I’ve heard many people saying the same thing: Chinese is so hard.
But first, let’s define what is “hard.”
We would say “this math question is hard”, “running a marathon is hard”, or “losing 20kg is hard.”
I mean, intellectually if we can’t solve a problem, I agree that “it is hard”, because it is beyond our control.
But is losing some weight really “hard”, or is Chinese really that “hard”?
Think about it, there are 1.3 billion Chinese people in China, and nearly all of them speak excellent Mandarin Chinese.
Can they all be geniuses? Definitely no!
Same applies to Chinese people learning a foreign language, such as English, most of them dream of speaking English fluently as well, and they think “that is hard.” It all boils down to using the right method to learn a language, and if you have your first language (which means you have the ability to learn a language), you can learn and speak another language fluently.
So what is the right method?
Let me ask you a question: who do you think are the BEST language learners?
Do you think that should be scientists? Physicians? Athletes?
Actually, they are the ones we have all been through.
You may probably ask: that is impossible, we adults know how to form sentences more articulately, we know more words, and we know how to use dictionary to help us learn a foreign language. But when you think about it again, when we were children, we learnt tons of things in our mother language. Those things include pronunciation, grammars, intonations, tones( if your language has that), etc. And the funny part is they learnt them automatically, without any “studying”!
On the other hand if you want to “memorize” those things and use them fluently in daily conversation, I can tell you the chance is almost ZERO.
Here is the reason.
When we speak, most of the processes are unconscious, including how to from the right grammar, the muscle coordination, intonation, etc. It is impossible to undergo all those processes in quick conversation, the more you “think”, the less fluent and confident you will be. So they key is to build up an unconscious fluency… and you need the most efficient and effective way to achieve that. Most people simply quit before they get to that point… and say “that language is hard.”
So what is the best approach to build up your unconscious fluency automatically?
One word: LISTEN.
Yes, it is that simple.
When we were still children, we didn’t analyse a language, we didn’t study any grammar books, we didn’t go to school to “learn a language.” We simply listened to out parents and people around us talking to us, and we picked the language up unconsciously and automatically, without any effort of “memorizing.” The stuff you picked up in these few years can be written on a 300+ page language book, but out brain is so amazing and sophisticated enough to pick up those massive information unconsciously.
Dr. Paul Pimsleur, a scholar and an authority of applied linguist, has discovered that using ears to learn a language is the best approach.
In his audio-based language learning system, he stressed the importance of “organic learning” to help “lock-in” the language automatically into our brain, which is the way we used in our childhood to pick up languages. No analysing, no interpreting, no comprehending, just LISTENING. By obeying this rule, your success of speaking Mandarin Chinese (or any other foreign languages) is almost 100% guaranteed, if you are willing to dedicate to it and put your time and effort on it. You can learn AT LEAST 3 times faster than average Mandarin Chinese learners, plus this method is much less painful.
So from now on, put on your earphone to listen to Chinese materials that you can understand, repeat them over and over again to embed Chinese in your head.
My recommendation is to listen at least 45 minutes of those materials, stick to a few of them, learn the words and phrases deeply. Review your progress after 4 weeks, practice talking about the topics that you listened over and over again to your Chinese friend, or some Chinese learners. Chances are you will feel much more confident of talking about those topics, and the words just come out of your mouth automatically, no thinking or translating!
So from now on, remember the rule of thumb: LISTEN. Use your ears to learn Chinese, and improve your speaking automatically and effortlessly. And stop saying Chinese is “hard”, no language is “hard” in this world, every one can achieve fluency with using the right method and approach.
For more information and details about this “listening” first method, visit http://effortless-chinese.com to know the all the secrets and principles behind this theory.