Some interesting myths about learning Chinese..

Learning Chinese has become increasingly popular.. sort of like learning Japanese in the 90s when the rise of the Japanese economy gave many people good incentive to learn about the language and culture.. Well, this time it’s China and about the Chinese culture. We will get into the topic on culture later — on a much, much lengthier discussion, so we will for now first start with the Chinese language and in the few lines below we want to try to get rid of some myths about learning it.

Myth 1: About Chinese Characters — MAN!!! How can I ever learn even A FEW of those complicated stuff — not to mention HUNDREDS of them!!!???

The Truth: No need to worry about the characters at all. Truth is, for thousands of years, the vast majority of the Chinese people themselves were “illiterate” in terms of writing characters and they never learnt any. But obviously that didn’t hinder them from speaking perfect Chinese. Historically the Chinese writing system was kind of like Classical Latin in Europe — it was used only by the intellectuals and government officials of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, etc — the gentry and “mandarins”. And today, in modern times Chinese people just type on keyboards! They input Chinese characters on computers/mobile phones the same way you would “write” English.

So BulletChinese will NOT waste your time on the hundreds of characters before you could first “speak” the language — we might teach you a few key ones just for fun in so far as it doesn’t slow down our bullet-train progress. At the same time, the BulletChinese course will show you, at a later stage, how to input Chinese characters on computers/mobile phones so you could even “write” perfect Chinese after you first understand the overall Chinese language structure.

Myth 2: About Memorizing Chinese Words — MAN!!! Even if I don’t need to write any characters, Chinese is still hard for me because I cannot learn words the way I learn European languages — which share the same Latin/Greek/Germanic roots.

The truth is actually the opposite. If you take any two books of exactly the same content — one is the Chinese translation and the other is the version of any other language, the Chinese version is ALWAYS much thinner — because the Chinese language uses waaaay less words than other languages. In other words, Chinese is probally the most concise and efficient language on earth. So you will need to memorize much, much less words when you learn Chinese compared to almost all other languages in the world.

If you still have doubts,then please just think about how many words in English are used for the word “BE” : IS ARE AM WAS WERE BEEN & BE there are 7 of them. But in Chinese you only need to learn ONE: 是 (Pronounced as Shi) and that’s it. No wonder the Chinese books are always much thinner.

Myth 3: About Intonations — MAN!!! Can I just not even think about them?

The truth is: YES! You can! That’s precisely what you can do! So many people have the misunderstanding that in order to learn Chinese then you have to learn about the “exotic” intonations. But the truth is: in order to learn ANY LANGUAGE you have to learn intonations — only that no other languages made the rule of intonation so simple, so “standardized” like Chinese with its 4 tones.

In other languages intonations are just learnt gradually since birth for the native speakers, and new learners must slowly “get a feel” of it without any standard guidance. But for Chinese not only is the guidance clearly and perfectly laid out, — it is also merely a guidance and nothing more — because among the current Chinese population of 1.3–1.4 billion, probablly only less than half of them speak mandarin Chinese without their various regional accent. Now if a Chinese person from, say, Guangdong province or Sichuan province can speak Chinese without even bothering the 4 simple intonations, then why should you the beginner from outside of China worry about them?

So, at BulletChinese we will you always teach you the perfect intonations, but we will never do so at the expenses of slowing down the “bullet-train” progress.

Myth 4: About Pinyin — MAN!!! How can I pronunce such weird words like “Quan Xue Cuo” ? — even if they are written in Pinyin ( Pinyin simply means Chinese written in romanized alphabats).

First of all, let’s take an example of the English word “knife” — the absolute beginners of the English language will undoubtly start pronouncing it with the “K” sound. The point is: for the Chinese romanization sytem (called Pinyin in Chinese), there is NOT a single exception like that. Once you know the rules, the rules will apply 100% of the time. Now this is great news. And the other good news is that these rules are very simple!

And there’s even better news. Unlike other systems/curriculums of Chinese learning, where they make students study the entire Pinyin system first as if there’s no tomorrow, BulletChinese does not do that. Our approach is much more efficient and “learner-friendly”, so we will teach the entire Pinyin system but only on a “learn as you need” basis. Simply put, we will help you tackle every single problem related to Pinyin only when that specific pronounciation difficulty arises during the course. So by the time you finish building the whole Chinese structure, you will have learnt the entire Pinyin system almost like a “by-product” — naturally and effortlessly.

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