If you are a businessman wishing to learn Mandarin, you may feel overwhelmed with the complexity and pronunciation of a language very different to European ones. There is no need to fret, however, as the Western and Eastern worlds working together on such intimate levels, there has been a creation of plenty innovative courses which will provide an adequate grasp on the language in just a short time.

An Introduction to Mandarin – Getting to Grips with Tone

One of the most foundational aspects of Mandarin involves pronunciation and tone. Unlike European languages, the levels of your voice and its sounds actually change the meaning of words, which can be confusing seeing as a words can be spelled identically, but will have different meanings depending on how you say them.This will generally be the first section you will learn during the courses offered by Chinese school London . Here is a brief description of the four tones present in the language.

  • The First: This tone is a flat yet high one. Although it should be spoken with a high inclination, you want to keep your voice as monotone as possible. An example of this tone would use the symbol “mā”. The line symbol above the ‘a’ indicates that the word should be pronounced as such.
  • The Second: The pitch in this kind of tone begins from a low one and rises to a middle one. An English example would be how our tone steadily rises when we ask questions, beginning with a middle pitch and ending in a high one to indicate that your sentence is a question. This tone is indicated by the symbol “má”.
  • The Third: This tone is a low or dipping one, and begins at the middle pitch, then dips into a low, and then ends off climbing back up to a high pitch. The “mǎ” symbol indicates this tone in Mandarin.
  • The Fourth: This is a pitch which quickly shifts from high to low. The best way to compare this tone in English would be with the puzzled sounds we make such as ‘huh’. This symbol is written as “mà”.

A Language Best Learned Face to Face

All of this may seem quite confusing when being read, and it is, of course, a lot easier to understand when a first or second language Mandarin speaker demonstrates the application. Mandarin is certainly a language which native English speakers should learn from a tutor.

Although videos and audio cassettes may be a good start, the practicalities of such a vocally-rooted language need to be learned with an instructor. If you plan to learn Mandarin face-to-face with a teacher, make sure that she has a perfect understanding of the tonal intricacies.

One of the most common misconceptions regarding foreigners’ understandings of Mandarin is that it is free of grammar. This mistake is easily forgivable when you consider just how different Mandarin grammar is to a language such as English. This, coupled with tone, is one of the most integral factors one must master on the road to being fluent in Mandarin.