Elemantra Academy Presents

Learning Chinese effectively from Master Trainer Lim Kian Chye

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Learning Chinese requires a different approach than learning a Western language. That has to do with the fact that Chinese is a tonal language.


We asked Lim Kian Chye, Elemantra’s Chinese Language Master Trainer, what the best way to learn Mandarin is. Kian Chye has extensive experience in education and training, has given Chinese lessons for years and produced training materials specially designed for anyone who wants to learn the language.

What is a tonal language, actually?

“A tonal language is one in which the meaning of a word can vary dramatically when even just one of its syllables is spoken in another tone. Pronunciation and spelling are different systems in Chinese. That’s quite a contrast to English, where pronunciation and spelling are related.

What does this mean in terms of how you approach learning Chinese?

“The keys to learning Chinese are correct pronunciation and the method used for learning words. You begin by learning the tones, then move on to pronouncing words, and then take it a step further by learning to pronounce whole sentences. Only once you have mastered this do you focus on grammar and begin constructing your own sentences. That’s completely different to learning other languages, where reading, writing, listening and speaking are more interwoven and therefore learned simultaneously.

If you approach learning Chinese the same way you approach learning Western languages, there’s a fairly good chance that despite all your efforts and the time you’ve invested, you still won’t be understood by the Chinese although that being said, the Chinese do generally appreciate someone trying to learn their language.

Kian Chye has outlined a step-by-step plan for learning Chinese below; the most important step is mastering pronunciation. He recommends practising with a Chinese trainer like himself who can give you immediate feedback.

The step-by-step plan for learning Chinese by Master Trainer Lim Kian Chye can be found in Elemantra’s Blog Site (click to learn more).

Interested in learning Chinese with Lim Kian Chye?

The Elemantra method ensures that you learn to speak a Mother Tongue language quickly and effectively. Our highly qualified trainers teach you the skills, vocabulary and grammar that you need for your specific situation so you can immediately start communicating in the language. 

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