China is one of the fastest-growing nations in the world, they have the second-largest economy on this planet, one of the reasons for their rapid growth is due to investing in the development of other countries. We all know them, we have all seen them, paving our roads and building our bridges.
Nigeria is playing a major role in China’s expansion, so many cultural and trade opportunities have opened up between the two countries, and there is a great number of Nigerians who want to learn the Chinese language.
A recent news blog entry reported over 14,000 Nigerians have learned Chinese in the past three years. Learning Chinese in Nigeria benefits those who did in various ways. First, there is almost absolute certainty you will get a job or school scholarship in China if you did. For instance, those who knew Chinese are sought after to serve as Chinese to English or English to Chinese translators.
Some are attending Chinese classes to learn the language for fun, just as a second language. And many parents are bringing their kids forward to learn Chinese, kids as young as 6 are receiving Chinese lessons. They are preparing them to adapt to the future, because China is undeniably shaping a big part of it.
To learn the Chinese language, you ought to begin by embracing the fact that it is a difficult language to learn. Chinese has many different dialects, most of which are spoken by a great number of people in China, but the two most popular are Mandarin and Cantonese.
The difference between the two dialects is so vast Mandarin speakers don’t understand Cantonese speakers and vice versa. However, Mandarin is the official Chinese dialect spoken across China and even in Taiwan and Singapore.
We recommend if you are going to learn Chinese you learn the Mandarin dialect, not that there is anything wrong with learning Cantonese but if you want to be understood by the majority and you want to grab those scholarship opportunities, then Mandarin should be your choice of learning.
Mastery of the Chinese language begins with a Chinese tutor, the best Chinese tutors are usually native Chinese speakers or people that have been to China and lived there for a while.
They can teach oral Chinese and Chinese characters. Below is a complete guide on how to start Chinese lessons with a tutor in Nigeria.
Steps To Choosing Your Chinese Teacher in Nigeria
To begin your Mandarin lessons, you need to pick your Chinese lesson teacher wisely, look through their tutor profiles and compare their qualifications before deciding on who will teach you Mandarin.
Among the things you should consider before deciding on a lesson teacher is what do you want to gain at the end of the Chinese lessons, i.e. what are your expectations? Do you want to learn enough to interact with locals once you travel there? Or do you wish to become bilingual? Or are you trying to learn Chinese because it is becoming a relevant skill in our 21st-century economy?
Set out your goals clearly, because it will help you to choose your ideal Chinese lesson teacher based on their area of specialization. There are Chinese tutors who teach little primary school kids, there are those who teach simple basic Mandarin and those who teach intensive classes for adults, and many others we did not mention but that are very important in learning Chinese, your end goal will decide which type you are going to pick.
It takes on average 5 years to master the Chinese language, from the use of its characters to speaking it fluently, and at least 3 years to be sufficiently good at it. So how do you find that Chinese lesson teacher that has what it takes?
We really wish we could tell you a trick, or give you a simple tip, but we can’t, the only way is to be thorough in your selection process. At Superprof, you can view each tutor's profile and decide for yourself if they are good for you. Their profiles are vetted and verified so that you can rest assured they will deliver on their promise.
Still, if you are not sure which Chinese tutor is best for you, the first lesson is usually free, so you have the chance to decide afterward.
There are not many places where you can successfully learn Chinese in Nigeria, because despite the spike in interest, there aren’t that many who are teaching it. This is even more pronounced if you live anywhere outside of Abuja and Lagos.
The only other known place besides private tutors is the Confucius Institute. It is located inside the University of Lagos and teaches Mandarin to anyone who cares to learn. From little children taken there by their parents to adults, everyone goes there to learn Mandarin.
They have different levels of learning, right from basic Chinese courses to ones for advanced learners, but they can only be found in Lagos. Hence, for the rest of the states, a private Chinese tutor is the alternative.
You need to know about 4,000-6,000 words to make everyday conversation. So it is worth taking your time to look thoroughly into the Chinese teacher you want to hire if you want to get a shot at this difficult language.
To put things into perspective let’s take a look at some of the qualities that make a Chinese tutor:
- The Chinese tutor has taken and passed the HSK (Hanyu Shiuping Kaoshi) diploma, it’s a standardized Chinese language test.
- The tutor should have a fair knowledge of Chinese culture because it is very important in learning Chinese. They incorporate their culture deeply into every aspect of the language.
- The tutor should listen to his students and respond.
All of these are going to affect the price of private Chinese lessons.
The Cost Of Chinese Language Lessons In Nigeria
The price for Mandarin lessons is not fixed, it varies with every tutor, they fix their own amount mostly based on experience. Home lessons can be a bit expensive because of the rarity of finding good Chinese tutors near you.
The alternative is to find Chinese tutors online, that way you can learn from the comfort of your home. And as an added bonus, you can select only the best to teach you. We have a few here on Superprof, you can filter the search to include only those who offer online classes.
If you live in Lagos you can join the Confucius Institute we talked about. Their Mandarin courses cost about ₦10,000.
The advantage of learning in the institute is that you get to learn with other students, meaning you will be surrounded by people you can practice your Mandarin with, and the teachers are usually Chinese natives and are very experienced.
But despite all that you can still supplement the classes with a private tutor at home that can help you learn faster and more efficiently, it takes weeks and months to cover even the basics of the Chinese language in a classroom.
If you still don’t want to pay for any tuition there are always free apps you can download for learning Chinese.
Learn more about the cost of Chinese lessons in Nigeria here.
How To Prepare For Mandarin Lessons
The Chinese admit the Chinese language is hard, there is nothing anyone can do about it or is there?
You can choose to learn Chinese slowly and arduously, or you can choose to learn skillfully and smartly, which would you go for? Skillfully of course, but how?
Simply preparing for the lessons ahead of time will significantly improve your chances of mastering Chinese, you will be spitting vocabulary and inscribing Chinese calligraphy in no time.
You can begin with listening intently and memorizing as much of the lesson as you can, also re-read regularly everything you have learned during the lesson.
Furthermore, you need to practice and revise your Chinese lessons as often as is possible, especially during the time before going to bed or early when you wake up. One of the best ways to practice the Chinese language and adapt to it quickly is by immersing yourself in its literature and media.
How Can You Immerse Yourself In The Chinese Language Completely?
Read from Chinese materials you find, whether newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. You need to be more familiar with the language, and reading Chinese publications helps you become familiar with it, and you even pick up new vocabulary.
And it’s not just reading, you should watch Chinese movies too. You can begin watching with subtitles, but as Mandarin grows on you, you will be able to watch and understand without the subtitles.
This will help develop your reading, listening and speaking skills from a contemporary perspective, because you are not just reading from a textbook written decades ago, but you are interacting with current Chinese issues, news and culture.
Practicing Your Mandarin Outside Of Classes
Of course, having a private Chinese tutor or enrolling in a Chinese course is sure to teach you Mandarin. But a few hours of Chinese lessons every week is not how you master the language of the people of the far east, you need to practice outside of your normal lessons.
Just like in the above, to truly be good at Mandarin you will need to read magazines, listen to radio talk shows in Chinese and watch Chinese TV. But also, find time to revise everything you have learned so far.
Some websites, apps and other online tools you can try for learning the Chinese language are as follows, in no particular order.
Hello Chinese app
The platform that connects tutors and students