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How to Learn Mandarin by Myself

Chinese children who grew up abroad often meet in Chinese schools.  There is only one class a week when we can study, play and speak Chinese together. However, I didn’t learn much in Chinese school. I never went to Chinese school again, but I taught myself Chinese at home. I am happy to share my trip of how to learn Mandarin with you here.

Students say that learning Chinese means going to a Chinese school and following the teacher. My Pinyin was taught by the teacher in the Chinese school, but later I learned words and historical stories in another way.  I discovered this using my mobile phone, computer and watching TV. You must feel very strange. How can you learn with your mobile phone? The teacher said that the dictionary is our good friend. I said she was wrong, because it was too slow to look up the dictionary, one pinyin and one ingredient slowly.

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Now I take out my mobile phone, and as long as I type in pinyin, the word will appear in a line of similar pronunciation terms, waiting for me to pick it out, as long as I have an impression of this word. It is much faster to operate than a dictionary! Mobile phones can also help me write my composition. There are often some words that can bring out a series of related words. When I recall the meanings of these words, I can use them in my composition.

Later, for a long time, I taught myself at home. My parents also gave me a lot of encouragement and help. It’s also imperative to mention that I signed up for 52ChineseLearning online courses, and a Chinese teacher in China came to practice Chinese with me. But it’s just practice, mainly because I usually study by myself.

Let me talk about my method. I think everyone who studies a foreign language should use his own method. At first, I used some Chinese self-study books and some CDs. I listened and recited  a lot. I studied for five or six hours every day. Those books don’t have many Chinese characters, only Pinyin, and I think it’s too difficult to learn Chinese characters, To overcome this,  I first learned to speak instead of writing Chinese characters.

After I finish studying those books, I can’t read Chinese or write Chinese characters. However, after about five weeks, I can speak a few sentences, so I can speak a little Chinese. For example, “Hello, how are you?” “Are you Chinese?” “What’s your name?” , and so on. At that time, I was thinking that my Chinese was not bad because I made a lot of efforts for it. So I thought, “I can talk to Chinese people without any problem.” This idea sounds silly now, but I used to believe that my Chinese was good. It was not until one day that my parents and I went back to China to meet relatives in China that I found it difficult to talk with them. Besides, more importantly, I couldn’t read.

After that experience, I began to learn Chinese characters and memorize many Chinese sentences. Insist on contacting my exclusive accompanying teacher, and ask her to teach me how to read and use words. I also insisted on daring to speak and use what I  learn. Besides, I am very interested in Chinese historical sites. In order to learn about this, I have read many Chinese related books. This had a great influence on my Chinese level and improved my Chinese reading and literacy.

If you ask me, can Chinese children who grew up overseas learn Chinese by themselves? My answer is definitely “yes”. In fact, there is no skill in learning a language. The key to learning Chinese well is to apply what you have learned and persevere.

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