Main Mistakes People Make While Learning the Chinese Language

Learning a new language comes with benefits. It can help you boost your business, as you have the opportunity to meet new people and expand your client base. At the same time, it has positive benefits on yourself because it improves your memory capacity and decision-making skills.

The Chinese language is a difficult foreign language to learn, especially if you have not lived in Asia for some time. There are common mistakes everyone does when studying vocabulary, especially when learning Chinese, a complicated language with lots and lots of characters.

But becoming aware of the most common mistakes people make while learning the Chinese language can help you avoid them and become proficient in Chinese.


Not Studying the Characters

We can all agree that the Chinese language is among the most complicated and difficult foreign languages to learn. And while you may learn the Chinese language from a phonetic point of view (pinyin), neglecting the writing part can be damaging for your learning process.

There are a lot of online courses that promise they will help you learn Chinese in a few months, but they focus primarily on the phonetic system. And while this may work with Western languages, Chinese is quite different.

The words are short, of about one or two syllables. You can form about 400 syllables and the tone you pronounce them with changes the meaning of the words. This makes the learning process a little bit complicated, as new students will have a hard time making the difference between certain sounds and tones.

The base of Chinese languages is represented by its characters. It is common to find different characters that are pronounced the same or slightly different. And when you want to form a sentence or new words, you need to combine the characters. People learn by using logic, so you need to pay close attention to studying the characters of the Chinese language.

People who decide to start learning only the Chinese phonetic system will progress faster, but they will experience hardships soon. The logic of the Chinese language is found in characters, not in sounds and learning only the sounds is a big mistake.

However, people who start learning Chinese characters will have slower progress, but they will soon be able to form new words and sentences much easier. It can prove to be frustrating at times but incorporating new words in your vocabulary will begin to be simpler and simpler.


Learning Only the Most Common Characters

There is a myth that encourages new Chinese learners to learn only the most common 3000 characters. It says that you will be able to read everything in Chinese, as these 3000 characters cover about 99% of the Chinese writings. But reading and understanding are not the same.

New words are formed by a combination of already existing characters and can become more difficult to be understood. You need to learn the words, not only the characters as you will need to understand their meaning.

Learning only characters is a common mistake people make while learning the Chinese language and can turn out to be quite frustrating.


Learning the Most-Spoken Language

It is true that Chinese is the most spoken language in the world but wanting to learn it solely for this reason is a big mistake. China is an important economic power now and knowing Chinese can bring you lots of benefits.

But the amount of motivation and perseverance you must invest in learning Chinese is huge. And there is the possibility that you might not be able to maintain your motivation over long periods of time, as it is needed when learning the Chinese language.

It is important to set specific goals and ask yourself why do you want to start learning Chinese. You need to have concrete goals, like wanting to learn about their culture or communicating with clients from your job.

When you start learning Chinese you do not only learn the language, but also the culture, their habits, and way of living. They might seem different, like every culture, but not as you think.

Thinking You Can Apply the Logic from Other Languages

One of the most common mistakes people are doing when they start learning Chinese is thinking that the process will be easier if they have already learned other foreign languages. And while this may be true for languages from the same family, like Latin languages or Germanic ones, it is not valid for Chinese.

The logic of Chinese is very different from the one of other languages. And people who try to apply the Western logic to Chinese will have a hard and frustrating time when trying to learn it.

Chinese language, as well as other Asian languages, has its own logic. And the best thing you can do while learning Chinese is to forget every grammar or spelling rule from your language and immerse in the Chinese culture and way of communicating.



When starting to learn a language that is different from yours, like Chinese, it is helpful to completely forget all the logic, grammar and spelling rules. It is important to learn Chinese not only from a phonetic point of view but concentrate on characters and writing too.

After you discover and learn its mysteries, it will be easier to continue the learning process. Set yourself specific goals to help you maintain your motivation level high and learning Chinese will be simpler than ever.


Author Bio

Tobias Foster is a journalist, editor, and researcher offering online assignment help with more than 5 years’ work experience and big ambitions. Philosophy, marketing, and business are his passion, and he has a wealth of knowledge in that field. He is a master of his craft.