Wondering how to learn Mandarin? It may be inconvenient to leave your house these days, but fortunately, there are many ways to learn Mandarin in the comfort of your home. With the help of the Internet, many resources are available online for eager Mandarin learners, making the task of picking up a new language even easier than before. Give these few methods a try and see which one works best for you!
Consume Mandarin Media
One of the best ways to learn a language is simply to immerse yourself in it. From entertainment to the daily news, everything is available in Mandarin and accessible on the Internet. It is also worth noting that you do not necessarily have to limit yourself to media originating from China. Don’t forget that many other countries in Asia also have their own Mandarin media! For some variety, you may want to seek out Mandarin content from Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and more. However, it is worth noting that there may be some differences in word usage and context depending on the country. For the most appropriate choice, you may want to consider other factors, such as your travel prospects or the people you wish to communicate most with.
Read Mandarin Content
Whether your material is physical or virtual, reading Mandarin books, news articles and other content can help you to understand the nuances of the language. Granted, news articles may be difficult to understand for someone still learning the language. However, even if you may not understand every sentence at first, you will gradually get used to it the more you read. Browsing Chinese books and news also helps in familiarizing yourself with Chinese culture, which can be a great help if you ever plan on travelling to China in the future.
With the current situation in the Covid-19 pandemic, tuning in to Chinese news can also serve as a useful source of information. China has its own dedicated news, social media and wiki platforms, thanks in part to the “Great Firewall” which blocks much of the media from the Western world. Fortunately, most China websites are accessible by anyone outside China – if they have the ability to read it. If you know only basic Mandarin, finding your way around may seem daunting at first. However, the knowledge and information available exclusively on these platforms is well worth the trouble.
Watch Mandarin Shows
Similar to reading Mandarin books and news stories, watching Mandarin shows can help to immerse yourself in Chinese culture. In addition to understanding the lines, you will also be able to listen to Mandarin being spoken, which can further reinforce your pronunciation and proficiency of the language. Additionally, Mandarin shows are a great way to enjoy some entertainment while getting familiar with the social norms of Chinese culture. If you have difficulty catching all the dialogue, you may be able to turn subtitles on for a visual guide. For an added challenge, try having the subtitles in Mandarin!
Listen to Mandarin Songs
There are plenty of Mandarin songs with lyrics, many of which are not from China but from other Mandarin-speaking countries. The next time you are looking for some music to spice up your day, try searching for a song with Mandarin lyrics! There should be an ample collection available on most online video sites. What sets Chinese – and most Asian – music apart is that they have very different genres from the usual Western music. Many traditional Chinese songs also tend to tell stories, which you can focus on if you listen carefully to the lyrics.
Use a Language Learning App
With no shortage of choices on both the Android and iPhone app stores, you will definitely be able to find a suitable language learning application to test yourself with. If you are not sure where to begin finding an app, simply try searching “learn Mandarin” on your smartphone’s app store. From daily flash cards to on-demand quizlets, learning Mandarin with the help of a mobile application is definitely one productive way to be spending your time at home. There are also language learning apps that have a concise glossary of commonly used Mandarin terms and sentences, which can be useful tools if you need a quick reference.
Communicate with Mandarin Speakers Online
Practice makes perfect! Some people believe that Mandarin is one of the most commonly used languages on the Internet. Native Mandarin speakers number an impressive percentage of the online population, with a large number of them mainly on China social media platforms and chatting apps. Whether you are making an online purchase from a China store or simply wish to network with a native speaker, you will probably find many opportunities to communicate with Mandarin speakers online both in writing and vocally.
Some language learning communities also have forums where you can connect with a variety of other people. While some are also learning Mandarin, others may be fluent in the language and interacting with a wide mix of people allows you to hone your use of the language. Although some may rather practice only with native speakers, communicating with other learners can also have its benefits. Fellow Mandarin learners may have tips and tricks for more efficient studying of the language, and they may also share the techniques they used to learn it themselves. The online Mandarin learning community is possibly one of the greatest assets you can have when it comes to studying Mandarin on your own.
Attend a Virtual Mandarin Class
Although we may not be able to have physical language classes, some language learning centers have moved to the web to conduct their classes online. The biggest advantage of online Mandarin classes is possibly that anyone in the world can attend them – you don’t have to look for Mandarin classes near you. Just like physical lessons, online classes are largely varied depending on who conducts them, so you may have to try a few options before settling down with something you like. Most online Mandarin classes are also commercial and require a payment, but the upside of it is that you will have access to qualified tutors and lesson plans to facilitate easier learning. Additionally, some people may prefer to be taught in a classroom setting as opposed to conducting self-study. Online Mandarin classes will also give participants the opportunity to get to know new people with similar interests, not to mention being a reliable source of information on the Mandarin language, Chinese culture and living in China. If you would like to go for the tried and tested way of learning Mandarin, finding a virtual class to attend may be the way to go.
As we have seen, there are many ways one can learn Mandarin at home, short of making the move to a Mandarin-speaking country. To see which works best for your personal learning style, the best thing to do is to try each method out. Learning a new language may be slightly more challenging in these times, but it can certainly be done. What’s more, it can be a useful way to spend your time at home. Happy learning!