- Chinese vs Mandarin, are they the same?
- The difference in Chinese writing systems
- Using Superprof to search for good Mandarin classes near me
- Take your Mandarin lessons from whoever you want (without time and location constraints)
- What makes Superprof uniquely effective when learning Mandarin
- Improving your vocabularies through cultural conversations
- Make your Mandarin learning journey fruitful and enjoyable
It is undeniable that the end goal of mastering any language is to have effective communication between individuals, corporations and even nations. Learning Mandarin has enabled many to travel, work and study in Mandarin-speaking countries with ease. However, learning Mandarin is not just getting the pronunciation and writings correctly, it is also about studying the Chinese community and culture.
Chinese vs Mandarin, are they the same?
At times, you may hear people using the term Mandarin and Chinese interchangeably when they are referring to the main language used by the Chinese community. You may be wondering if they are the same or are there any differences between these two terms.
Mandarin is known as Putonghua普通话, which is a branch of the Chinese language and is commonly spoken in Beijing, thus serving as the official language of mainland China and also in Taiwan (with a slightly different accent). However, not every Chinese can speak Mandarin in China.
This is because apart from Mandarin, Chinese comprises of other dialects and branches, such as Cantonese (commonly spoken in Hong Kong and Macau), Southern Min (a dialect spoken in the province of Fujian, Taiwan and certain parts of South East Asia and also Shanghainese (spoken in Shanghai).
Watched any Jackie Chan and Ip Man movies? That’s Cantonese.
Came across any Hokkien drama on Astro’s Hua Hee Dai channel? That’s Southern Min.
Fan of Jay Chou’s songs? That’s Mandarin.
The difference in Chinese writing systems
While Chinese is being spoken differently at different places, the writing systems can also differ according to the countries.
Malaysia, Singapore and China follow the simplified Chinese writing system while Taiwan and Hong Kong follow the traditional Chinese writing system. For example, the word close is written as 關 in the traditional Chinese writing system, while it is written as 关 in the simplified Chinese writing system. Make sure you get the differences in the writing systems before working or studying in Taiwan or Hong Kong because the Malaysian Mandarin subject syllabus follows the simplified Chinese writing system right from the beginning.
Mastering Mandarin is not just about having the perfect pronunciation, but also understanding how to read the written Chinese characters accurately. A Mandarin class will help you to lay a good foundation to converse fluently and read Chinese characters in various media with ease.
Using Superprof to search for good Mandarin classes near me
Superprof is a knowledge-sharing platform that connects tutors with students for an array of subjects, which of course includes Mandarin! What is great about Superprof is that it has a user-friendly website with a detailed filtering system that caters to students from various regions in Malaysia.
If you are looking for Mandarin tutors from Kuala Lumpur, all you need to do is just type Mandarin as the subject that you want to learn and enter Kuala Lumpur for the location section, and click Find Tutor. Immediately you will see many tutors around this area with their updated tutor profiles.
To find the most suitable match, you can adjust the filtering tabs on the upper left of the website to make your requirements as specific as possible. For instance, you can choose to show only tutors who are native speakers, adjust the maximum budget for your hourly class rate and tutor’s response time.
Take your Mandarin lessons from whoever you want (without time and location constraints)
Another bonus point of Superprof is that it offers options for both face-to-face and online lessons. With online lessons, you can enjoy learning from the comfort of your home, whenever and wherever you want.
Most importantly, you can also select the language levels taught according to schools (from PT3 to SPM, IGCSE, A-Levels), age groups (kids or adults) and proficiency level that you are looking at, from beginners to advanced level.
This also means that you don’t have to necessarily choose a Mandarin tutor from Melaka even if you are from that region. You can certainly take lessons from Mandarin teachers that are from Seberang Perai if you prefer their teaching experience, teaching methodology or rate that they offer.
What makes Superprof uniquely effective when learning Mandarin
Taking Mandarin lessons with Superprof will enable your learning schedule to be flexible as you can personally arrange the time with your Mandarin teacher.
Having a private Mandarin tutor also means that you will have a self-paced study, which means you do not have to worry about waiting for others, or others to wait for you to proceed from levels to levels. During lessons, you can also record and save all your digital files that have been downloaded instantly, and re-watch them anytime you want, which will help you during revisions later.
You will also be able to customize your learning focus while learning Mandarin. Whether it is general conversations, Business Mandarin or survival travelling phrases for that short vacation to a Mandarin-speaking country, you can put your trust in Superprof!
This is the benefit of one-to-one learning, where you will receive sole attention from your teacher. Most importantly, Superprof provides great support to students at all levels. A Mandarin tutor will be ready to answer your questions and give your useful tips to master the language effectively.
Improving your vocabularies through cultural conversations
One way to learn expand your vocabulary in your Mandarin learning journey is to learn about the food and practices behind some Chinese festivals (apart from Chinese New Year) that are being celebrated by the Chinese community in Malaysia.
Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwujie) 端午节
The festival is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar. In the past, it was a day to commemorate the death of the patriot poet, Qu Yuan from the Zhou Dynasty who drown in a river. Locals who admired him started to use boats to drop sticky rice into the river so that the fish won’t eat his body.
Hence, the practice of dragon festival competitions and the tradition of making Zongzi (粽子) started. Zongzi is a traditional Chinese dish made up of glutinous rice with either salty or sweet filling and wrapped with bamboo leaves.
Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhongqiujie)中秋节
It is a festival that promotes family gathering and thanksgiving, and because the day falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Lunar calendar, the moon is said to be the brightest and fullest, signifying completeness.
This explains why Yuebing(月饼), more commonly known as mooncake is mostly round in shape and remains one of the most popular desserts among the Chinese community until today.
Winter Solstice Festival (Dongzhi)冬至
The day of winter solstice normally falls from the 21st to the 23rd of December where and families gather to make Tangyuan (汤圆) together.
Glutinous rice flour is added with various bright colourings and made into various sizes of tangyuan. They are later cooked in a savoury or sweet broth and every family member will receive a bowl of broth and tangyuan.
Chinese culture is inseparable from Mandarin learning. Be sure to check out some good Mandarin classes in Johor Bahru that offer cultural learning lessons such as martial art classes or Chinese calligraphy sessions along with Mandarin classes.
Make your Mandarin learning journey fruitful and enjoyable
Though your Mandarin teacher will be a great help, don’t forget that you are the one responsible to make this language learning journey worthwhile.
Set the right goals for your Mandarin learning journey. Try to be as specific as possible. Make sure it is small, measurable and most importantly, realistic which follows the timeline that you have set to learn Mandarin. It is recommended to create monthly goals and achieve them bit by bit.
For example, if you have just started learning Mandarin this month, your goal for next month could be to hold a conversation completely in Mandarin for 2 minutes or write a two-sentences simple self-introduction that includes your name and age. By setting a specific goal, it would also make you more committed and motivated to learn eagerly.
Having said that, it is best to have concrete proof of assessment to see how far you have progressed. Make sure that you are assessed for every component after the end of every level completion. You might want to consider taking the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK examination) if you intend to further your studies or work in Mandarin-speaking countries.
Struggle to learn Mandarin alone? There are many Mandarin classes located all over Malaysia. Based in Ipoh and haven’t found a Mandarin teacher yet? Quickly sign up for Mandarin classes in Ipoh.
Action comes before motivation, so let’s get the ball rolling to make this an amazing language and cultural learning experience!
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