Yang Yang gives a very good introduction to the ways to learn Chinese. Chinese language is quite different from English and among the first things that you should be aware of are the four tones. Listen to what Yang Yang has to say. Go to other lessons of Yangyang.
So you’re ready to learn Chinese?
Before you start your Chinese lesson, it is important that you understand the peculiarities of the Chinese language.
In the first place, the language uses the Chinese characters rather than the alphabet for writing. So learning to read and write imposes a lot more challenges to people who are more used to languages such as English. You have to learn the structure of and sequence of writing the strokes before you can master the word. It takes a lot more time and effort to learn a new word.
For many of you, nevertheless, reading and writing can wait. What you need are convenient phrases that would allow you to communicate. In this case, you’d make use hanyu pinyin – a system of Chinese phonetics – to help you learn new words and phrases.
Even when you can somehow read a word when you are presented with it in the pinyin form, pronunciation can still be tricky. This is because every Chinese word has to be with pronounced in the right tone, or it may become incomprehensible.
When you learn Mandarin, take note that Mandarin has four tones.
You’ll have to master these tones to the extent that they are beyond doubt, if you want to be properly understood.
In other words, get them right before you speak the first Mandarin word. This will put you in the right mode, and save you the trouble of relearning later.
Take a small step at a time – learn Chinese in 5 minutes!