Ryan Elantri was introduced to Mandarin Chinese when he was in the third grade, and he has been developing his skills in the language ever since. Ryan Elantri is now studying the subject at The Pennsylvania State University, majoring in it alongside Economics. The language offers a number of challenges to those who are accustomed to speaking English, so keep these pointers in mind to help your studies.
Traditional or Simplified?
Mandarin writing is split into traditional and simplified characters, so you must understand your own goals for learning the language before deciding which to focus on. The simplified system was introduced into China in the 1950s and 1960s, and is now the predominant form of the language in the country. However, traditional Mandarin writing is still used extensively in places like Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Invest Time Into The Basics
Investing your time into learning the basics of any language is important, but Mandarin will be completely alien to those who have spoken English their entire lives, which means there is rarely correlation between the two. This makes learning the basics even more crucial, because you will essentially be re-wiring the way your brain thinks while learning the language.
Practice Your Skills
While the best way to practice your developing Mandarin skills is to speak with native speakers or more advanced learners, there are a number of things you can do in your own time to move things along. Watch Chinese television shows and check out Chinese webpages to build your vocabulary and practice your reading.
Ryan Elantri is a student at The Pennsylvania State University and worked as an MA Associate for Roche Brothers, Inc. during the summer of 2014.
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