How to Improve your Chinese Speaking

So you’ve been learning Chinese for awhile, and practicing your reading skills, but you need to improve your Chinese speaking skills. Many people think that improving their Chinese skills is a hopeless task because it takes so much hard work. We all know that the best way to learn and improve in your Chinese language skills is to spend time in a Chinese speaking country, which just isn’t possible for everyone. While it’s true that time and hard work is going to help you improve, there are also some fun easy steps that you can take to improve your skills without making it feel like work! Here are some easy tips to improve your Chinese speaking skills:

  1. Read aloud! If you’re already using Du Chinese to practice your reading, start reading aloud as you go through your lessons! One of the best ways to improve your speaking is to improve your vocabulary, and reading is the best way to improve your vocabulary! Each Du Chinese lesson has a recording with a native speaker, so listen to the recording and speak along with them to make sure you are hitting the right tones. 
  2. Watch Chinese TV shows. One of the hardest things once you start speaking with native speakers is following along with the speed at which they are speaking. Watching Chinese TV shows will help you to learn natural speech patterns. You can also turn on subtitles so that you can follow along and speak with the actors. TV shows are also a great way to learn colloquialisms that you may not learn in a formal learning environment.
  3. Listen to/learn Chinese songs. Immersing yourself in a language is one of the best ways to improve your language skills, and music is an important part of any language/culture. Often songs lyrics will use uncommon words or phrases that are more poetic than normal speech, so listening to music can help you to improve your vocabulary. Singers also tend to pronounce the words more clearly than people speaking regularly. If you memorize some songs, you will learn the pronunciation better, and it has the added benefit of helping you when you go out to the KTV
  4. Listen to Chinese talk radio/podcasts. There are many podcasts these days from various Chinese speaking countries where you can listen to the daily news in Chinese. Like English-speaking newscasters, the language and tone of a newscaster in Chinese is a little more formal but spoken clearly so it is perfect for someone trying to improve their Chinese. Plus, the news changes every day, so there will always be new vocabulary words to learn! 
  5. Practice, practice, practice! Just try to work Chinese speaking into your day every day. If you know people to practice with, that’s great! If you don’t, just practice speaking to yourself. When you’re driving in the car talk about your day to practice your vocabulary. The more comfortable you are speaking in Chinese, the easier it will be for you to speak when you find yourself in situations where you can speak with native Chinese speakers. 

Learning Chinese can be hard, but it can also be fun! As you can see, there are a lot of simple ways to improve your speaking while you are on the path to learning Chinese! One thing you’ll find is that if you spend some time every day, you’ll see improvement. It’s like training for a sport: if you only train for 8 hours on Saturday rather than one hour every day, you’re going to struggle. Make a plan, spend at least 10 minutes a day and focus on whatever you want to improve most: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening.

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