I often hear people say, “I am learning Chinese. Is it OK to learn only how to speak? Chinese characters are too hard. ”
Indeed, given the fact that there are more than 10,000 characters in Chinese, it seems to be a huge task to master them all. Plus, with the aid of Pinyin, a person can learn to speak in Chinese quite quickly. Why do we still need to learn Chinese characters? Here are the 6 reasons:
- Listening, speaking, reading and writing are the four major skills in learning any languages. If only listening and speaking are mastered, the lack of the other 2 skills will become the bottleneck for further improvement in the language acquisition. Without knowing Chinese characters, it is impossible to practice reading, not to mention writing.
- Learning a language involves a tremendous amount of input. If you cannot read, you lose more than half of the input. As you know, listening and speaking are just not enough.
- In China, there are different dialects. The pronunciation of the same word may differ from region to region. You may find yourself not be able to communicate in certain circumstances. However, the written language is the same in the majority areas in China. So, if you know the Chinese written language, you will find it useful.
- Once you reach a certain level, Pinyin actually becomes confusing. There are around 420 different Pinyin syllables; on top of that, the 4 tones adds the complexity to a great extent. Each Pinyin syllable represents, on average, 11 characters which are used every day. However, if you learn the characters as your basic unit of knowledge and learn its pronunciation accordingly, you will find the clarify.
- Chinese characters are fun to learn. Chinese characters are historical, cultural and artistic. They are a source of pleasure for many to learn Chinese. Why don’t you enjoy it?
- If you know of the Chinese characters, you can easily impress your friends and relatives!
I agree it is not an easy task to memorize all the characters, you may want to start with our Chinese Vocabulary Made Easy program. You will soon notice patterns and it will become one of the most rewarding parts of learning Chinese.
You can do it.