For some learners it can be more appealing to only learn how to speak Mandarin and omit the reading and writing aspect or vice versa.

The resources of our website are categorised into sections for speaking & reading and writing to accommodate for all learners although we do highly recommend to learn all three. While it is possible to learn only specific aspects of Mandarin, it is recommended to learn the speaking, reading and writing together because it'll generally make life easier when it comes to the practical aspect.

Only Learning to Speak

There are various reasons why someone might only want to learn this specific aspect of Mandarin such as for brief travel purposes or to communicate with a partner but whatever the reason it is certainly doable.

A core part of speaking Mandarin is understanding how the tones work. The first step you should take towards speaking Mandarin is laying a foundation in Mandarin tones. This means being able to differentiate between tones in hearing and also being able to speak them correctly. Only after having this foundation in tones should you work towards properly expanding your vocabulary and building sentences otherwise no-one who speaks Mandarin will be able to understand what you're saying.

Only Learning to Read and Write

It's much rarer for someone to want to only learn to read and write but it does still happen.

For learning to read and write we still recommend a general understanding of tones because it helps to distinguish characters with the same sounds but different tones to the sound. This distinction helps to associate meanings with different tones too. Following from tones you should look to get a basic understanding of pinyin. Finally, you should learn that Mandarin characters are made up of 'radicals' and therefore seeking out the 100 or so most common radicals and learning these before learning more complex characters will give you a better foundation for learning and memorising characters.

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