What you need to know to speak the Chinese language
Hello new Mandarin learner! Welcome to the first lesson in Chinese language learning. Chinese language is often seen as one of the most difficult languages to speak, but to learn Chinese may be less difficult than you think it is.
What? I already know how to speak these Chinese words!?
Can you guess the meaning of these words? If not, click the link to load the picture.
The best sequence to learn and speak Chinese
When you start HSK1, you need to learn Pinyin and tones. When you are doing HSK1 and HSK2 learning, you are enhancing your Pinyin and tones as well. After HSK1 and HSK2, you can start learning Hanzi. And at the same time you can review your HSK1 and HSK2 vocabulary and grammar as well. When you finish HSK 2 and Hanzi, it will be much easier for you to start HSK3 learning. From there you can progress into HSK4 all the way into HSK6, or head into more spoken rather than written courses. GoEast Mandarin offers all these courses.
How to speak Chinese greetings
The most well-known Chinese greeting literally means “You good”. In Chinese characters it’s “你好”, in Pinyin it’s Nǐ hǎo. Both words use the third tone, in which your voice goes down first, and then goes up. In this video, our teacher Maria helps you to correctly speak these Chinese words with audio and video.
Not tired yet? Continue by watching these 11 beginner Chinese language videos.
Learn to speak Chinese from YouTube
YouTube is a perfect place for Mandarin students, not just providing education but also enjoyment. See our advice on the best YouTube channels for learning Mandarin here.
One great way is to mimic the conversations from YouTube videos. When one person asks a question, pause the video and imagine what the other person would say. And then press play to see how the person actually responds. It’s a great way to practice your conversational skills in spoken Chinese.
…learn to speak Chinese from Netflix
Contrary what many people think, there is actually loads of Chinese-spoken language on Netflix. See our Chinese Netflix series recommendations here.
Find out why you want to speak Chinese
Are you looking for a job or want to speak to the world? Common reasons are friends or family, living in China, or (trying to get) a job in China. Here are the top reasons to learn Chinese.
Learn from fellow Mandarin students who are also learning Chinese
I’m actually a big fan of using the 抖音Dǒuyīn APP to practice my Chinese! I would recommend the channel by 美莹老师. The best. I love her. So now I have three teachers, Winona, Stella and 美莹老师.
Simply talk to locals, daily! You’ll get much more exposure to different accents and vocabulary outside.
I love watching silly Chinese sitcoms! My favorite is Meteor Garden. Other series in Mandarin are “Accidentally in Love”, “Love 020”, “A love so beautiful” (also called Unrequited love), and “Well-intended love”!
User ‘worthlessdregs’ on Reddit:
Last summer I got a good Anki streak going. I spent about two hours per day working on thirty new characters and reviewing old ones and making my own decks. My reading ability improved noticeably in just a couple of weeks, which was a great motivator. Obviously most people don’t have the time for that, but I think spending even ten minutes a day on spaced repetition flashcards is a great habit to have.
User ‘lormayna’ on Reddit:
During my commute, I listen to Chinese radio or podcasts like “I love Learning Chinese”. And I watch Chinese movies before sleeping.
I just started learning Hanzi, so now I try to use Du Chinese APP to read every evening for at least 10 minutes.
Writing posts on WeChat is a routine practice I like — because I want to make it both interesting and grammatically correct.
Speaking to my Chinese coworkers in Chinese as much as I can! And I also Tantan探探 (China’s Tinder) to practice! It’s a bit unusual but it helps me use and learn characters & grammar structures!
Get familiar with the sounds of Mandarin
Speaking Chinese is difficult because there are the tones, and also new sounds that Western languages don’t have. See our pronunciation tips here on tones and sounds.
Practice & Review
There’s no other way around this: practice, practice, practice. And keep reviewing every now so that you don’t forget. Have a look at this graph that shows language speaking ability ‘decay’ over time if you review once or twice extra.
If you’re a beginner, also see how you can avoid these beginner mistakes. And if you are already at an elementary level of Chinese, we also recommend you see our guide on how to get fluency in Chinese.