It’s a hopeful question that we often get from beginning Mandarin students. And because the last thing we want to do is dampen someone’s enthusiasm, we say yes, of course, it’s possible to reach fluency in the Chinese language in a year, and learning how to speak basic Mandarin in a year may not be as hard as you think. But we’ll quickly add it’s only possible with the right methods and great persistence.
So it’s good to be down to earth and prepared with the ups and downs that come along that realize the immensity of the task.
Things to keep in mind
Speaking depends if you’re passionate about it or not. One thing you have to keep in mind Is that Chinese (Mandarin, ah I’m just gonna use Chinese) as a language has many ways of being spoken.
Grammar and sentence structure are also very important and can easily be picked out, long-term Chinese speakers can usually hear the mistake. Chinese and English are very different, especially in sentence structure, and there are some words in the Chinese language that when speaking, it could make the sentence seem long-winded and that’s not really a good idea.
It is hard, but speaking basic colloquial Chinese is manageable if you really are consistent with your lessons. It’s very easy to get the sentence structure mixed up, especially if you’re a native English speaker learning Chinese for the first time. Google translate is definitely inaccurate so it’s best you don’t rely on it for the harder words, maybe consider getting an English-Chinese dictionary? That helps you a lot during your learning.
And Yes, you can achieve decent fluency.
But Will it be easy? No, not at all. Being immersed doesn’t mean much if you don’t pair it with intensive self-study including online resources and books. Definitely get a 1 on 1 teacher. It is going to be tough, you will want to quit several times, but if you persevere, by the end of it you’ll be in love with the Chinese language and you will be grateful you exerted yourself.I recommend Multibhashi online language learning classes, here you find 1 on 1 interaction with the teacher, you can enroll now by clicking here
How long Does it Take to Speak Fluent Chinese?
Most people think about this question in terms of months or years. But that’s an illogical way of looking at it, and here’s why: Imagine 2 people decide to learn Mandarin Chinese.
- Person A studies Mandarin for 10 hours a day.
- Person B studies for 30 minutes a day.
Both approaches could work well, depending on your life situation. But the number of months/years it takes each person to reach conversational fluency in Mandarin Chinese will vary significantly.
Now in this blog, we will look at a 6 step plan to speak Chinese in a year.
6-Steps plan to Speak Chinese in a year.
Step 1: Set your priorities
Take a moment to define your priorities for Mandarin Chinese: Why do you want to learn Mandarin? What do you want to do in the language? Choose activities that will help you develop these skills.
Step 2. Decide what NOT to do
As my main focus is conversations, I’m suggesting you avoid activities like:
- Memorizing the stroke order of characters.
- Working through a grammar book from start to finish.
- Playing on apps like Duolingo.
Step 3. Choose the right learning materials
It’s time to pick the right learning resources.
Here are some examples of skills you might focus on.
Speaking Chinese- Find an online conversation tutor or language exchange partner on italki.
Understanding conversational Chinese- Watch Chinese TV series on Viki (try learn mode, it’s brilliant for easing your way into real Mandarin Chinese)
Improve your Chinese handwriting- Use an app that helps you memorise stroke order, like Skritter.
Step 4. Choose your daily learning time
The key to learning Mandarin Chinese is to make it a habit. Something you do:
- Every day
- At the same time
- In the same place
If you have an unpredictable life and this isn’t possible, 2 out of 3 will work fine too.
Step 5. Use your dead-time for learning Mandarin Chinese
If you’re smart about how you use your dead-time, you can carve out loads of extra time for becoming fluent in Mandarin Chinese. You can use flashcards, Read a graded readers on the bus, Chat to native Chinese speakers, etc.
Step 6. Make Mandarin Chinese a part of you
Learning a language requires loads of time and energy. Especially one like Mandarin Chinese. If you’re not willing to make the language and culture a part of your identity, you’ll struggle to stay the course.
If you really want to speak Chinese in a year then you have to be dedicated to your learning. Also in the blog we will discuss some points regarding Chinese learning and speaking that will help you.
You can join Multibhashi for language learning.