Similar word order as English
You often find that a direct translation from English to Chinese, word by word, pretty well. Because Chinese uses the same “subject + verb + object” sentence order as English.
Nouns don’t have gender!
In most Latino languages, genders are a huge source of frustration. It makes no sense to me why “bread” is masculine while “water” is feminine. But Chinese nouns don’t have gender at all.
Nouns don’t have plurals
For those who learn English, they need to memorize when to add “-s” and when to add “-es” for plural form. What is worse is those irregular plurals, for example, one sheep/two sheep. For Chinese, kiss all these goodbye!
A? An? The? Chinese has no article at all. “猫(māo)” is for either “a cat” or “the cat”. So you only need to learn the nouns.
No verb conjugation
In English, the verb in a sentence changes form depending on the pronoun. In Chinese, the verbs only take one form regardless of the pronoun. No matter what the subject is, the verb never changes. For example, “am”, “is”, “are” are all “是(shì)”.
It’s always hard for a Chinese to learn tense in English. Because we don’t have tenses at all. Most of the time, it’s simply indicated by a word such as “today”, “yesterday” or “tomorrow”. The verbs or sentence structures will never change. There are 16 tenses in English. You can save your time when you learn Chinese.
Logical word creation
As you progress, you will notice that many new words you learn are simply creative combinations of other basic words you have learned before. For example: 飞(fēi) means “to fly” while 机(jī) means “machine”. Guess what “飞机” means? An airplane.
Logical character creation
Pictograms/ideograms/radical-phonetic compounds make characters not that hard as you thought. Look at the picture before:
You might still think it’s impossible to learn characters, but Chinese has Pinyin. Pinyin is fully phonetic and can be learned very quickly since there are only about 400 different syllables in the Chinese languages, compared to thousands in Western languages.
Since English is not a tonal language, it is hard to master tone. But the fact is you can usually understand people even if you can’t make out the tones. The context of the conversation helps a lot in a real life.
Now do you feel more confident? Don’t wait any more. Let’s start your first Chinese class.