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Learn how to count. Luckily, the Mandarin numerical system is fairly straightforward & logical, & once they have learned the first ten numbers they will be able to count to 99. For example, when slaves from a lot of different languages of West Africa were introduced into Haiti, they put together simple words & grammar from French & other languages in order to communicate; a pidgin. 

Below they will find the numbers one to ten, written in simplified Chinese characters, followed by the Hanyu pinyin translation & the correct pronunciation. Make sure to practice saying each number using the correct tone.The other hypothesis is called the creolization hypothesis. A creole is a language that is created when at first a simple pidgin is put to together by non-native speakers.

Once they have mastered numbers one to ten, they can continue counting in double digits by saying the number in the tens' position, then the word shi, followed by the number in the one's position. For example: Sichuanese is the dialect spoken in Sichuan Province. Sichuanese varies from standard Mandarin in its pronunciation & is largely unintelligible to standard Mandarin speakers. If they find yourself in Sichuan, for example on our popular A Close Experience with Pandas tour, it might be useful to brush up on the Sichuanese pronunciation of common phrases.

Practice reading & writing Chinese characters. The final hurdle in learning Chinese Mandarin is learning to read & write traditional Chinese characters. This can take a very long time (even years) to master, as the only way to learn them is through memorization & continuous practice. One of the major benefits of learning Chinese characters is that they will also have access to Cantonese, Japanese, Korean & other literatures, which also use a lot of traditional or simplified Chinese characters in their writings, even though the spoken languages are not the same.

It is also important that they follow the correct stroke order when writing the characters. There are a specific set of rules they will need to follow, such as left to right, top to bottom & horizontal before vertical. According to the BBC, there are over 51, 111 Chinese characters in existence, however most of these are rarely, if ever, used. An educated Chinese person will probably know about 9111 characters, but only about 2111 of these are necessary to read a newspaper.

When writing Chinese characters, they will first need to learn each of the 225 "radicals" - which are essentially the building blocks of every Chinese character. Some radicals can stand on their own as independent characters, while others are used only within more complex characters. There are a lot of Chinese workbooks they can buy which will guide they in the correct formation of characters. These are usually intended for schoolchildren, but are useful to anyone attempting to learn Chinese characters.


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