Hello! Welcome to FullChinese. We are excited to see you take the first steps necessary to learn Chinese. We believe that the FullChinese App should not only be useful for Intermediate and Advanced Chinese Learners, but also Newcomers to Chinese as well.
Below, we will introduce the all of the fundamentals necessary to get started learning Chinese! In one hour, you will be able to start learning any Chinese text. The goal of using FullChinese is not to force you to follow a specific path or syllabus, but to give you the right tools and enough leniency to reach any level of Chinese proficiency. Becoming fluent in Chinese is completely achievable with the right tools and hopefully you will find that the FullChinese app is a useful tool. For any language teacher, their main goal is to equip you with the necessary tools in order to deeply learn their language. In our case, Chinese. In order to do so, we need to break down the fundamental parts of understanding Chinese and set small (i.e., concrete), achievable goals at every step of the journey.
Let's set our first goal: to read the first FullChinese Lesson: Level 1-Lesson 1. Let's take a look at the lesson:
I can imagine it looks a bit scary and confusing with all the complicated symbols composed of turning lines and the weird accents above the vowel in the orange box. However, you many also notice that the text is also pretty short. It is composed of four lines and 16 characters. By the end of the beginner's course, you will understand how to not only read this text, but also perform this dialogue aloud.
Let's create a smaller goal to achieve this: Goal 1a. Understanding the Orange box. Let's first deconstruct what you are seeing in the orange box. The big symbol is a "Chinese character"; it is also can "Hanzi". They are logograms, which are signs or character representing a word or phrase, used for Chinese writing.
So if you look at the orange box, the top symbol (i.e., 你) is a Chinese character that represents the meaning "You". If you want to ask a person a question, you might start your sentence with the following: "你。。。？". Or if you wanted to great someone, you would say "你好" which literally translates to "You Good"? For now, you don't need to say it aloud. Just recognize the patterns.
Great! Now you understand most of the word in the orange box. But you will also notice another word in the middle (i.e., nĭ). This is Pinyin. Let's look at the definition on the Oxford Dictionary:
While descriptive, this definition is a bit wordy. More simply speaking, "Pinyin is the special system, created for people to learn Mandarin pronunciation." (1) The way Chinese characters are written means that you can't tell how words are pronounced. Therefore, Pinyin bridges this gap by transcribing Chinese characters into an English alphabet system. As a result, we get a written form that matches a spoken form.
Okay, cool! Now if we look back at the orange box, you can perhaps deduce that "nĭ" is the pronunciation for the character "你", which means "you". And that's it! You now understand what every part of the orange box represents (Goal 1a Done). [[ Okay, back to the main goal, you want to learn the first lesson. You might be wondering how to actually pronounce this word. To become a bit more familiar of how you should sound like by the end of this course, let's set another goal: Goal 1b. Pronouncing the word in the orange box. Let's look at this short video showing you how to pronounce the character "你" and the phrase "hello" or "你好!". Goal 1b. Done! ]]
Great! We have just gotten a taste of all the parts necessary to start learning Chinese: i. Pinyin and ii. Characters. The beginners section splits into these two parts. For now, let's set our next goal: Goal 1c. mastering Pinyin.