For a lot of new learners, learning Mandarin Chinese seems like a daunting task. There is a general notion that Mandarin Chinese is very difficult to learn, and learning it is an almost impossible task.
More than a billion people in this world speak Mandarin Chinese – it can’t be impossible to learn, can it?
Our primary focus here is on learning spoken Mandarin Chinese and not the script.
So, if your aim is to learn spoken or conversational Mandarin Chinese, here are the top 10 reasons why learning Mandarin Chinese is not hard:
Mandarin Chinese has no tenses
While in English or other European languages, we struggle to remember all the verb forms and tenses to talk about the past, future, etc., in Mandarin Chinese we can use the same word for all tenses.
There are some particles that are used to indicate the time of the action – but it is much easier than remembering verb forms for so many tenses!
So, while in English we say go, went, gone, going; in Mandarin Chinese, we just use Qù
Nouns do not have gender!
In spoken Mandarin Chinese, there is no gender distinction in personal pronouns:
the pronoun tā (他) can mean ‘he’, ‘she’, or ‘it’
Nouns do not have plurals either!
You don’t have to worry about adding the -s or -es! The plural form of the word remains the same as its singular form in Mandarin! Mandarin usually employs quantity words or measure words to indicate plurality. Lets take an example:
1 Friend = Yīgè péngyǒu (1 = Yī)
3 friends = Sān gè péngyǒu ( 3 = Sān)
The words ‘friend’ and ‘friends’ both translate as péngyǒu. ‘gè’ is a measure word.
Mandarin Chinese has no articles
No need to worry about the ‘a’, ‘an’, or ‘the’. There are some measure words which are quite easy to learn
Things like days of the week, names of months are extremely intuitive.
These names use numbers extremely effectively. For example:
Month = Yuè
January = Yī yuè (1 Month)
February = Èr yuè (2 Month)
March = Sān yuè (3 Month)
Week = Xīngqí
Monday = Xīngqí yī (week 1)
Tuesday = Xīngqí‘èr (week 2)
Wednesday = Xīngqí sān (week 3)
Simple, isn’t it?
Vocabulary is also quite intuitive
Nationalities are simply country name + people (rén)
America = Měiguó,
American(s) = Měiguó rén (America people)
China = Zhōngguó,
Chinese = Zhōngguó rén (China people)
Electricity = Diàn
Computer = Diànnǎo (Electronic brain)
Telephone = Diànhuà (Electronic speech)
Verbs don’t conjugate in Chinese
I eat = Wǒ chī
He eats = Tā chī
Possessives are simple!
Just add ‘de’ and you are done!
My = Wǒ de, Your = Nǐ de, His = Tā de
The sentence structure stays standard for most cases – SVO (Subject-Verb-Object)
A more detailed post on Mandarin Chinese characters is coming up soon!
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