3 Full Best Explanations Learning Chinese Characters Improve Brain Intelligence

Learning Chinese Characters a New Language Makes You Smarter

A few years ago, I watched a video on an online platform. It was about the benefits of having a bilingual or multilingual brain. I strongly recommend you to watch this cool TED video The benefits of a bilingual brain – Mia Nacamulli.

The most direct benefit of having bilingual skills is so much more than stronger communication skills and understanding skills, allowing you to travel abroad, watch movies, and chat with foreigners without obstacles. In fact, in addition to the above-mentioned advantages, learning or using a second language actually changes our brain development. 

When learning the mother tongue in childhood, the left and right temporal lobes are used together. This is because the plasticity of the children’s brain is strong; while the adults use the left temporal lobe when learning languages, because most people will have the lateralization of the brain function, refers to the phenomenon that a certain function of the body begins to be taken care of by a specific hemisphere. Generally speaking, the left hemisphere dominates rational logical analysis and mainly dominates language expression and understanding; the right hemisphere is more active in emotional and social aspects and dominates the space Perceptual function. 

Although most adults use the left brain when learning a language, the learning and use of another language is actually a whole-brain exercise. Some scholars have observed the language ability of patients with brain injury and found that the left hemisphere is damaged, which not only destroys the language ability but also damages the abstract ability of logical analysis. The injury in the right hemisphere does not have much impact on vocabulary skills but has significant obstacles in understanding and reasoning. Language and spatial perception are respectively governed by the left and right hemispheres, but high-level brain functions such as abstract reasoning thinking, logical analysis, and other abilities are shared by the two hemispheres.

Studies have shown that using multiple languages ​​can increase the density of gray matter in the brain. Gray matter is where a large number of neurons gather, and its main function is to receive and process brain information. Using multiple languages ​​can activate multiple different brain regions at the same time. This brain exercise can enhance memory and even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies have shown that multilingual speakers can reduce the switching cost during task switching, and therefore can more effectively complete multiple tasks within the time limit.

Stroop task has been used to study the brain concentration of multilingual ability. In this test and another similar test, the Flanker task, multilingual ability people perform better than monolingual ability testers.

Since learning a new foreign language has so many advantages, which language should you choose?

Here I recommend everyone to opt for learning Chinese characters and language. Acquiring Chinese in this day and age promises dramatic results. 

The real question is, why shouldn’t you learn Chinese?

Some people may share different opinions on learning the language for how hard it supposedly is. But the truth is, of all the things you can do with your spare time, learning Mandarin Chinese is one of the absolute best investments you can make. Whether you’re looking for a new academic pursuit, new career skills, or a new perspective on life, there are few activities likely to have the same huge payoff, and most importantly, it improves your brain intelligence greatly.

So don’t just take my word for it—read on and discover why you really should be dropping everything and learning Chinese characters! 

Learning Chinese characters brings you various benefits

Before I talk about how Chinese is different from other languages, I will let you know some general benefits you can get from learning Chinese. 

Communicate with over 1 billion people instantly

As we mentioned, Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. Anywhere you travel or live on Earth, you’re bound to spot a fellow Chinese speaker around you. Learning Chinese will instantly open up communication abilities to over 1.2B people and this number is growing quickly.

Open up new job opportunities everywhere

The ability to communicate to over one billion people has major value in the job marketplace. Of course, this includes companies in China and other Mandarin-speaking countries that you can apply to.

Companies all around the world are striving to tap into the Chinese marketplace, and you’ll immediately differentiate yourself if you can speak Mandarin.

Appreciate Chinese food as you’ve never had before

Love dim sum, wontons, fried rice, all delicious exotic Chinese food? So do we.

When it comes to evaluating the quality of Chinese restaurants, the number one signal is to observe how much English is on the menu. The less it is, the more authentic the food may be. 

With that said, if you truly want to order with confidence at a Chinese restaurant, you’d need to learn the basics of Chinese.

Gain a competitive advantage in the business world

Beyond just gaining a leg up in your career, learning Chinese is just smart for business. Whether you’re a business owner yourself or looking to get into business, the future of business will be in China. Whether you like it or not, China is the first place any great business will look to if they want to go international.

This is your opportunity to jump ahead of the curve! 

Build stronger relationships with your Chinese co-workers and friends

From college friends to co-workers, you’re bound to have a native Chinese speaker in your life. If not, you’re about to have one soon.

While English is widely taught and spoken amongst Chinese speakers, few can actually speak it with confidence. It’s going to be many decades before the majority of Chinese speakers can speak your language, and that’s being conservative. Beyond the relationships you can form in real life, there’s even a greater need in the online space. Unlike other countries, the Chinese government places strict regulations on letting consumers use non-Chinese applications.

Examples include using Youku instead of YouTube, Wechat instead of WhatsApp, and that social networks like Facebook are not available for use.

Enjoy Chinese movies, TV shows, and music authentically

With production companies like Alibaba Pictures, Tencent Pictures, and more coming into the global scene, Chinese entertainment is accelerating at a rapid pace. This is growing faster with the advent of distribution channels like Netflix and Prime Video.

While subtitles exist for Chinese movies and TV shows, translations may not always make sense directly, especially if you love Chinese web novels. If you want to authentically enjoy these entertainment forms at their highest quality, your best bet is to learn the language.

Travel with confidence anywhere (not just China)

Planning to travel to Asia sometime soon? That’s right, learning Chinese is what will help you get around easily. Even if you don’t plan to travel to a country where Mandarin is an official language, people from China are always visiting and migrating there.

You’ll also find that signs, menus, and other communication are provided with Chinese translations everywhere you go in Asia to accommodate the millions of Chinese travelers.

Learning Chinese characters and language is not as hard as you think

But don’t let that intimidate you. Despite the difference in Chinese characters, most people overestimate how difficult it is to learn. Yes, there are challenges to learning Chinese. The biggest is probably because while English uses phonetic writing, Chinese is composed of pictograms and semi-phonetic ideograms.

The good news is, this is the hardest thing about Chinese. There are also things you don’t have to learn, like tenses, cases, genders, or other simple grammar which are required for most other languages.

Given how much time a new language learner normally spends on learning genders, tenses, and other grammar rules, you’ll bypass all of that when you decide to learn Chinese.

There are more Chinese learning resources than ever

Perhaps, more importantly, are the resources available to you. With Chinese being the most spoken language in the world, it also comes with powerful learning options.

‍Pandanese, as an example, connects you with real professional native-speaking Chinese teachers from the comforts of your home. In just a few clicks, you can connect via a live 1-on-1 Mandarin lesson with a teacher who will personalize your learning experience. It’s like having a best friend to help you speak Chinese with confidence.

Then there are free apps like YouTube videos and podcasts that you can immerse yourself in between your lessons. It’s never been easier to learn a new language like Chinese.

Learning Chinese Characters Improves Your Brain Development

Besides the above advantages learning Chinese brings to you. The most important benefit is that Learning Chinese Characters will improve your intelligence and brain development. It can help you become a better and smarter person!

Chinese has a distinctively different effect on the brain

If you speak Chinese, your brain works differently from others. That’s according to a recent study published in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences. The different result is because Chinese speakers use tones to distinguish different words and their meanings. The report is the first to conclude that those who speak Chinese exhibit a very different flow of information during speech comprehension, the tones, sounds, and script of Chinese require the use of both hemispheres of the brain rather than just the left, which has long been seen as the primary neurological region for processing language.

Learning Chinese improves brain intelligence and image thinking

Chinese can make people smarter in the most basic second language and can also improve the brain’s image thinking.

A study from New Zealand found that “native Chinese and English speakers treat numbers with different cortical parts of the brain,” and concluded that different language systems such as Chinese and English shape the way non-language information is processed. In more than six years, this joint research has shown that, unlike Roman phonetic characters, Chinese characters help the brain’s image thinking training.

Improve the ability of the brain to process information

In another experiment, which started in 1996, 200 European and Chinese students of the same educational level were tested. They were asked to recite a series of numbers, letters, and colors. The results show that Chinese students far outperform European students in terms of memory. Chinese students seem to be better at processing information than European students.

Learning to handwrite Chinese characters make you smarter

By aiding in the development of motor skills, learning shapes and letters, and the visual identification of graphics, learning handwriting in Chinese also seems to make you smarter. Unlike English, which is mostly linear and written from left to right, Chinese characters have a complex structure. Writing characters involves strokes in several directions with sequential movements. These movements activate neural activity in the working, thinking, and spatial memory of the brain.

Evidence also indicates that learning Chinese makes you better at math. Researchers from New Zealand observed that children whose native language is Chinese appear to gain a greater understanding of mathematical concepts than their English-speaking counterparts. During the natural acquisition process of Chinese, the student is learning and reinforcing basic mathematical concepts. Character writing involves skills such as counting, grouping, ordering, and identifying similarities and differences, which are essentially math skills.

Chinese may train a host of cognitive abilities not utilized in the study of other languages

New evidence also suggests that learning Chinese may train a host of cognitive abilities not utilized in the study of other languages.

The research on cognition and Chinese language learning is not comprehensive or exhaustive, it does suggest that the cognitive benefits of learning Chinese are significant and merit further study.

Chinese can speed up the reaction of English speakers

A recent scientific study has shown that learning Chinese can speed up the reaction of English speakers. A six-year study conducted by scientists from Germany and China showed that the brains of Chinese people react faster than Europeans. And for those who are learning Mandarin—including Mark Zuckerberg and Prince William—you may notice that your brains are getting just a little bit faster and working harder to crack this new difficult-to-learn language.

Conclusion

As China’s global influence has intensified, schools and companies in the English circle are eager to increase their contacts with China.

Learning Chinese characters can help people across all age groups to gain advantages and can greatly benefit their brain development. Especially, children can benefit from learning Chinese early on during cognitive development that helps with particular skill sets relating to the brain intelligence.

Learning a language is anyway said to be very good for the brain. But Chinese as a language is greater for brain development and the same cannot be said for other languages that are more linear in form.

But most of all, enjoy your language learning, pick one that you’re interested in, and know you’re doing a good thing for yourself!

How to Maintain A Strong Business Connection with China

China is currently one of the strong players in the business world across several industries. Be it manufacturing, technology, or financial service, China is a powerhouse not to be underestimated. Because their strong success and international power do not lie solely on their industry billionaires or economic policy. The Chinese business culture is said to be one of the deciding factors that strongly influence China’s international economic power. 

In a previous article about money in Chinese culture, we discussed why Chinese culture is obsessed with money. Chinese business flourishes all around the world for similar reasons. Chinese businesses tend to focus on profits and the details of why and how they can earn more of it. Above all that, remains one significant cultural practice that you can still find today, 人际关系 (ren ji guan xi).

Age Old Relationships

photo of man reading newspaper
Photo by Hasan Albari on Pexels.com

人际关系 (ren ji guan xi) is the business culture practice where you build and maintain relationships with clients. Getting to know clients is so important that this is the first thing they teach you from the first day you join the company. The relationship in this contact is more than just the formula contact you do during the period of transactions. This stretches to times outside of the transaction period in which companies try to stay on good terms. Good imagery for this would be maintaining the business relationship like that of family. These relationships can last years and years and are often continued by the generations after.

The question remains, how does this cultural practice affect business in China?

crop payroll clerk counting money while sitting at table
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

In one simple sentence, ren ji guan xi helps build the strength of a company and in certain cases competitive advantage. There have been controversies surrounding the practice as many businesses use it to maintain questionable relationships with government officials. Nevertheless, it is still an important  part of the business culture that helps shape the economy of China. Let’s take a look at one industry example to give us an insight into how this cultural practice takes into effect. 

The Apparel Industry

Take for example the apparel industry of china. China is one of the world’s largest manufacturers for fashion. Be it the fast fashion for american brands like H&M or bigger brands like Chanel. However, the industry is also high in competition. With more and more brands looking to move their production to China to cut costs, manufacturers have to fight for the cost they can offer and the quality they can make.

With so much competition, players turn to information sharing for survival. To survive in this industry, information sharing. A manufacturer or factory owner can own many skills and resources, but information sharing is believed to be the best tools they can own. Without information sharing, you will not be able to meet the right person who can become a client that can support your business. Information sharing does not come easy on a high competition market and so this is where guan xi comes into play.

Making your connections, maintaining them and utilising your ressources well with the gathered information, will give  you a strong competitive advantage to survive in the industry especially if you are a new player in the industry. The key to making sure that your new business last in the long run is long-term relationship. Literally knowing the right person can give you new clients, prepare for what’s to come and build your name in the industry until you become a mature player once you’ve been long enough in the game.

The Important Values in Chinese Business

multiethnic colleagues discussing contract on paper
Photo by Alexander Suhorucov on Pexels.com

Chinese value their relationship with business partners because it is a practice that’s embedded with the Confucian teachings which shaped China’s past and present.

In China, the value of family and collective community is quite strong in both society and business. The three key pillars of Chinese society include family, community, and status. 

Family and community are very important values as you can find them in several Chinese sayings, one of the most renowned being Ka Ki Lang (meaning: our own kind). This phrase is popularized in the film Crazy Rich Asian, a movie based on a book with the same name written by Kevin Kwan. Chinese businesspeople tend to do business with someone they know or are referred to by a trustworthy friend. The more familiar you are with the business owner, the more you are able to gain their trust and have more transactions with them. These relationships last over a long period of time instead of short ones. These relationships are then passed on to the younger generation where they help shape some of China’s businesses today.

The Starbucks Case

close up photography of starbucks disposable cup
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This Chinese culture surprised many foreign brands that open their offices in China including Starbucks. Starbucks is a mega coffee store franchise that originated in the United States. They then spread their business internationally and made their way to open a store in China in 1999. Starbucks in China did not hit success when they first launched until several changes later. They named shareholders and company meetings “Partner Family Forum” where partners were employees and parents were the shareholders. They created large spaces for their stores to welcome crowds of customers. Following the three pillars, Starbucks made great changes and is currently quite successful in China. 

Making or Breaking the Relationship 

selective focus photoraphy of chains during golden hour
Photo by Joey Kyber on Pexels.com

So, how can you start and keep a relationship with a Chinese businessperson? In China, business people maintain their relationship differently than the rest of the world. These differences often went unnoticed by foreign employees. There are several things you can try to start building the relationship and not ruining any chances when you first try. However, keep in mind that these methods will take some time and effort to achieve the desired result. 

Understand The Depth

yard of buddhist temple on sunny day
Photo by John Lee on Pexels.com

Rather than just doing the normal business talk where you make an offer, negotiate the price or do cold calls, try and understand their depth. What are their values? What they look for and try to maintain that relationship for the long-term instead. Understanding your client like you would a friend is key. Similar to the practice of ren ji guan xi, it takes a long time but is very effective and great for the long-term. 

Take for example the trip that president obama took in November 2009 to Shanghai, During his speech with the shanghai youth and members of the Fudan university, he expressed genuine interest in the culture and heritage of ShangHai. He also apologized that “ I’m sorry that my Chinese is not as good as your English”. This simple move of giving consideration and respect is the first step to building a great relationship. Willingness to understand the person’s culture and where they came from will help you build a solid bond that will last a long time. 

Collaborate With a Local

person in white long sleeve shirt holding a clipboard with resume
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If you want to start your business in China, it would be better if you have a  local company help you out. The more familiar you “look” familiar to your potential client in China, the more they are willing to do business with you and create that relationship for the long term. Collaborating with locals also go beyond than just achieving “The Familiar” look. Local companies or manufacturers have their own set of connections that they have mastered. This conenctions will give you a great step up compared to starting all the connections from scrath.

Take for example Coca Cola. They decided that they will be collaborating with COFCO corporation back in 2016. The collaboration not only brought efficiencycy, but also created a more market oriented product for Coca Cola in China. Tailoring a product takes a lot of work. Receiving help from an insider who is more familiar with the market is more strategic and efficient than doing it yourself.

Learn the Language

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Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

You can always do it yourself, although it is not the easy way. Putting the effot, gives you off as a person that cares deeper than the transactions. Learning the language can be a great investment for you and your business. This will not only give you a great sense that you respect your partner, but your partners can also have a better sense of trust towards you as a business partner.

Conclusion

Family and community are very important in Chinese culture and also in business. You have to adapt to the environment and make necessary changes to succeed in this market. There are things you can do to start building a business relationship with a Chinese business person. However, keep in mind that it all takes effort and time. The effort and time you put in will definitely carve a path for you to follow.

Everything To Know About Learning Chinese Hanzi Characters

As one of the most important parts of Chinese culture, today, I want to give a general introduction about Hanzi (Chinese Characters) as well as how to learn Hanzi effectively. 

What is Hanzi?

Chinese characters, also known as Hanzi (漢字) are one of the earliest forms of written language in the world, dating back approximately five thousand years ago. Nearly one-fourth of the world’s population still uses Chinese characters today. As an art form, Chinese calligraphy remains an integral aspect of Chinese culture.

There are 47,035 Chinese characters in the Kangxi Dictionary (康熙字典), the standard national dictionary developed during the 18th and 19th centuries. However, the precise quantity of Chinese characters is a mystery because numerous and rare variants have accumulated throughout history. Studies from China have shown that 90% of Chinese newspapers and magazines tend to use 3,500 basic characters.

Short overview of Hanzi history and evolution

Hanzi is similar to other ancient languages, starting from drawing natural figures to record what people see and experience in important rituals, which have evolved over thousands of years and finally become what it looks like right now. However, not all of the previous scripts of Hanzi have disappeared. You can still see them being used on different occasions, especially in learning calligraphy. 

The main forms are summarized as follow: Oracle Bone Inscriptions (Jia Gu Wen 甲骨文), Bronze Inscriptions, (Jin Wen 金文), Small Seal Characters (Xiao Zhuan 小篆), Official Script (Li Shu 隸書), Regular Script (Kai Shu 楷書), Cursive Writing or Grass Stroke Characters (Cao Shu 草書), and Freehand Cursive (Xing Shu 行書).

Let’s see an example of the word “Bird” (niao 鸟):

Oracle Bone Inscriptions refers to the writings inscribed on the carapaces of tortoises and mammals during the Shang Dynasty (1600 – 1046 B.C.). This is the earliest form of Chinese characters. Because Oracle Bone inscriptions mainly recorded the art of divination, this script is also called bu ci (卜辭), divination writings. Over one thousand of the over four thousand characters inscribed on excavated oracle bones have been deciphered.File:鳥-oracle.svg - 维基词典,自由的多语言词典
Bronze Inscriptions are the characters inscribed on bronze objects, such as ritual wine vessels, made during the Shang (1600 – 1046 B.C.) and Zhou (1046 – 256 B.C.) dynasties. Over two thousand of the nearly four thousand collected single characters from these bronze objects are now recorded.天天快报
Small Seal Characters refer to the written language popular during the Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.). In the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.), different scripts were in use in different parts of the Chinese empire. Following the conquest and unification of the country, the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty simplified and unified the written language. This unification of the written language during the Qin Dynasty significantly influenced the eventual standardization of the Chinese characters.飞字篆书_万图壁纸网
Official Script is the formal written language of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.D.). Over time, curved and broken strokes gradually increased, becoming distinct characteristics of this style. Official Script symbolizes a turning point in the evolutionary history of Chinese characters, after which Chinese characters transitioned into a modern stage of development.鸟字隶书写法_鸟隶书怎么写好看_鸟书法图片_词典网
Regular Script first appeared at the end of the Han Dynasty. But it was not until the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-589 A.D.) that Regular Script rose to dominant status. During that period, the Regular Script continued evolving stylistically, reaching full maturity in the early Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.). Since that time, although developments in the art of calligraphy and character simplification still lay ahead, there have been no more major stages of evolution for the mainstream script.
鸟的楷书_万图壁纸网
Cursive Writing first appeared at the beginning of the Han Dynasty. The earliest cursive writings were variants of the rapid, freestyle form of the Official Script. Cursive Writing is not in general use, being a purely artistic, calligraphic style. This form can be cursive to the point where individual strokes are no longer differentiable, and characters are illegible to the untrained eye. Cursive Writing remains highly revered for the beauty and freedom it embodies.鸟字草书写法_鸟草书怎么写好看_鸟书法图片_词典网
Freehand Cursive (or semi-cursive writing) appeared and became popular during the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280 A.D.) and the Jin Dynasty (265-420 A.D.). Because this style is not as abbreviated as Cursive Writing, most people who can read Regular Script can read semi-cursive. Some of the best examples of semi-cursive are found in the work of Wang Xizhi (321-379 A.D.), the most famous calligrapher in Chinese history, from the Eastern Jin Dynasty (316-420 A.D.).鸟”字的行书书法_鸟的行书书法字帖_名家书法欣赏
Simplified Chinese characters ( Jianti Zi, 简体字) are standardized Chinese characters used in Mainland China. The government of the People’s Republic of China began promoting this form for printing use in the 1950s ’60s in an attempt to increase literacy. Simplified characters are the official form of the People’s Republic of China and in Singapore; traditional Chinese characters are still used in Hong Kong, Macau, and the Republic of China (Taiwan). Since 1954, over 2,200 Chinese characters have been simplified.鸟字的意思- 汉语字典- 千篇国学

When do we need to use hanzi?

For thousands of years, learning Chinese Hanzi was the only way to learn the Chinese language. Chinese characters carry traditional Chinese philosophy. It will help you understand Chinese manners, social taboos, and implied information when communicating with Chinese.

How to learn hanzi effectively?

Hanzi is deeply linked to Chinese culture. Generally speaking, there are two ways to learn Chinese. The traditional way is more suitable for high-level learners, and the modern way is easier for beginners to start with. So, I recommend high-level learner may change their learning method and try the traditional way. The modern method is to learn pinyin first before you learn Hanzi. It is more commonly used in systematic learning in modern Chinese education, and it is helpful to pronounce standard Chinese, to correct your accent.

Traditional method

Traditionally, we focus on understanding the meaning of the word by memorizing the origin of the characters and how Hanzi was formed. By doing so, you will have a more profound and deeper understanding of Hanzi. And such way of understanding Hanzi was first classified by the Chinese linguist Xu Shen (許慎), whose etymological dictionary Shuowen Jiezi (說文解字) divides the script into six categories, or liushu ( 六書): pictographic characters, (xiangxing zi 象形字), self-explanatory characters (zhishi zi 指示字), associative compounds (huiyi zi 會意字), pictophonetic characters (xingsheng zi 形聲字), mutually explanatory characters (zhuanzhu zi 轉注字), and phonetic loan characters (jiajie zi 假借字). The first four categories refer to ways of composing Chinese characters and the last two categories to ways of using characters.

It is a popular myth that Chinese writing is pictographic, or that each Chinese character represents a picture. Some Chinese characters evolved from pictures, many of which are the earliest characters found on oracle bones, but such pictographic characters comprise only a small proportion (about 4%) of characters. The vast majority are pictophonetic characters consisting of a “radical,” indicating the meaning and a phonetic component for the original sound.

For example:好(Hǎo) is an associative compound, it combined with a woman and a child (here means boy), as the picture below: A woman holding a newborn in her arms, symbolizing goodness and happiness.

https://www.brown.edu/about/administration/international-affairs/year-of-china/sites/brown.edu.about.administration.international-affairs.year-of-china/files/images/good_table_clean.preview.png

Since it is too difficult to start with, if you want to quickly be able to greet in Chinese or only apply it when you travel to China, I highly recommend beginners to study in modern method.

Modern method

The modern method to learn Hanzi is through Hanyu Pinyin. Hanyu Pinyin often abbreviated as pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Mandarin Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan and Singapore. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin is used to spell Chinese in languages written with the Latin alphabet and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.

The pinyin system was developed in the 1950s by a group of Chinese linguists including Zhou Youguang, and was based on earlier forms of romanizations of Chinese.

The word Hànyǔ (汉语) means ‘the spoken language of the Han people, while Pīnyīn (拼音) literally means ‘spelled sounds’.

Pinyin includes three parts: 24 vowels, 23 initial consonants, and 4 tones.

Learn Chinese Online via Skype through One-to-One Chinese Lessons

(The first column is initial consonants, and the second column is vowels)

Pinyin vowels are pronounced in a similar way to vowels in Romance languages. Initial consonants are different, only some of them are similar to English alphabet pronunciation, rests have a unique sound, it is better to learn and practice them with websites or apps with sound effects. It even helps more when you repeat the sound you can see a picture that sound stands for.

The pronunciation and spelling of Chinese words are generally given in terms of initials and finals, which represent the segmental phonemic portion of the language instead of letter by letter. Initials are initial consonants, while finals are all possible combinations of the medial (semivowels coming before the vowel), a nucleus vowel, and coda (final vowel or consonant)

How to get started with learning Hanzi?

For beginners, it is always better to have a systematic learning process. That is why I introduce Pandanese. It has a highly advanced neuroscience-based SRS algorithm that prompts you to review radicals, characters, and vocabulary at specific times to maximize retention. It can help you to learn Hanzi in a more effective, fun way and cut down on wasting time.

What are the top 20 most common Hanzi characters?

Since there are so many hanzi characters and I don’t want to completely overwhelm you, so here are the first 20 from the list of most common Chinese characters to get you started. I’ve provided definitions for each character, as well as example terms that are commonly used with explanations.

  1. 的 – de of / ~’s

你的 (nǐ de)your

我的 (wǒ de) my / mine

别的 (bié de) else / other

  1. 一 – yī (is an ideograph character, meaning that it is an abstract idea of the number 1.)

一个 (yī gè) a /an

一些 (yī xiē) some / a few

一种 (yī zhǒng) a kind of

  1. 是 – shì (is / are / am / yes / to be’)

不是 (bú shì) no

但是 (dàn shì) but / however

还是 (hái shì) or

  1. 不 – bù(no; not)

不同 (bù tóng) different

不是 (bú shì) not / no

不要 (bù yào) don’t want

  1. 了 – le (past tense marker/ completed action marker)

到了 (dào le) to arrive

为了 (wèi le) in order to

  1. 在 – zài ((located) at / (to be) in / to exist / in the middle of doing sth)

现在 (xiàn zài) now

正在 (zhèng zài) in the process of

放在 (fàng zài) place in / on

  1. 人 – rén (people/ person)

女人 (nǚ rén) woman

男人 (nán rén) man

老人 (lǎo rén) old man

  1. 有 – yǒu (to have / there is / there are / to exist / to be)

没有 (méi yǒu) don’t have

还有 (hái yǒu) still

只有 (zhǐ yǒu) only

  1. 我 – wǒ (I/ me/myself/our)

我们 (wǒ men) us

我校 (wǒ xiào) our school

  1. 他 – tā (he/ him)

他们 (tā men) they/them

其他 (qí tā) other

  1. 这 – zhè (this)

这个 (zhè ge) this one

这样 (zhè yàng) this kind of

这些 (zhè xiē) these

这么 (zhè me) so much

  1. 那 nà (that)

那个 (nà ge) that one

那样 (nà yàng) that kind of

那些 (nà xiē) those

那么 (nà me) so much

  1. 大 – dà (big/large/great/huge)

大城市 (dà chéngshì) big city

大哥 (dàgē) oldest brother

大丰收 (dà fēngshōu) great havest

  1. 中 – zhōng (china / chinese / within / among / in / middle / center)

中国 (zhōng guó) China

其中 (qí zhōng) among

中心 (zhōng xīn) centre

  1. 小 – xiǎo (little/small/young/tiny)

小姑娘 (xiǎo gūniáng) little girl

小学 (xiǎoxué) primary school

  1. 来 – lái (to come / to arrive / to come round / ever since / next)

出来 (chū lái) to come out

过来 (guò lái) to come over

后来 (hòu lái) afterwards

  1. 去 – qù (go/leave/apart from/past)

出去 (chūqù) go out

过去 (guòqù) go there/past

去哪了 (qù nǎle) where have you been to?

  1. 上 – shàng (on top / upon / above / upper / previous)

上海 (shàng hǎi) Shanghai

身上 (shēn shàng) on the body

上去 (shàng qù) to go up

  1. 国 – guó (country  / nation / state)

中国 (zhōng guó) China

美国 (měi guó) America

国家 (guó jiā) country / nation

  1. 看 – kàn (look/watch/see)

看书kànshū

看电视kàn diànshì

看着点kàn zhuó diǎn

3 proven ways to learn Chinese using online platform at the comfort of your home

You don’t have to be enrolled in a professional language school to learn Chinese well. But the surprising thing is that the majority of Chinese learners still choose to enroll in long-term and pricy language courses, which can triple the price of an annual or lifetime subscription study plan of online language platforms. 

However, the world is changing and with the development of technology, Chinese language learners are choosing to utilize an effective educational platform like Pandanese to master their favorite language at the expense of less than $10/month. 

Let’s walk through these 3 proven methods to master your Chinese at the comfort of your home. 

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Practice makes perfect 

Daily practice is one of the most efficient ways to learn a new language. With so many distractions stemming from different sources both online and offline nowadays, blocking out approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour per day to dedicate to your language improvement is already an amazing start. By practicing daily, even just 5 new words or 3 new characters per day, you are one step closer to fulfill the vocabulary goal that you set out for yourself. 

Easy said than done, what you want to know is how to achieve this daily goal without going to a language class supplied with a strict teacher and printed books and resources? Actually, it’s simpler than you thought. If you have a computer or access to one, you can access an educational language website at the click of a button. 

Learning a challenging language such as Chinese online that you can easily subscribe to at a fraction of the cost reduces the friction between studying at your convenience and having to show up in class. Both methods provide you with the study resources and materials you need. However, using an online study platform gives you more freedom in structuring your study time if you are tight on time. You can freely choose when to study your favorite language. You do not need to worry about showing up in class on time while there is always a risk of something urgent comes up at the last minute. Additionally, you may not feel lazy or reluctant to open your computer and browse through several fun flashcards per day to memorize new cool Chinese words.

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Make it stick 

Spaced repetition makes learning Chinese less intimidating. In the Chinese language, there are a challenging number of characters, radicals, and phrases that need to be learned. Because of these elements, some Chinese learners have been struggling with following through with their study process. However, Chinese is just the same as other languages, that it is not designed to be learned at one time. This is where spaced repetition comes into play. It is known that the spaced repetition technique, coined by Hermann Ebbinghaus, helps to boost long-term memory and is used extensively in education curriculums. One of the most common applications of spaced repetition is the use of flashcards. 

Flashcards are the main method on all online educational language platforms due to the specific reason mentioned above. The additional features that language learning website like Pandanese offers based on the flashcard system are lessons, tests and study reminder. Hence, what you are getting from learning flashcards online is not just the benefit of repetition, but also of the interactive learning approach that is usually offered only in class. 

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Seeing is learning 

Visual aids bring your Chinese learning to the next level. Many learners, as well as non-learners, know that the Chinese language is famous for its rich vocabulary of characters. These characters look cool, and if you know about 100 words made up from the most popular characters, you may feel like a superhuman. The reason for this is that characters are quite hard to remember and the combination of characters to make up words seems limitless. This fact sometimes turns off Chinese learners. However, if you can learn Chinese characters like reading manga, or watch a TV show, by having all the visuals, you may feel learning this language is like a walk in the park. 

Images of Chinese characters with fun art explanations of their meanings are fully optimized on many online learning websites such as Pandanese. This is possible because the websites want to stimulate learners visually. Additionally, without the presence of a teacher, the platform ensures that anyone can understand the meaning of words and phrases by simple but fun explanations in the form of pictures. So even if you find reading words, not your strong suit, you will have no problem learning Chinese online.

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Whether you are choosing Pandanese or any online learning platform, you are utilizing the power of technology to master Chinese at the comfort of your home. With so many options out there to choose from, hopefully, you can find the right fit for your study journey that makes it an enjoyable and rich experience. 

Reach out to us at Pandanese to learn more about what we offer and have a fun trial run with us. We would love to accompany you on your journey of knowledge and wisdom. 

One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.

Frank Smith