Learn Mandarin Chinese the western way

7 March 2018
door Regina Coeli

Have you wanted to learn Mandarin for your work or spice up your CV for some time, but been holding back because everyone has told you that it is such a difficult language to learn? Then you really need to read on. Numerous professionals have learned how to speak Mandarin in five days through our extremely practical approach. You can, too!

Why do so many people think Mandarin is hard to learn? There are generally three reasons:

  1. Mandarin has four tones. You have to be able to clearly distinguish between them, both in your pronunciation and when you listen. A word has a meaning in one tone which is completely different to its meaning in another tone. Without mastering the tones, you cannot speak Mandarin. 
  2. The Chinese characters are a complete enigma to Westerners. There is, of course, a logic to them. That is a study unto itself. 
  3. The Chinese language is used in a Chinese context and culture, and that culture is vastly different to Western cultures. This means that you greet others differently, converse differently and negotiate differently.

Do these three points make learning Mandarin an insurmountable task? Of course not!

  • Mastering the tones is something you learn by concentrating on pronunciation from the very start.
  • Pinyin is the key to learning Chinese for many Westerners. Pinyin is the Romanization (or Latinization) of Chinese words, which makes it easier for Westerners to learn the language. That means you do not necessarily have to learn the characters.
  • If you learn the language from people who grew up speaking Mandarin in the Chinese culture, you automatically learn about the culture and to how communicate appropriately.
  • And did you know that Mandarin grammar is incredibly straightforward? For native English speakers it is even easier, because the grammatical structures of the two languages are incredibly similar.

The way you learn Mandarin determines your success

If you want to learn Mandarin, it is essential to find a good guide to help you get started on the right path in the sometimes overwhelming world of the Chinese language. There are a few ways to do that:

1. Online learning
There is an enormous range of information available online which you could use to try and master the language. It is an inexpensive way to learn Chinese, but has its disadvantages. You will have to find a way to navigate through the sheer volume of information and will hardly be corrected on your pronunciation. You will have to wait and see whether you have learned to language well enough to use it in practice. The biggest hurdle, however, is the perseverance necessary to learn a language completely on your own.

2. Weekly lessons at a local school
Many schools offer Chinese courses which allow you to learn Chinese bit by bit in a group setting. The learning pace is not particularly fast. You can also take a number of private lessons over a short period of time. Many trainers in the Netherlands employ a method which is designed from the perspective of how the Chinese learn. The language is seen through the eyes of Chinese learners, but that does not work well for Western language learners.

3. Learn Chinese in China
Where else could you better learn Chinese than in China? The answer seems obvious: nowhere else. Being in completely Chinese surroundings, you are immersed in the language and culture. That is an overwhelming experience in which you—provided you are not too overwhelmed—learn a great deal. Here, too, though you learn Chinese in the Chinese way, which is probably not the best way for Westerners. We at Regina Coeli devoutly believe in the fourth way… 

4. An intensive course in Chinese
The tranquil equivalent to a full immersion experience in China is an intensive Chinese course at a Western language institute. It is a bit like preparing for a space mission: working in a familiar environment, you rapidly acquire the skills you need in order to prepare you for your new environment. You focus on learning essential skills which prepare you for reality, just like an astronaut would receive thorough training in order to be able to survive in space. Moreover, you learn the language in a way that suits you.

Learn Mandarin in five days

At Language Institute Regina Coeli, you can learn Mandarin in just five days. We deliver intensive individual language courses, give only private lessons and have you complete independent study assignments, all in a tranquil environment.

  • At our institute in the lush green surroundings of Vught, the Netherlands, you focus solely on learning Mandarin from Monday to Friday. The learning environment is optimal:
  • You study at the institute for five days, dine in our restaurant and can stay overnight in our in-house guest lodging. In this way, your training week is fully arranged for you in every way. You do not have to think about anything other than learning Chinese.
  • We have a number of Chinese trainers who can teach you in either Dutch or English. The trainers have extensive experience in education, as well as business backgrounds. In addition, they come from Taiwan and China and are therefore native speakers who grew up using Mandarin.
  • In your private lessons, the trainers focus intensively on improving your pronunciation and can feel when the pace can be picked up or needs to be slowed down.
  • The institute is a serene place, which allows your brain to function optimally while acquiring the new language.
  • As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding, so you will actually have conversations with your trainers. It will still be in the safe environment of our institute, but at the same time get you ready to use the language in the real world.

Can you imagine how quickly you can learn a language when you have four private lessons every day, five days in a row, and study and practice between all those lessons? Our course members notice that they learn a tremendous amount of new information in the first few days, and after that they can already have a conversation in Chinese.

Can you be fluent in Chinese in five days? No, we are not able to work miracles. But we are convinced that you cannot learn it faster anywhere else. The Language Institute Regina Coeli method is fine-tuned to individuals who want to learn a language for a specific goal. When it comes to Chinese, that usually means business people who do business in China. They do not generally negotiate with the Chinese, but do find it nice to be able to follow the negotiations a bit and to be able to exchange niceties.

If you would like to conduct business in Mandarin, then additional training would of course be necessary. That cannot be mastered in five days, but it is an absolutely realistic goal. And then you can finally tick learning Chinese off your bucket list.

 

Interested in following language training at Regina Coeli?

The Regina Coeli method ensures that you learn to speak a foreign language quickly and effectively. Our highly qualified trainers teach you the skills, vocabulary and grammar that you need for your specific situation so you can immediately start communicating in the language.

Do you require more information? Please contact us!

Share this page


Stay informed

Would you like to be the first to know about developments at Regina Coeli or in a specific language?
Just leave your email address with us and we will be happy to keep you informed.