How to Learn Chinese and Not Get Discouraged: Where to Start and How to Continue

by Monica Wells

Becoming fluent in Chinese might seem a hard nut to crack - a lot of people tend to get discouraged by the perceived difficulty of the language. But that's what it ultimately is - a language, which is nothing more than a means of communication and simply cannot be really difficult - otherwise it wouldn't serve its purpose. The key to developing the right attitude to learn Chinese is to see it as a different kind of language, not a complicated one.

Chinese - How Hard Is It Really?

When Westerners talk about Chinese, they usually mean Standard Chinese, also known as Mandarin. Chinese is actually a group of related dialects or languages, most of them completely unintelligible to each other. Mandarin is a spoken across most of northern and southwestern Asia - it has almost a billion of native speakers, which is more than any other language in the world!

Many non-Chinese speakers of Mandarin actually point to the logic and simplicity of the language. Consider this: there are no conjugations, no cases, no tenses, no plurals and not even genders. Don't expect long words like 'Bezirksschornsteinfegermeister' (chimney sweep) either.

The only potential difficulty is the tones - Mandarin is a tonal language, which means that words might be pronounced in the same way, but the tone can completely change their meanings. There are four tones in Mandarin and all of them can easily be learned by listening to audio recordings or actual native speakers.

This should suffice to convince you that Mandarin is not such a difficult language and, with a little effort and persistence, anyone could become a fluent speaker.

Learning Chinese - Beginners

Learning Chinese - Intermediate Level

Learning Chinese - Advanced Level

The article was contributed by Monica Wells from


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