Written Chinese reflects the vocabulary and grammar of the most broadly used Chinese oral language. Speakers of the nonstandard Chinese languages learn this vocabulary and grammar, often pronouncing the words in their own local ways, when they learn to read and write. Written Chinese characters really have no phonetic pronunciation and can be spoken in a variety of ways depending on the dialect used. There have been a number of ways of rendering Chinese words into English. Written records of the dialects spoken today date from the 8th century AD, consisting largely of Buddhist religious subjects. The alphabet of this period, which reflects the pronunciation of the time, is still in use today.
Written colloquial Cantonese has become quite popular in online chat rooms and instant messaging, although for formal written communications, Cantonese speakers still normally use standard written Chinese. Written Chinese, however, tends to be uniform in vocabulary and structure, regardless of the dialect of the speaker.
Students may ask what their names are in Chinese, but there are not direct translations. English names are transliterated into Chinese, i.e., given Chinese names that sound like English names but may mean something very different. Students learn 229 of the most basic Chinese characters and components that form hundreds and thousands of other Chinese characters and words. Students interested in taking classes at the Chinese language school in Shanghai, China can take general or specialized Chinese language courses. In general however, the vast majority of people who travel to Shanghai end up taking the general Chinese language group programs.
Students will generally learn 80 basic Chinese sentences which include 450 words and expressions and 40 grammar points. You should find a course that enables you to communicate in daily life with Chinese speakers and study, work, and travel in Chinese without depending too much on an interpreter. Good language programs will mostly consist of a language class and cultural activities. Students should also learn vocabularies and sentences often used in daily living. Teaching materials should include situational dialogues for class and for home practice.
Students can choose to live privately or share with an arranged roommate if they choose to go abroad. Students are encouraged to actively learn through speaking and listening rather than just passive study. The combination of intensive spoken practice and everyday exposure provides the most effective means to improve one’s practical grasp of Chinese. Students need to learn to speak, read and write in Chinese. They should also try to learn Chinese games, songs and dances.
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