Chinese can be an intimidating language for anyone to learn. The writing system is completely different from anything we’re used to in the west, and the words can be difficult for English speakers to pronounce. However, Chinese grammar is actually simpler than many people think, and by regularly practicing with native Chinese speakers, you’ll soon get an ear for the different tonal pronunciations.
Many people don’t realize that Chinese has no verb conjugation, no tenses, no cases, no plurals, and no gender. So there aren’t a whole lot of rules which you have to memorize. What you do need to learn are the four different tonal inflections which can totally change the meaning of a given word. Since written Chinese doesn’t give a good idea as to how a word should be pronounced, the only way to really master the inflections are by practicing with a native speaker.
While it can be difficult to spend a lot of time in China practicing the language, that doesn’t mean you can’t speak with native speakers. There are a lot of sites online where you can find language partners to help you learn Chinese, you can even use Skype to talk to other language learners directly. However, the downside is that many of these sites cost money, and there’s no easy way to find someone on Skype who might be a good match for you.
China is full of people who want to learn English, and many of them are on Tandem right now looking for someone to practice with. Whenever you have a spare moment, you can log onto Tandem, find someone who shares your interests, and give them a call. Talk for as long or as little as you like. Tandem makes is easy to fit language learning into your schedule. You don’t have to pay to use it, and you don’t have to schedule an appointment. Just jump on and start talking. Tandem lets you:
Whether you’re planning to do business in Beijing, want to see the terracotta soldiers in Xi’an, or just want to find out what life is like in Shanghai, there’s someone on Tandem who is willing to share their language and their culture with you. It’s your personal connection to the rest of the world, and all it takes is the press of a button. Log on now to see just how easy it is. After all, it’s totally free.