Teaching Chinese To English Speakers

Perhaps the only similarity between Chinese and English is the widespread belief that both are difficult to master. For this reason, they are not always easy to instruct. Here are several linguistic snares that often arise while teaching English to Chinese speakers, as well as some potential solutions.

Tone: The use of flat, rising, rising-falling, and falling tones in Mandarin Chinese is one of the language's most distinctive features. Despite the fact that English contains tones for things like inquiries and enthusiasm, these tones are typically not crucial to the meaning of the words themselves. Don't forget this while interacting with Chinese language learners or teaching English. It's not uncommon for Chinese students of English to emulate their foreign instructor's pronunciation or intonation. Therefore, be conscious of the variations in your voice and work to avoid making sudden changes in tone.

Many speakers speak English with a variety of accents, but only a small number speak one of a handful of unique dialects. Also, the few linguistic varieties that exist tend to stay apart from one another. As a matter of fact, in Chinese it is not. Standard Mandarin is taught in schools across China, so most people can speak it within a few years, although there are thousands of regional variations. Because of these linguistic quirks, a person in Nanjing may have no trouble understanding an English word or notion, whereas someone in Chengdu may have a much harder time.

While it's probable that the majority of your class will have a similar background, it's also vital to remember that not everyone comes from the same location. Positively, in my experience, native Chinese speakers like discussing the nuances between regional varieties of the language. It's baffling, but in an amusing way.

As with any language, the context in which a Chinese word is used is crucial to understanding its meaning. I'm not sure how many times the conversational context has rescued me as a foreigner who has trouble with tones and pronunciation. Since so many Chinese words have the same pronunciation, dependence on context is ingrained even among native speakers.

Consequently, native Chinese speakers may not comprehend the nuances of some English phrases in certain situations because of differences in how they listen to spoken words compared to native English speakers. Incorporating new vocabulary into students' everyday speech and writing is a great way to ensure that they are learning the terms and using them correctly. This may take some time, so please be patient and remember the importance of the context.

Teachers of English to Chinese speakers must be aware that their students will not learn to read Chinese characters or pinyin in the same manner that their students will learn to read English. You can't just glance at a Chinese character and "sound it out" the way elementary school students learn to do with English words. Not all Chinese characters are pictographs, despite common perception.

Smaller stroke parts are joined to form characters; there is no alphabet in Chinese. Therefore, before studying English, students must master not just the Roman alphabet but also the notion of an alphabet. Students who have learned to read sounds with Roman letters in a different method may be thrown off by Pinyin, the Anglicized spelling of Chinese characters. You will essentially have to unteach them all of it.

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