What is the best way to self-study Mandarin?

The Chinese language is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Most people start learning Mandarin for practical reasons (work, study abroad) or because they are interested in Chinese culture and tradition. But learning this Asian language is a long journey.

In this article, we will share a few tips to help students study Mandarin Chinese independently.

Just Start Simple

It sounds simple, but this is undoubtedly the most crucial step in learning a new language. Chinese is not easy to learn. Deciding to study this foreign language on your own requires initiative and a lot of self-drive. But learning on your own is possible, as far as you have persistence and a clear learning method. The internet is full of testimonials of people who learned basic Mandarin only using free mobile apps or language courses. This proves that it is indeed possible to teach yourself a language if you’re persistent and willing to learn.

Learn How to Read and Write

This ought to be your first step when learning any language, but you may read a lot of articles claiming that, in the beginning, you do not need to know to read Mandarin. Indeed, it’s possible to teach yourself basic Mandarin only by using pinyin (the official Romanization system for Mandarin Chinese), but you won’t be able to develop your language skills further. There is a step-by-step learning process you need to follow when self-studying any foreign language, and learning how to read and write Chinese characters is a crucial part when studying Mandarin Chinese. Once you know how to read and write 50 or 60 Chinese characters, you will be able to expand your vocabulary and learn new words and phrases quickly.

Listen to Podcasts

Listening to a podcast is a great way to improve your Chinese vocabulary. When you listen to Chinese, you’ll naturally pick up some words, and you’ll get familiar with the four tones in Mandarin.

Watch Chinese TV and Movies

The options in this category are endless. There are many Chinese movies and TV shows that are available on YouTube and different streaming apps. Most Chinese movies that are accessible to international audiences have English subtitles. As entertaining as they may be, keep your end goal in mind and understand what is said. Read the subtitles and take notes of the new words and phrases that you hear. This way, you will learn something new, and you’ll solidify what you already know.

Get a Language Partner

An efficient way to learn Mandarin Chinese is by finding a Chinese friend or a language exchange partner to communicate with. There are plenty of apps and websites where you can meet language exchange enthusiasts from across the globe. Talking to a native Mandarin speaker is an excellent method to self-study Chinese. You can practice vocabulary, ask questions, and have real-life conversations in Mandarin. The best part is that not only you’ll improve your Chinese, but you may also make a good friend. You can also ask your study partner to recommend some of their favorite Chinese movies to you.

And if you still need help with studying Mandarin on your own, you can give italki a try. Our language platform makes learning any foreign language easy by gathering the best online language teachers worldwide. For $10 per session, you can get a qualified Chinese tutor to guide you through your self-study language journey and to provide additional help in reading, writing, or speaking Chinese. With italki, you can learn online, at your pace, and you’ll eventually master the Chinese language in a short time.