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In Canada, there’s a fair amount of linguistic diversity to be found in its 10 provinces, with large cities like Toronto and Vancouver teeming with languages from around the world. To no one’s surprise, English and French are the most spoken languages in Canada; but did you know that Mandarin is the third most common mother tongue?
Mandarin is the official language in Mainland China and Taiwan. It is used by most of the Chinese primary schools, colleges, and universities, as well in most of their mainstream media, including movies, radio, television, and music. Cantonese, however, is primarily used in the Guangdong and Guangxi provinces in Southern China and until the 1997 British handover of Hong Kong to China, Cantonese was the primary language of Hong Kong. Most Chinese communities in Australia, Europe, North America, and other parts of the world also use Cantonese as their primary language. But in recent years, the number of Mandarin-speaking Chinese people living abroad has rapidly increased as more Northern Chinese are Taiwanese immigrants playing a larger and more active role in the global culture and economics.
In reality, Cantonese is by far the more challenging of the two languages, particularly for a beginning Chinese language learner. This is because there are more tones used in Cantonese (Cantonese uses up to nine tones, whereas Mandarin only uses four). Getting the tone right is vital in ensuring that the word has the meaning you intend.
If you are wanting to learn Chinese in Canada, your best option for the sake of ease and utility is Mandarin. With a one hour personalized tutoring session with a Superprof Canada chinese tutor, you can learn the basics about the language and determine where you need to start, improve, or advance.
It’s natural to utilize and involve your first language in everything you do. From watching TV, listening to music, reading the paper, and more you’re incorporating language in everything you do at home.If you’re picking up a second or third language like Chinese and are wanting to practice at home, a great way to start is by swapping out your native language for your target language, as much a you possibly can.
You can even make small changes in your daily life and routine by changing the language settings of your phone and other gadgets into Chinese. Additionally, take a visit to any local bookstore (or library) in Canada and you’ll find a language section where you can find vocabulary cards and a dictionary - what better way to provide new reading material before bedtime!
It is imperative to your Chinese language learning to include Chinese in your daily activities and routine. Like a baby learning their first language, you need exposure and to really grasp the language in order to progress and learn.
The great thing about Superprof tutors here in Canada is that they are available to you in person or online! That’s right, you can practice Chinese with your personal tutor right from home. It’s never been so easy!
Okay, so you’re incorporating Chinese into your daily life now, but how can you improve your speaking/oral skills in the language? First of all, give yourself some grace. It is completely normal that you do not sound like a native Chinese speaker, you are still learning, afterall. Secondly, don’t be shy! Start small by reading Chinese literature (of any kind) aloud. Start alone, then try with your local Superprof Canada tutor. One on one speaking practice is highly effective when learning a language, additionally, it is exactly what your personal tutor is there for.
In addition to focusing on accents and tones in your comprehension skills practice, you may need to incorporate even more general practices into your study to take your Chinese listening practice to the next level.
If you're looking for the perfect training material to improve your Chinese listening skills I recommend listening to short, understandable, video clips on topics that capture your attention and interest. No one learns from repetitive, boring exercises on subjects that are not relevant to their life, so make it fun for you! Of course, with learning any new skill or language, it is also important to set attainable goals. By knowing what you are trying to achieve, you know where you should focus and how you can reach your goals.
Start with a small Chinese listening practice goal, and reward yourself once you reach it. For instance, try listening to a podcast for 10 minutes everyday, and if you have a higher skill level, you can make your goal harder to achieve. Have you ever thought of having a day where you only use Mandarin to communicate with people? Implementing these short-term, attainable goals like this will give way to huge progress in your listening and speaking skills in a short period of time.
Need further help in improving your listening skills? Our tutors here in Canada are here to help you attain your language goals in Chinese - no matter your level. Oftentimes, the first session is free! No need to put off being a multilingual individual, book today!