Chinese Newbie’ Problems to Learn Speaking Chinese

By Sujanti Djuanda – LingoLearn Chinese Teacher

“I would like to learn speaking Chinese. I have never learned Chinese before. I don’t want to learn writing or reading Chinese characters or Hanyu Pinyin, just want to speak. How long I can speak Chinese fluently?”

Those are one of Chinese newbies’ commonly questions. I would like to share some reasons based on my experience why Chinese newbie cannot only learn to speak Chinese.

  1. Vocabulary problems

If Chinese newbies just pronounce the vocabulary without reading or writing them, they may easily forget them or confuse with Chinese characters that have the same pronunciation but different meaning.

2. Grammar problem

After Chinese newbies collected certain commonly-used vocabulary, now they have grammar problem, how to make people understand what they say.

Though in daily conversation, people may not too strict for grammar but Chinese newbie should know the basic grammar.


了(le) is usually put after a verb or at the end of the sentence to indicate the past tense.

I went to the China last month.

上个月(shàng​gè​yuè)我(wǒ)去(qù)了(le)中国(Zhōng​guó)。or 我(wǒ)上个月(shàng​gè​yuè)去(qù)中国(Zhōng​guó)了(le)。

However,了(le) cannot be put at the beginning of the sentence.

了(le) 上个月(shàng​gè​yuè)我(wǒ)去(qù)中国(Zhōng​guó)。(This is a wrong sentence)

了(le) cannot also be put before a verb or after a subject.

上个月(shàng​gè​yuè)我(wǒ)了(le)去(qù)中国(Zhōng​guó)。(This is a wrong sentence)

To easier learn how to use a grammar rule, newbie students need to read or write sample sentences before they can make their own sentences. If they just listen what the teacher said, they probably cannot memorize them well.

3. Speaking Topic Problem

Chinese newbies need the topic to speak.  The topic cannot be randomly chosen because their vocabulary and grammar are still limited. Therefore, they need to read the Chinese text (Chinese characters with Pinyin and the translations).

4. Listening Problem

Chinese newbies also have a listening problem. Therefore, they need to learn listening comprehension.

At first, Chinese newbies can try to listen without Chinese text. Usually, they find words they don’t understand. Then they need to listen to the audio with the Chinese text for several times. If they don’t want to read the Chinese text (Chinese characters, Pinyin and the translations), how they can understand it?

You can also read another related article “Why Learning Chinese Characters are important?

Here the problem is how if Chinese newbies want to learn speaking, reading and writing Hanyu Pinyin (not Chinese characters).

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