Should I start with pinyin or Chinese characters?
If you are an adult and a total beginner of Chinese language, I would highly recommend you to learn Chinese alphabets - pinyin to start. if you are a very young child, I say you can start to learn Chinese characters and voice together. Why? Here is the reason.
Firstly, Chinese characters themselves do not give any indication on how to pronounce them. That is why Pinyin was created, as a guide to learning how to speak properly.
Secondly, to learn pinyin is a quick and easy way to start to voice chinese. You can voice almost 70%-90% of the Chinese words by yourself after a few hours learning. Check our LMF program here.
Thirdly, depending of the purpose of learning Chinese (passion for the language, moving to China or working with a Chinese company), the level you progress past Pinyin changes. If you just need to know how to speak, then you do not really have to learn characters at all. You can take as long as you need learning them, because knowing them or not will not affect the words you can say. Once you have got basic pronunciations down, start matching them with Chinese characters. And don't worry: learning Chinese characters is not as difficult as you think. Check our programs, we have many tips for you.
However, for a young child who is totally beginner of learning Chinese, we say 1- 5 years old, I recommend to use flash cards or songs to get start. The reason is simple, kids will learn when they will feel the class is fun and it will grab their attention. They see chinese characters as pictures. The earlier they will start to learn, the better they will be.
You may see young children sing and dance while they learn English. It is the same for learning Chinese. For children who has no one at home to speak Chinese with, to learn some vocabulary from flash card or songs or pictures, it will be best way to introduce them to Chinese. If you have a chinese teacher/tutor to help, soon, a simple chinese story book will do.
Repeating is very important. Many children remember words by repeating what they like. If they like a book with cars, they would like to read the cars' story over and over again. What you may not realize is that they remember the words in that book more and more.
Overall, pinyin is a tool to help people pronounce chinese properly. Once you know pinyin, you can voice all chinese words. And the important thing is that pinyin is very easy to learn. In our videos, you can learn chinese pinyin in 1 hour.