Chinese is the most spoken language in the world. There are nearly 1.2 billion native speakers of Chinese, and Mandarin Chinese is the official language not only of China but of Singapore. China sports the second largest economy in the world, making your journey to learn Chinese worth the commitment.
The Chinese writing system may seem overwhelming at first glance. However, Mandarin does have several things in common with English, including a few elements of grammar and sentence structure. Simple sentences are built beginning with a subject followed by a verb, and then an object, much like the structure of sentences in English. For example, “wǒ bù dǒng” means “I don’t understand” in Mandarin where “wǒ” is “I,” “bù” is “don’t,” and “dǒng” is “understand.” As a general rule, many simple Mandarin sentences follow this basic grammatical structure.
There are also about 200 primary characters in the Chinese writing system. If you focus on learning just a few characters, you can get you up to speed quickly and cover many of the more common situations in which you might need to be able to read and write. For instance, learning the characters for birth (生 ) and day (天 ) might help you figure out that 生日快乐 is “happy birthday.”
If you’re still on the fence, or want to just try out some beginner words before you start a class, test out a few of the words below.
- hāluó = hello
- nǐzǎo = good morning
- zàijiàn = goodbye
- Shì = yes
- bàituō = please
- éi = hello (on the telephone)
- xèxie = thank you
- duìbuqǐ = sorry
Beginner Chinese Course
For those beginner learners, Chinese doesn’t have to be overwhelming as long as you have the right approach. By choosing a language program that scales gradually towards understanding and builds confidence in speaking Chinese, beginners have a much greater chance of sticking with the language. Rosetta Stone language learning programs are built to scale naturally from simple, frequently used conversational phrases in context, to more complex components of the Chinese language such as verb conjugation and the characters of the simplified writing system.
Practice makes perfect! Rosetta Stone’s bite-sized lessons make the learning experience more manageable. And because Rosetta Stone has an award-winning mobile app included with your subscription, you’ll be able to practice Chinese anytime, anywhere, at your convenience.
Polishing your pronunciation will be especially important, and will rely on getting immediate and accurate feedback on your Chinese pronunciation attempts. Rosetta Stone’s TruAccent™ speech-recognition engine helps guide you to the correct pronunciation. This patented speech technology instantly compares your voice to native speakers, giving you real-time feedback for the most accurate pronunciation. It’s also adjustable, which allows you to fine-tune your accent. TruAccent is a powerful tool for helping you learn and speak the Chinese language.
Try Our Award-Winning App
Surround yourself with Chinese (Mandarin) whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app .
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation .
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.