Have you ever wondered how to speak Chinese quickly?
Hi. I want to share with you a simple method by using everyday objects and pictures. Research has shown that we process information quicker when we connect it with photographs.
Connect words with pictures
Imagine saying the word hamburger. What comes to your mind?
But how does this information come about?
It came to us from our memory. We have stored a picture of the hamburger we once had. So learning to speak a foreign language with photographs or photographs, especially food, is one of the quickest ways to kick-start your speaking Chinese journey.
As a cross-cultural communicator and consultant, a speaker and a certified trainer, I love to show people how to speak Chinese as a foreign language to help them communicate and socialize more confidently. I learned Chinese since I was a kid. I’ve always been watching how my ordinary and uneducated parents pick up a foreign language.
Imagine a situation in my house. There is my brother, me and my sister. The three of us took up Chinese as our foreign language other than English. My mother tongue is Malay. So parents always struggled with making us understand their point of view in their language. Over time they also had to pick up what we learned to get through life every day. As I watched my parents learn to speak English and Hokkien, I came to understand that one does not require a book or a translator to get started to speak a foreign language at all.
Today I will show you a method that I’ve been using and also daily. It is so easy, and everybody can use it.
Ordering Food In A Restaurant
So imagine you are going to order food from a restaurant. We usually will see a picture of the dish on the menu. However, at some very high-end restaurants or dining places, you may not even see photos of the food on the menu.
I love to cook. This is my steamed fish. I use this as an example to help you build your vocabulary with a simple dish. – Hanifa K. Cook
So how do you get started? Firstly, you will look at the name of the menu. In this case, it is steamed fish. The word ‘steamed’ is an adjective. ‘Steam’ can also be used as a verb or a noun. So by looking at the word, you can immediately decide whether to order the food.
Now when you’re reading a Chinese character, you will notice that there will not be any Han Yu Pin Yin or the transliteration to help you pronounce. So how can you learn how to speak this word? The first thing is to ask the waiter or your friend who is dining with you. So that’s how you get started, right? So these are simple ways you can use to pick up a language quickly, either with the help of your friend or the waiter.
When you look at a photograph of the food, you also tend to deconstruct the dish. You do this to form a picture of what this dish is. For instance, you want to find out if it’s steamed or fried. So, you will start asking a lot of questions. It is because this is a dish that you have eaten before. You are familiar with this dish. Or you are simply curious. As a result, you’ll start to deconstruct this dish.
We deconstruct the dish even before we order the food.
Here I have deconstructed the dish, and I have added words to each picture. I have yet to categorize them, whether it is a noun or adverb or whatever. But this is how we see things when deconstructing a dish.
I see fish, steam, soup, thyme,e oven, water. You can also use other words that come to your head like chilli, tablecloth and there are the eyes, the fins, the tail, right? So the more you start to collect information from this picture, the more likely it will help you form a list of words and build new vocabulary. Next, you can categorize them as a noun, an adjective, a verb or an adverb. Then, you form a sentence with the SVO formula.
As we form sentences, we want to use these sentences to help us convey a message to our friends. Excellent, that is how quickly you learn to speak Chinse quickly. The primary difficulty is forming a sentence. If you find this challenging, then it is that you do not know how to make a sentence in the first place. You may think it is a silly way to put it. Indeed, that is how it is. But that is the actual reason people keep getting frustrated with speaking Chinese because they seem to only focus on building vocabulary instead of making sentences.
Today I will show you a simple way to get started. It is called the SVO method. SVO stands for subject, verb and object.
Here are some examples.
and in a subject, of course, you can see in the sentence is,
I eat a banana
She walks to school,
He speaks Chinese.
As you can see, each of these sentences consists of a subject, a verb and an object. That is your typical sentence. So when we’re looking at translation, you translate the following simple sentences.
‘I eat banana’,
“They play football”,
‘He speaks Chinese.’
So this is not at all challenging because all you need to do is place those words that we have discussed earlier into the different categories.
I eat a banana.
The banana eats me.
You can already get started to speak Chinese by using everyday objects and also a picture.
Just look at the picture here. What do you see?
Use this picture and build your vocabulary words
- Make a list of things you wish to learn about this picture
- Organise the list, do not try to use verbs, adjectives or adverbs
- Use the simple sentence formula SVO and for a sentence.
- Translate the sentence using this formula : I see ‘name of thing’
- Translate this sentence word for word.
- I see curtain, I see window, I see trees (omit the article the), I see you.
Do you see me?
Do you see the curtain behind?
And do you see the window?
Do you see the tree?
So from the picture, we can tell a lot of stories. You can get a snapshot of this picture and start putting words around them. Register these words in your mind. Next, form sentences with these words.
I can see this.
I can see that.
I can speak Chinese.
See how fast you can get started to speak Chinese with the SVO method.