I have been learning Mandarin Far eastern for over 5 many years now and I believe I am capable to give tips on what to learn Far eastern.
Someone deciding to embark on their lifetime process of Mandarin Chinese learning I do believe should start along with the very basic foundation of the Chinese language. These include the basic phonetics of the language. I believe the best way how to discover Mandarin Chinese is to first master all 60 and perhaps of these sounds. I recommend perhaps spending a few weeks or even two months getting all these kind of sounds down pat as perfectly since you, even before people start learning how to say "hello" and also anything else for that matter. This may get monotonous and boring at first, but you will thank yourself years later for this.
I personally are fortunate enough to have attained a very high level of Mandarin Far eastern pronunciation. I believe this is partly since that I spent a substantial amount of time polishing my pronunciation inside early stages. We can't stress this enough, because once you develop a bad habit in pronunciation it's very hard to take out, and that is not really how you want to learn Chinese.
I might suggest getting a recording, or CD, or something of an native speaker (with perfect "standard" pronunciation) and listening to those sounds inside your sleep. I can't attest to no matter whether this is some sort of contributing factor to my accurate pronunciation, but it IS something I did early on. At this point I don't think it is necessary to learn the 4 shades, as learning new phonetics AND learning how to add tones to those words is simply too much for the brain to bear all at once. Focus on one thing at a time so as not to be overwhelmed.
When practicing this "bo po mo fo de te ne le ge ke" etc make sure to always say everything in the same tone. Most of these recordings the speaker is saying them using the main tone. This is a high level tone that doesn't go up or down. Almost like singing an increased note. Every word should be practiced using the exact same tone. This will get you ready for any other 3 ringtones later as tones are extremely important in Mandarin Chinese. However, don't let the tones scare people or put you off. If you are not musically inclined or are completely tone deaf and you simply are confident you will not ever be able to master these tones take comfort in that if you have good enough pronunciation the shades won't matter as you will find yourself understood even while using the wrong tones. It's such as having an highlight. When a foreigner speaks English you know right away they aren't native English by the way they talk together with Mandarin Chinese is not a exception. I am very pleased with the reality that when I speak with Mandarin Chinese people over the phone they don't no My organization is foreign. I have met other foreigners with also attained this standard and these people also were superior singers, so that may be a factor in their own natural talent.
I would also recommend not thinking about learning ways to read or generate Mandarin Chinese characters at this point. I think the best way how to learn Mandarin Chinese is always to just focus relating to the speaking and listening. Reading and writing will come later and could be the most difficult areas of this language. For the beginning you might just learn the romanized version of the language known since "PinYin", which is a Mandarin Chinese word meaning "Spell Sound/Pronounce".
The speaking is actually surprisingly easy despite the "difficult" reputation Mandarin Far eastern has. I was very surprised while i began to figure out how to speak Mandarin Chinese with regards to how easy it can be.
So in my opinion if you want to know how to learn Mandarin Chinese, get started with the basic 60 or so phonetics, also known as the "initials/consonants" together with "finals/vowels". Don't try to learn any actual words and soon you have those mastered, because once you've got mastered those phonetics there's nothing else to learn for the rest ever experience in regards to pronunciation. Unlike English where by even us native speakers need to read proper pronunciation of new words once we don't have hard and fast rules ie "through" together with "tough", both end in "ough" nevertheless pronunciation is different and the only way to know may be to remember. Mandarin Chinese is not really like this, so that's great for us!
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