Many times, whether for personal enrichment or for professional growth, we make a decision to learn a language. Perhaps you are going to China for vacation, or you need to close an important business deal there, knowing the language and conversing in it becomes important, and sometimes, time sensitive. There are tricks and tips that you can use if you are in a hurry to learn Chinese and want to learn it fast. Anything worth learning is worth the time you need to put into it, but still, there are ways to cut that time down significantly if you are pragmatic and have the drive to get it done. Now, you have to be realistic, you’re not going to learn any language in a week or two, but you can impact how fast you learn by following a few tips to learn Chinese fast. The tips you will read about center around three major concepts: goal setting, having a plan and implementing that plan. If you deliver on these three, your chances of success will rise.
To start with, your goal has to be clear and specific, not just a general concept. It’s not enough to say “I must speak Chinese soon”, rather, you need to have a much clearer goal to focus on. Understanding why you want to learn is the key question to ask when preparing to set your goals. Your goals will then support the primary reason you want to learn in the first place. When determining why you want to learn, hone down your answer to a fine point so there is no doubt what your core motivation is and make sure it is something that will push you forward.
There are two sets of goals you need to set; short term and long term. Usually you will first set your long term goals and then work your short term goals into individual milestones to achieve those goals. Think of what you truly want to accomplish at the end of your learning journey. How much time, effort and attention can you truly give to your goal? Then set the long term goAl based on honestly answering those questions. So for instance, your long term goal might be to have an advanced level of comprehension and fluency in three years. Once you identify that, then you can set short term goals to achieve your long range ones such as “In three months I will be able to understand Chinese songs on the radio.”
When making goals, make sure that they are SMART goals. This is an acronym commonly used in project management and goal setting that means they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time centered. If you set good goals using these characteristics, you will have a solid goal setting plan.
As part of your goal setting, you will want to determine if you want to learn Cantonese or Mandarin Chinese. There are pros and cons to learning either of these two dialects. Mandarin is the primary language in China and other Asian countries while Cantonese is commonly spoken in those Chinese communities that are located around America. Additionally, And perhaps importantly from a learning perspective, Mandarin is usually easier to learn for most students.
After you have your goals, you will want to set your plan to suppport those goals. The plan should contain bite sized goals that you set for daily lessons. Whether it’s a certain number of words a day you commit to learning or characters you will commit to writing, make it as specific as you can. You will find that if you spell out daily tasks in a plan you are more likely to stick to that plan then if you had more general, less binding plans. Having a plan that dictates what you learn each day is a great way to remain focused.
Setting your daily schedule should be geared around your unique lifestyle as well as the style of learning that works best for you. Perhaps you need to see things to learn them, then make your plan around maximizing that form of study. Or if you learn through jotting things down, then work your plan around that. In the end it needs to work for you, no one else.
Due to the complexity of Chinese, and as mentioned earlier, you should try to have a daily plan of study, any longer (for instance saying you will work on it every other day) and it might be difficult to pick up on the nuances of the language. Remember, learning isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and the best way to absorb new concepts is in small, bite sized pieces. For your daily plan, schedule shorter times to study, not longer. Repetition will also help so build that into how you study as well.
In order to ensure you stick to your daily plan you should consider writing down the daily schedule a week at a time. You can do this any way that works for you, either using good old fashioned paper or on your phone or PC. For the tasks you write down, be extremely specific so that it is clear and measurable so you can gauge your success.
When reviewing all these tips to learn Chinese fast, remember that one of the most important concepts is that you need to start with shorter study time durations and increase the time you can spend as you get more comfortable with the language. If you are trying to increase your immersion time, you can add a bit more study before you go to bed.
As you study, you might find Chinese characters present a challenge to read. This is normal and just takes a little dedication to them. A good first step is to begin with the pinyin. In simplified terms, pinyin is as close to an alphabet as you will get in Chinese. In reality, pinyin is how words are pronounced and is a great foundation and gateway into the culture and language.
Lastly, when proceeding with learning, you might want to investigate other means of learning that you can possibly find on line. In many cases, such as FluentU, you will learn through the use of videos, movies, flash cards and other multi-media sources that will only enhance your learning experience. Using all these combinations and variations of studying, you will greatly increase your learning experience.