When you are learning a new language, it is possible to get stuck in the same phrases and conversational topics. What if you are looking to take your basic Chinese learning to the next level? How do you go about achieving that?
While there are many ways you can take to achieve a higher level, such as learning through Mandarin lessons in Singapore, it is also important to be able to utilise the language that you have learnt in real life applications. To achieve a higher level quickly, you will need to start speaking like how a native Chinese speaker would. The only way you can accomplish this is through practice. Not necessarily practising the same ‘hello’, ‘how are you?’, and ‘have you eaten’ sentences, but rather trying out different conversational topics and phrases.
While it might seem difficult to take your basic Chinese learning to the next level, here are a few tips that can help you on your journey!
1. ENGAGE YOUR FRIENDS USING CHINESE
In English, there are many ways we can show our surprise when we see someone for the first time in a while. Phrases like, ‘long time, no see’ is an example. In the same way, you can use this phrase when speaking to your Chinese friends.
“Hǎojiǔ bùjiàn”, which is similar to ‘long time, no see’ can help you to add a much more native-sounding approach to your conversation. In addition, instead of asking your friend, ‘how are you’, you can replace it with: “Nǐ zuìjìn zěnme yàng?” In English, this translates to ‘How have you been recently?’
This can take your Chinese to a higher level, and give you the freedom to talk more fluently and informally with others.
2. ENGAGE YOUR CAB DRIVER USING CHINESE
If you are in a Chinese-speaking country, cab rides and private hire rides are a great place to strike up some conversations in Chinese. It is crucial to be able to ask for directions and hold up a bit of conversation in Chinese.
Taxi drivers are often very curious, and wouldn’t mind sharing a few inter-cultural stories with you. In the cab, you can begin by talking about the weather during your ride, such as “Jīntiān tiānqì hái bùcuò”, which translates to ‘the weather seems good today’. You can also ask them about where they are from in a polite manner, such as “Qǐngwèn, nǐ shì nǎlǐ rén?” This translates to ‘if I may ask, where are you from?’
These two questions will spark different conversational topics as opposed to usual conversations like giving general directions on turning left or right. If you are struggling to keep up with your driver’s fluency, feel free to ask them to slow down so that you can grasp their words and sentences.
3. PUT IT ALL INTO CONTEXT
When speaking to a native speaker, it can seem impossible to understand and know the meaning of all the words that they are using. Instead of focusing on the wrong aspect, you can concentrate on the words that you do recognise and try to put it into context. This can help you to carry a conversation without having to stop in the middle of your story.
By applying the tips above, you will be able to take your basic Chinese learning to the next level! By combining this with your Chinese course in Singapore, you will be able to learn better and further improve your Chinese.