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Mandarin Chinese

After the Ch’ing dynasty fell in the early 17th century, it was necessary to come to agreement of a national language for China for proper dialects and pronunciations. It was until around 1913 however, until the Ministry of Education actually established the national language. The requirements were for the language to go beyond local dialects and include prominent properties used universally in the Asian world. Mandarin Chinese dominated and successfully became the superior and dominant Chinese usage. Starting in 1956, it is now the mandated language taught in Asia countries. Throughout the country it is still referred to as “guanya” or “national speech”, but in the west we call it Mandarin.

What makes mandarin Chinese different to learn than English, is it’s tones assigned to words which vary in high to low levels, and pitches. It is also a monosyllabic language with little or no modulation. Unlike the English alphabet, The Chinese language contains over 3000 frequently used characters and over 6500 listed in the Chinese dictionary. The characters denote deep meaning then just surface print. An addition or subtraction of a brushstroke changes the meaning of the character.

As do tones used in pronunciation of Chinese words. The writing of the Chinese language is done vertically and is read the same way. There is controversy over the traditional way of writing Chinese, as opposed to newer forms which make words hard to recognize. The generalized new way of writing Chinese also gives different meanings to words. As time progresses, you will see more of the traditional script being used and taught. Written Chinese is in Mandarin is also known as Hanyu. Methods of learning mandarin Chinese would incorporate using what is referred to as Hanyu Pinyin, a Romanization system used for teaching Chinese. Pinyin means “phonetic notation” and uses roman numbers to correspond to sounds in mandarin Chinese. When you want to begin the study of the Chinese language, decide what method of learning this complex language will suit your needs best. There are quick learn programs available, as well as free lessons online.

You can study within the walls of a traditional classroom, or sign up for a class online. If you wish to study the Chinese language independently, consider using a download onto your mp3 player for enhanced learning and practice. To make practice entertaining, learn the mandarin form of Chinese thru interactive animations and games. Flash cards are a great method of memorization, especially for commonly used phrases and characters. If you run across difficulties, consider a tutor either personally or connect with one online to prevent any frustration or to keep from giving up entirely. The point is to keep trying. Keep looking for unique ways to incorporate the language into your daily activities. Possibilities exist even in the smallest of means, for example stickers with words or phrases on it in the Chinese language placed around your house. Be creative. Learning about the culture and the Chinese language offers a whole new way of looking at life and with enough effort and practice, this complex language can be mastered.

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