There are some really helpful points in this post!

Stories from Shanghai

Q: Is it difficult to learn Chinese?

A: Yeah, they say Chinese is among the most difficult languages to learn (in terms of effort vs. results).

Q: What is so difficult about it?

A: Two key areas: the tones and the characters.

Q: Is it hard all the way?

A: Well… no. The beginning will be the hardest. The first year will be very hard. But you should always remember that the learning curve is huge, and it will get better with time – that is why many advanced learners might tell you “Chinese isn’t hard to learn” (they just forgot how painful it was in the beginning).

Q: What should I start with?

A: Two things: Master the sounds+tones, and master some character-learning strategies.

Q: How should I learn the sounds and tones?

A: There are great free resources to help you “set” your pronunciation right. A free pinyin course…

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