks for all the help,
Joey Rannalli

PS, feel free to use my testimonial for any promotional needs. I'd be honored.
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Ying Ping
20 Apr 2012, 03:31
I am Chinese... For real. I use to speak it when I was little but my mom stopped speaking to me in Chinese so she spoke Khmer to me. That's why I needed to learn. But I knew a lot of Chinese before I Became a member. I noticed that if you speak more to another person the same language, you catch on first. But you did a very good job. You had everything needed. Most languages have a lesson, with no phrasebook. And others have a phrasebook, with no lesson. A very good website indeed.
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Ying Ping
20 Apr 2012, 03:33
I love this website!!!!
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Ying Ping
24 Apr 2012, 01:24
Why not teach us Chinese songs?
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Kaushik Shah
12 May 2012, 02:11
I was looking to learn chinese mandarin as i normally go there every year for business,and it would be great to understand people and talk. i accidently came to this site some how and will give it a go. it looks good and sounds good. I seriously need to spend time on this language and try and learn as fast as possible. i think it will be of great benifit to me and my business.
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Sonia
29 May 2012, 09:23
It seems like it flys by when you already got a gold... but seems so slow when you do it the first time.
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Anonymous
29 May 2012, 09:29
You did a good job making this website
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Anonymous
29 May 2012, 09:49
If you score between 60% and 79%, you'll earn yourselfa a bronze.
If you score between 80% and 99%, you'll earn yourself a silver.
If you score 100%, you'll earn yourself a gold.
Why don't you say, "if you get under 60%, you don't get anything at all"?
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Rosie
08 Jun 2012, 11:05
I think that this is an amazing website.
One of my best friends is Chinese called Kim (and my love interest is also Chinese), Kim was very impressed about how I managed to speak small sentenses in Chinese after the 3rd lesson. I enjoy being able to talk to her in another language, and I hope she does too.
I like the way you teach it, and how you break the words up into smaller words and tell us the meanings. I like the interactive excerises, it really works.
Dani has done a great thing setting this website up.
I think that it would be very useful to teach us to write in actual chinese (not just pinyin) and I think that learning Cantonese is something else you could try to teach us?
I like the phasebook, and that I can make notes to refer to when talking to Kim.
You've made learning Mandarin very easy and interesting, you haven't just unloaded a bunch of words onto us, you've went through it step by step.
I'm only 15, yet I can now speak a very decent amount of Chinese.
Thanks for helping
xxx
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Mark
17 Jun 2012, 07:50
I am sure you know the difference between Mardarin and Cantonese - Cantonese is very different to Mandarin and is mainly spoken in Hong Kong - for this reason I AM AMAZED that you show photos of Hong Kong when your text speaks of Beijing - I will watch to see when you change it.
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Ben
27 Jun 2012, 07:05
I love the fact that you can consolidate your learning with the listening and writing out of the phrases which reinforces the tonal pronunciation of the words, and it trains the ear to listen and understand what is said. I cannot fault your program. It is the best one I've found by far and I'm loving it. Dani your blood is worth bottling!.
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gerry
04 Nov 2012, 02:55
im from Ireland and i can only say that this is the best chinese resource that i have found online or offline.

it keeps things simple and is easy to follow.
my chinese students are impressed and say that my grasp of chinese is impressive after a short time learning.

i hope to go to china next year for business.

china is the future.

gerry byrne.
director.
advance international college
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Hector
14 Dec 2012, 06:59
I hope to visit China and knowing the language would help a lot. I came to graspchinese.com by chance and am very glad I did.

XieXie
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Mereke
31 Jan 2013, 07:29
Very well-developed and user-friendly website. I like it too. Keep it up:)

Xie Xie
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mohamed zine el abidine
07 Mar 2013, 01:01
nihao:
i am an algerian ; and i am verry pleased by your method, i hope you goog luck because you realised my dream ;
xiexie ninde banzhou
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Rita
20 Mar 2014, 04:51
Can never master the accent, anyway to get it right?
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Trent
30 Jun 2014, 03:12
fantastico!
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Bill - (An American in Taipei)
10 Jul 2014, 01:12
I've been in Taipei for a few months, and have been trying to learn Mandarin. I have tried a number of methods, and so far yours is the best.

I found one of your lessons on youtube, and then visited the site. Thank you...or should I say Xiexie Ni...!!!

Bill - an American in Taipei
Philadelphia, PA USA
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Badal
01 Oct 2014, 12:11
Very Impressive and you make easy Chinese language that I have thought, it is very difficult, but now I am ready to learning and speak it soon. thanks for your great work for the entire world..!!
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Ruby Khanhchi
08 Oct 2014, 01:22
I love this website , but it is so short
How should I learn more chines in this website
I will arrival China at the end of this month , So it is useful for me if I can learn more about it
Please support me
Thanks and best regards
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Claire YVELIN
22 Oct 2014, 09:34
N? H?o !
I am french, and will spend two months in China in spring 2015. Having found no good French website teaching Mandarin Chinese I finally found yours! I started beginning june 2014 and think I can get myself understood! your lessons are fantastic! But I also learn characters on other American websites, I find I understand more about the culture and meaning of words, it is so logical! Xiexie !!
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Alexis
26 Jun 2015, 11:52
I love this website! But now don't get me wrong, there is a bit of a down side for me... I really want to speak fluent Chinese. I know this will take a long time, but I would really like some references by someone (or even the GraspChinese team) to a source which I could use to learn fluent Chinese. PLease add more lessons, or just give me another great source like this one which would help me learn fluent Chinese, and not just some words/phrases.

Thank You With Concern and Gratitude
Alexis
Please Contact Help to my Email GraspChinese.com team, and if it doesnt arrive, I will post my email on this page so other users may help.

Users, if you want to help me, write a comment saying so and I will comment back right away.
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Jon
20 Dec 2015, 03:29
I am so pleased I found this web site. I am not a quick learner but when I grasp something I tend to understand the subject better than most. I am working through the 10 exercises repeatedly and when fully grasped will enroll and keep going. It would be amazing if you did a podcast that could be downloaded so I could listen on the train and when travelling? Brilliant anyway I will recommend you!
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Tomasz
17 Feb 2016, 03:21
I'm from Poland and I just started your course just to be able to say one day "hey, I can speak Chinese a little bit :) "
Thank you! This website is he3n ha3o ;)
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