Chinese for Beginners: A Basic Understanding of the Language

January 25, 2019

There are several areas where students learning Chinese face difficulties, and these span across different horizons viz. writing and recognizing the characters, the meaning of the characters forming the language, finding the right characters to make a word and pronunciations. One needs extensive training to learn and improve, and this is possible by taking up a Chinese language course in Kolkata.

At present, most of the institutes providing the Chinese course rely on computer technology and software program to assist in the teaching and it becomes really easy for interested individuals to learn it interactively. In fact, students taking up online courses are not constrained by time or location anymore.So let us discuss some of the aspects and composition of the Chinese language.

Characters and Forms of writing

When talking about characters, there are more than 80,000 characters in the Chinese language, but many of these characters are rarely used in writing at present times. Naturally, it is not possible to remember or learn so many characters.To be able to read and write in Chinese, one needs to learn and understand a few thousand of these characters.A number of around 3000 thousand characters are sufficient for both beginners and advanced students.

When you are learning the language you will need to translate as it is a part of any training program. To learn Chinese language effectively you have to understand the different meanings of a word.To translate an English word you will have to use two or more Chinese characters so as to get the true meaning of the English word. The correct way of reading Chinese is to read from left to right.

Today,two forms of writing Chinese exist. They are simplified and traditional. The former is the writing form which is used in mainland China whereas the latter can be found being used mostly in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The meaning of the characters in these two type of writing forms are same but are different in writing. The simplified form has around 2200 characters.


You will learn the pronunciations by taking up the Chinese language course in Kolkata but for beginners that can sometimes be a challenge.In the course, students learn the Hanyu Pinyin, a technique which helps in pronunciations.

The word Hanyu means ‘Chinese language’ and Pinyin means ‘sound’ and ‘spell’. Combining them we get the ‘sound and spelling of Chinese’. The Pinyin system uses the letters of the Roman alphabet to create phonetics for other to learn. Chinese schools also do the same thing.

When you are taking up a Chinese course, always try to give emphasis on the pronunciation as it is a very important part of the language. Mispronouncing word in Chinese, even to the slightest bit can change the meaning of the word. Hence, it is necessary to learn pronunciations effectively while taking up the course.

A brief history

Chinese is considered the oldest written language by many scholars and researchers. The Chinese language we know is approximately nine hundred years old. The evolution of the language happened during the middle Chinese period during the eleventh century. We know from the several writings discovered during this time in China that the consonant sounds got differentiated through deep breathing. It was also believed to be rich compared to what we find today.

With the evolution of the language,many sounds started to disappear and slowly the language got simpler with the inclusion of homonyms. You will be able to gain more knowledge when you begin to learn Chinese language from the experts. In the present day, most of the institutes teach you Mandarin which is the official format of speaking and writing in China.

Posted by Harry Mike

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