Why I Don't Find Chinese Grammar Explanations Helpful

I’ve written a blog covering my experience of acquiring Mandarin grammar without using grammar books. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts/ experiences with Mandarin and other languages: Why I Don’t Study Formal Chinese Grammar – I'm Learning Mandarin

My experience with learning Mandarin has been exactly the same, good read.

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Language hobbyists intuitively discover what’s working for them and what isn’t. What “schools of thought” have to say about someone’s personal situation and what someone needs to be doing is irrelevant. It’s not time well-spent to debate the merits of one’s methods if they’re working. Regarding grammar explanations, I had an epiphany years ago that sounds like “duh” or hyperbole but if you stop and think about it, you’ll see what I mean. For many English-speaking people, a book explaining Chinese grammar might seem indispensable to learning Chinese. That same book would be useless to a Russian person who doesn’t know any English. Just as a book written in Russian to help me with Chinese does me no good. What does a Russian-speaking native, an English-speaking native, and a child who lives in China all have in common? They have access to written and spoken Chinese sentences. A child born in China and myself from the USA will do quite well NEVER reading the Russian book of Chinese grammar. In other words, that book is superfluous. It is not needed for Chinese just as the English explanation is not needed for someone who doesn’t speak English. English isn’t Chinese. Chinese example sentences are Chinese. Now, I’m not being ridiculous here or advocating naive immersion without using all tools available or denying the leveraging power of translations and hints in the native language, sure, but they aren’t the language; they are good crutches to learning the language. But after a while, the Chinese (or insert your target language) needs to stand on its own. I don’t know how translators do what they do. It drives me nuts to have someone next to me wanting a play-by-play translation of what I’m trying to enjoy in the target language (a movie for example). Here’s a suggestion for everyone: when your Chinese is strong enough to read a grammar book written in Chinese explaining the principles of Chinese grammar, I’d say go for it! But my guess is that book won’t need to be opened.


Language hobbyists intuitively discover what’s working for them and what isn’t.
If that were the case, then many language learners wouldn’t be using inefficient learning strategies (cramming, grammar-heavy approaches, etc.) or blindly spending hundreds of hours on inefficient apps à la Duolingo.
'“Intuition” means nothing if someone doesn’t know what he / she is talking about :slight_smile:

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When I started learning Mandarin, I simply didn’t know how to do this right. I asked for advice from people who are also learning Mandarin, but all I had were replies of different views on learning the language. I also had problems with grammar. Then I finally decided that I would learn the language on my own which felt like it took forever back then, and then I started looking for a teacher to make sure I was right in my basic understanding in which I found these Chinese adult courses https://www.chineseonlinecourses.com/adults and finally relaxed and felt comfortable learning Chinese. All lessons are as useful and informative as possible. Sometimes it’s really better to trust the professionals to make your life easier.

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