Sunday, September 30, 2007

Learning Mandarin /Putonghua For English Speakers

It has been a while since I posted as I thought that no one was reading my blog until a dear friend of mine asked me whether if I have posted anything new recently.

So , that sparks me to write again and to share things or issues that are dear to my heart.

Thus, in continuation about learning Mandarin / Putonghua which I have last posted, I would like to share my experience and the technique which I have used to get to a stage whereby I can read and speak the language.

1. Speak
Mandarin - It is essential that you go back to the basic of pin yin - learning the basic sound from romanized lettering. (i.e, bo, fo, mo po and etc) For Malaysian like me who are English educated, I know that you would think that you know how to speak simple conversational Mandarin - you should still get proper training in this area before you go further. This is the building block of the language. Once you master this like the back of your hand, you can not go wrong.

2. Write Mandarin -
Frankly, this is one skill which you have to give up so that you would not always trapped with knowing limited characters. For adult learners or those who start late, learning how to write is just too fastidious. And if you are learning from beginners, I assure you, you will be bored with those primary, beginner or children level book whereby you can't seem to go beyond "Greetings" or "When to Meet for a Picnic". Once you know the basic Pin Yin and if you ever need to write, you can always use the computer to help you with that.

3. Recognize Mandarin - the most important element.
I have deliberately replace the word READ with RECOGNIZE. Unlike learning English or any other languages there are written in alphabets, you can't read Mandarin. You recognize Mandarin ! First thing to do is to learn the basis of how Mandarin characters are form. Do you know that almost 80% of Mandarin Characters are differentiated by 1 part of the character to represent meaning , while the other part of the character represent sound ?

What i have done was to master the 1st item followed by the 3rd. My wife would be a testimony to how each time when i get to the restaurant, I will start reading the menu and also every time when I am out, I would be reading the shops name and etc.

To bear testimony to those who read my blog, I am willing to share an e-book which I have authored for those who write to me. It details the concept or methodology which i have learned my Mandarin.

P/S Just to give you a boost of confidence, I am now working in Greater China and am giving presentation in Mandarin to my clients.