Chinese is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn by native English speakers. Some studies say that you need roughly 2,200 hours of study to become fluent. Not only that, but Chinese has a different writing system that is completely different from English. While the English language has an “alphabet”, the Chinese writing is composed of “pictograms” called Hanzi (??) where every image represents a word.
Nevertheless, it is completely possible to learn Chinese without a teacher as long as you have the right mindset, motivation, and plenty of tools to learn in an efficient, smart way.
Learn the Chinese characters
In the Chinese writing system, each character (hanzi) represents a word, which makes it one of the most extensive in the world. Although, one of the advantages of the Chinese writing is that the symbols that represent the words are sometimes similar to “the real deal”! For example, the character for a horse is a stylized drawing of a horse, and so is the symbol for chicken. As long as you can connect the character to its real counterpart, you will be able to learn fast and easily.
An easy way to learn Chinese hanzi without a teacher is through flashcards: download an app or get a set of flashcards on your smartphone, and you will be able to study whenever you have free time!
Get used to the tones in the language
Chinese is a tonal language, which means the intonation of a word makes a difference in its meaning: “ma”, depending on how it is pronounced, can mean “mother” or “horse”. There are 5 “tonalities” or “colors” to the words, and you will have to get used to them before you start using them. You can’t learn Chinese correctly if you don’t practice and get used to the five tones in Mandarin Chinese. Listening to music or watching TV dramas in Chinese is a good way to get acquainted with tonalities. Of course, speaking with natives will also help you to work on pronunciation and tones.;
Add more learning tools to your arsenal to learn Chinese
You can learn Chinese easily by booking a 1-on-1 online lesson on italki. We will help you to connect with native Chinese teachers and online tutors from all over the world. On our platform, you’ll find hundreds of experienced Mandarin teachers who can help you to learn Chinese effectively. With the help of your italki teacher, you will become fluent faster, and you will get the morale boost you need to keep learning!