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The first time I studied Mandarin was shortly after studying the Korean language. I originally wanted to learn Japanese, but the Chinese language seemed to offer a greater advantage at this point. Mandarin seems like an impossible task at first, but over time you will grow fond of Chinese and with more background knowledge of the history and culture of China you will appreciate and love Mandarin even more.

If you are looking for a new challenge and want to learn a foreign language, then I would suggest Mandarin. True are Chinese characters not an easy task, but the feeling of success is even greater later.

To make learning Mandarin as easy as possible for you, I have put together all the resources that can be found at the moment. This includes books, courses, and other materials and websites that will help you learn. Some of the links are so-called affiliate or partner links and if you buy a product or service through these links, I get a small commission from them. But that doesn't mean that the product becomes more expensive for you, because the seller pays me the commission and in many cases you get the learning material cheaper because I was able to strike a great deal for you. The income is used to keep this website alive and to support everyone who wants to learn a new language in their endeavors. Thank you for your help!

The Chinese language

Mandarin is spoken by approximately 1 billion people worldwide. It has been the official language of China for more than 600 years. Mandarin is also used as an official language in Taiwan and Singapore.

An interesting fact about China is that while Mandarin is the country's dominant language, it is not the only language in the country and not every resident of China speaks Mandarin. Government surveys in recent years have found that only 70% of China's residents speak Mandarin, and not all of them are fluent. And yet, Mandarin is the country's main language and is understood in most parts of the vast country.

Why should you learn Mandarin? In addition to the fact that Mandarin has the most native speakers in the world, the language is becoming the language of business worldwide. And the rich history and culture that this language has produced should move you to learn too.

An overview of all resources

How do you choose the right Mandarin learning materials?

Books and other learning materials can quickly become very expensive. So I would like to give you a few suggestions before you go ahead and buy your study materials and waste a lot of time and money in the process.

The ability to understand and master a language is based on four different pillars: reading, writing, speaking and understanding. Depending on what your goal is, all four pillars may not be important to you.

Let's say you want to go to Beijing in five months. What language skills do you really need? Basic communication, listening or understanding and reading. You will most likely not have to write in Chinese. Therefore, in this case, you should focus on speaking and understanding. If that sounds like you, the following audio and textbooks will help you.

On the other hand, your goal may be to read Chinese literature in Mandarin. Then you should spend your time studying texts and spoken Mandarin can be neglected. Again, here are some great learning materials.

It is certainly best to develop all of the language skills at the same time, but you should definitely align your learning process with your goals. This way you will also spend less money on learning materials, which you can then spend better on your trip to China.

A few learning tips for each new language

What is your motivation and why do you want to learn Mandarin? Take a few minutes to write down your goals and your motivation behind them. You will find that this approach will help you achieve your goals.

  • How much time do you want to invest per day? Set realistic times for you. 30 minutes? 1 hour?
  • What exactly is your curriculum? There are several ways to learn a language. Are you more of the visual type or do you love to learn from text books?
  • Get the Chinese characters on the keyboard of your computer or smartphone. This way, conversations on Skype will be a lot easier.
  • Take it seriously Keep a blog or an Instagram account to accompany your learning process and to stay tuned.

Learning the tonality in Mandarin

Tonality is arguably the hardest part of learning Mandarin. If you decide to learn Mandarin, then you should work on the tonality from the beginning. If you neglect this aspect of the Chinese language, you will have difficulty learning it later and no one will understand you. In addition, understanding the tonality can spare you from many unpleasant situations. If you take any of this text with you, please let it be the importance of the tonality!

  • Mandarin Audio Material: The Chinese language course for beginners is perfect for you if you want to learn with audio.
  • Mandarin Books: Unforgettable Chinese is probably the best German-language book for beginners and The Little Dragon is the best approach to learning the Chinese characters.
  • Mandarin online materials. The best choice for your China vacation if you just want to learn a few basic things: Chinese for travelers
  • iTalki. Here you will find online teachers who will help you learn Mandarin.
  • Memrise. The best vocabulary trainer you can find. The app is free.
  • Watch Chinese movies and series.
  • Learn Chinese blogs
  • Chinese music
  • Youtube. Is there anything you can't find on Youtube?

Chinese culture

Acquiring knowledge of the culture whose language you want to learn is very important. The more you love the culture, the more you will love and learn the language too. In addition, the knowledge of a new culture will also help you personally. Especially when this culture is so different from your own.

Here are some very good books on the history and culture of China. By the way, movies and TV series are also a great way to learn more about the culture and history of China.

Learning Mandarin is a lot easier than you think

Language is there to communicate with other people. And some languages ​​are classified as extremely difficult. You too have probably heard that learning Mandarin is far too complicated and that you should keep your hands off it. However, Mandarin offers you so many advantages, not only on the job market, that you should definitely consider it. I will give you five tips that will help you with Mandarin and you will see that it is not that difficult to learn Chinese.

1. Sounds are not the problem. But you.

Mandarin has four different tones while Cantonese has six. Vietnamese has six tones in northern Vietnam and five in the rest of the country. Some African languages ​​have 30 click consonants. There are many tonal languages ​​in the world.

Therefore, tones are not a real problem. Have a little more confidence.

Even if you missed the whole stress when asked about the way to the bathroom, the other person will be able to find out that you need to go to the bathroom as soon as possible before you piss your pants.

2. The 4 tones in Mandarin are:

1: Level Tone (ping) -> -

2: Rising Tone (shang) -> /

3: Departing Tone (qu) -> V

4: Entering / Stop-Final Tone (ru) ->

So if I want to write the following sentence: Hello, my name is Sebastian. You are really beautiful. In Mandarin this sentence would look like this: ‘Ni3 hao3, wo3 jiao4 Sebastianling. Ni3 hen3 piao4 liang4. ’

What this means for you is that sounds are very important if you want to learn Mandarin. A word can have a completely different meaning in Chinese if you change the tone.

Tonality is important, but don't let that put you off and try to use humor if you say something wrong.

3. Know your favorite learning medium and focus on it.

The best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in the language and culture locally. Mandarin is mainly spoken in China and Taiwan. But the owners of localities in your local Chinese district also speak Mandarin and Cantonese.

What is your favorite learning medium?

Are you the learner who can learn from text books? Have you had any success taking courses at community colleges in the past? Or are you the type of guy who just wants to land in China and immediately immerse himself in the culture and chat to everyone in Chinese? If the latter applies to you, then a stay abroad in China or Taiwan is certainly the best way for you to learn Mandarin.

You know exactly how to best learn a new foreign language. And if you don't know, then it's time to try out the different learning methods. Find out what works for you. It's never too late to learn a new language. Never!

4. Practice, practice, practice!

As with all things in life, learning a foreign language takes time and regular practice to be successful.

Speaking Mandarin doesn't have to be an ordeal. You can practice by:

  • Spending time with Chinese friends and speaking Mandarin with them. Even a five minute conversation with simple words is better than nothing. A good friend who likes to talk to you in Chinese is all you need. Buy lunch for your boyfriend or girlfriend and speak Chinese with each other. After a while, you will find that you speak Mandarin a lot better than you thought.
  • Visiting a Chinese restaurant. Preferably a restaurant where all menus are in Chinese. Most of the owners will be Chinese. Go there and try your luck.
  • You watch Chinese movies and TV shows. It's one of the best ways to expose yourself to the Chinese language. You have to hear the language, the right tonality, context and interpersonal relationships to really understand more of the language. Just reading Chinese won't get you very far. You have to hear it too.
  • Listen to Chinese music. Enjoy Chinese music if you want to experience the beauty of the language. You can learn a lot of Mandarin by listening to current music hits. You should also try karaoke and sing some Chinese songs. And a visit to a karaoke bar is not only good for learning Mandarin, it is also a lot of fun.
  • Try to get a job in China. This is a great way to learn Mandarin and make money at the same time. In this way you can really immerse yourself in the language and culture of China and learn Mandarin like no other.
  • Go on vacation in China or Taiwan. A wonderful opportunity to gain unique experiences and to learn Mandarin. Backpacking through China or Taiwan will take your Mandarin to a new level. You will be forced to speak Mandarin there, because the local residents will, in most cases, not even speak English. And then you will quickly notice that you are developing a better Mandarin step by step.

This is a process, not a goal! Your goal is not to speak Mandarin perfectly. Your goal should be to experience China and its people and to experience their language, food, culture and beauty up close.

5. Never stop learning Mandarin

The moment you stop learning Mandarin is the moment your language acquisition dies. Many people see learning only as part of schooling. However, this is a bit too short-sighted. Learning is a daily process, a daily experience, and should run through your entire life.

Knowledge can change your life and your world! Learning Mandarin is no exception. Of course you can always be better. But is that what you want? The perfect pronunciation or the correct accent? Or isn't it actually about becoming one with the foreign language, feeling comfortable with it and enjoying conversations with a native speaker?

Learning makes perfect. Make mistakes and don't let them hold you back. Once you believe that you cannot master Mandarin because it is too difficult or because you think your pronunciation is catastrophic, you will definitely fail.

I wish you success!

Let me know in the comments what is the most difficult thing about Mandarin for you. Of course, you are also welcome to share a few tips that can help us all learn.