3 Things You NEED to Be an Expert Chinese Speaker

 

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Long-gone are the days of endless tonal reviews and jokes about interchanging the words for “horse” and “mom.” You laugh at the sight of pinyin (哈哈哈). Ordering your food and drink has progressed passed the “个Zhege” and “那个Nage” strategies of yester-year. You’re now an upper-intermediate or advanced student, and you are looking to continue inching your way up the ladder to full fluency in Mandarin Chinese.
 
Three important things are needed for anyone to master this beautifully complex language. And no, we’re not just talking about excelling at 口 or business vocab. We’re talking full-fledged fluency. For those seriously interested in becoming a Chinese language expert, you’ll need the following:

 
1. Motivation
 
Identifying early on a very specific motivation for obtaining a mastery level is important. Do you want to earn a promotion at work? Do you love the Chinese language and culture and want to soak it up as best as possible? Are you considering moving to China permanently? Is your spouse or child from China, driving you to want to deeply understand your loved one’s native tongue?
 
“Motivation and commitment leap frog each other throughout the process of working towards a mission or goal. Motivation is what starts you off on your path and commitment is what sees you through to the end.”
 
Motivation is the secret sauce to becoming an expert in Chinese. Without it, you will likely become “burnt out” and throw in the towel. Sustain your motivation to see you through to your end goal.
 
 
2. Commitment
 
Many will argue that commitment and motivation are more or less the same thing, but I think it is worth acknowledging and honoring the subtle differences that make both of these elements so important (especially for those undertaking a task so heavy as mastering a second language).
 
Whenever you reach an especially challenging rough patch, your commitment to learning Chinese will carry you through. Whether you’re still struggling with 的,地, 得 or can’t master to save your life, your commitment to meet your end goal is what helps you power through. Your determination and dedication will help you bypass all the setbacks (you know, the ones that would discourage folks who are less serious about mastering Mandarin than you to just up and quit).
 
Just remember, 加油!
 
 3. Time
 
One of the most important factors for increasing your Chinese language proficiency is time itself. Students who are only willing to study the language for a few hours a week are on a slow, windy path to complete fluency. And that’s the low end of the scale. If you only commit to learning Mandarin for 1 year (an intensive program… in Beijing… or a smaller Chinese city without foreigners...), you will find that even then the time you have invested is not enough.
 
Sorry kiddos, but your 4 credit hour class each semester just ain’t cuttin it.
 
As Lucas Kern, foreign language learning expert puts it,
 
“If you want to speak a language fluently, there is no time to think about grammar rules before you speak. Being able to feel the correct grammar is the key to fluency. If you are an advanced student you can also improve the feeling for the correct grammar by listening to easy and clearly spoken podcasts, watching movies with subtitles, buying your favorite novel and also buying the unabridged audio book version (read the book and listen to the audio version at the same time).”
 
 There is no quick solution or magic potion to language learning. The key is consistency. Look at your Chinese language study as a lifelong journey, and take steps now to integrate Mandarin study into your everyday life or daily routine. Read Chinese newspapers, hire a tutor, study independently, watch Chinese films - these small changes can help you reap big rewards.
 The combination of motivation, commitment, and time will work in your favor. Before you know it, you’ll be rocking presentations in Mandarin, reading books in Chinese, and gliding through subtitles as easy as 一二三.
 
If you think you have what it takes to become an expert in Mandarin, why not check out our course options here.

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 In-Depth-China      CSA-blog

 


 

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