To learn Chinese online is the best choice for learning Chinese. And if you want to learn Chinese, Mandarin Chinese is generally the best choice.
Let’s discuss why Mandarin Chinese is the best choice first. While there an many, many dialects spread throughout Mainland China, more than half of the indigenous population uses the Mandarin dialect. It is generally recognized as the official language, so more and more people are speaking it or a variation of it which is understandable to other speakers of the dialect.
There are also nearly fifty million speakers of Mandarin Chinese outside of China. Whether your reason to learn Chinese is for work or for pleasure, chances are that you will get more value out of your effort if you choose to learn Mandarin rather than one of the many other dialects.
Like other languages such as Korean, written Chinese makes the language look daunting to learn. Characters in Chinese are grouped in two distinct sets – simplified and traditional. Surprisingly, it is the simplified characters which are used on the Mainland, while places like Hong Kong and Taiwan use the traditional version.
It is easiest to learn spoken Mandarin first, and then move on to learn written Chinese. For this you will find Pinyins useful, even if your approach is to learn Chinese online. What are Pinyins? Think of them as helpful for pronunciation, as they essentially present the characters in a Western form to help you grasp pronunciation.
When you learn Chinese online, your best approach is to choose a Mandarin Chinese course which has extensive audio modules. These will give you exposure in audio format to complete sentences, and this helps in two ways.
First, it gives you a sense early on for sentence structure. It also gets you to achieve great progress with pronunciation. Mandarin Chinese is a very tonal language, and the tone with which you express a syllable changes its meaning. There are five tones including a neutral tone.
That is what makes it so hard to learn unless you choose to learn Chinese online. Daily exposure (which you will not get in a classroom) is essential because of the tonal nuances of pronunciation.
And that is the key to the success that can be achieved if you choose to learn Chinese online. Daily practice in a guided fashion along with immersion in sentence structure and pronunciation! These combined are powerful tools for success.