Do you think chinese is a hard stuff to learn?

Once a friend of Lingq asked me how to learn chinese well. You know, I was stumped by his question. Though chiense is my frist language, but I really don’t know where to start. Sometimes we just pick up our language in an unexpected situation. Now english is my working language, but I still find my english is not so good, for me ,english is much more difficult than chinese,cause I always forget the words I recite. Everybody, do you think chinese is a hard stuff for learning? why you think so? which part is more difficult?

Well for me, Chinese is much more difficult than English because I always forget Chinese words! The reason we find each others’ language so difficult is because it more far removed from your own and you have so much to learn from the ground up. The things that make Chinese particularly difficult for me, as an English speaker - and perhaps I should really replace “difficult” with “time consuming” - are the characters and the tones. The characters aren’t inherently difficult, they just take a long time to acquire and remember. It’s simply a memory game. As for the tones, well, some people find them easier than others, but they tend to be difficult in the beginning for Anglophones who have never learned a tonal language before, since they present an entirely new concept for expressing meaning.

In all honesty though, I don’t find Chinese a terribly difficult language. The grammar is much, much easier to come to terms with than many European languages like Hungarian or Icelandic or Russian and I think this relative ease is masked by the sheer uniqueness and complexity of its writing system. Additionally, the range of sounds in Mandarin isn’t great, so pronunciation-wise, it doesn’t pose too much of a challenge. The only other point of difficulty, when the tones and characters are taken into consideration is simply the fact that vocabulary must be learned from scratch.

I am still a beginner in Chinese, but I’d have to say that I agree with Chris, it doesn’t seem that difficult to me. I confess that I like Hanzi and I like the fact that the word order is similar to English.

“…is because it more far removed from your own…”

Sorry, that was a balls-up, I should have written “…is because each is far more removed from our own…”.

Chinese is not a hard stuff, it is not even a stuff, it is a language.

Two obstacles, the characters and the tones. Everything else is easy.

The solution to the first obstacle is to attack them right away with a fury. Do them every day, 20-30 a day (knowing that you will forget them almost as fast as you learn them).

The solution to the second is lots of listening, and not to worry about it. Do not try to get them right from the start. It is impossible to get them right while speaking until you have heard a lot of Chinese.

After that, the grammar and vocabulary building are easy.


We would love to have more Chinese content in our library. Anything you can do to help us there?

Mr.steve, of course, It is my pleasure, though my english is not so good, but I am pleased to offer my helps there.

As a Japanese, I still have cerain difficulties in Chinese, for exampe, zh, ch, sh, e, q, j sound and the changes of tones,
When reading aloud a very easy text (without pinyin), I made many mistakes, my teacher pointed all the mistakes…Yes, the tones are very difficult even for japaneses.


Can you create some Chinese content for our Chinese library?


For speakers of non-tonal languages, like Japanese and European languages, tones are a problem. You are going to continue to get them wrong a lot of the time and for a long time. I would not worry about it. You will gradually get used to them. Don’t get too fixated on getting the tones right at this stage. At least that is my advice. Your teacher correcting you will not prevent you from getting them wrong again and again. Gradually the percentage of correct tones will increase, naturally.

I am absolute beginner in Chinese; I haven’t even started to understand characters.
I’m just listening to the small dialogs and read it in pinyin. The biggest problems what I see now are the same – the tons and characters. Steve’s post has encouraged me; his tips to overcome the obstacles are great and practical. Thanks Steve.

I would recommend “Remembering the Hanzi” volume one. You can knock out 1500 characters in 3 months if you use it correctly. I did this and now I just add as I go. Although I am an anki user, which I’m not sure everyone here is. I also feel that tones can be aquired through listening and aren’t too much of a worry. Whenever I ask Chinese speakers to give me the tone of something they always have to think about it. I sometimes think its like grammar in that respect, in the way that people just speak and don’t think about what tone it is, its just from exposure that results in them saying it the way they do.