Pertinence is one of the important principles that should be obeyed in choosing grammar points. In grammar points choosing, the pertinence emphasizes choosing teaching contents according to the learners’ learning characteristics under the precondition of considering systematic grammar teaching. Is Chinese language difficult to learn? The answer is no. There are three points that teachers in Mandarin learning courses should pay attention to in the teaching process.
First of all, the teaching contents should be different according to the learners who come from different cultures. Teachers should make comparisons between the Chinese language and the learners’ native languages. By comparison, the teaching points can be assured to take the advantage of their native languages to study Chinese.
Generally speaking, if a language feature has no difference in both languages, it is easy for students to learn Mandarin. It would be difficult for learners to learn if certain language characteristic exists in the target language but not in the mother tongue. It will be much more difficult to study if a certain language feature exists in both languages but has a tiny difference. Therefore, teachers should explain the differences clearly in Chinese teaching. The followings are some examples.
For the learners that regard English as the native language, the word order of “S-V-O” in the Chinese language is not difficult to learn at all because it is the same in English. Therefore, it isn’t a teaching point. However, for the Japanese who come to learn Chinese in China, this point should be emphasized. Or they would say the sentence like “我一本书买” because the word order in Japanese is “S-O-V”.
When English speakers study in China, they may find the pivotal sentence in the Chinese language easy to learn. At the elementary level, the commonly seen ones are “请、叫、让、要”, for instance, “他请/叫/让/要我去一下他的办公室”. There is also the same pattern in English. However, the students of the elementary level regard “请” as “please” and “问” as “ask”. Therefore, they may say “He asked me to go to his office” as “他问我去他的办公室”.
Accordingly, we believe that for English speakers who learn the Chinese language at the elementary level, teachers should on one hand not spend much time explaining the sentence pattern “请/叫/让/要+某人+干某事”. On the other hand, teachers should emphasize particularly the meaning and application of it in this situation.
Another point that teachers should pay attention to is to help students to feel the characteristics of the Chinese language gradually when they learn Mandarin Chinese. The characteristics of the Chinese language are reflected in the grammar points. Therefore, there is no help in improving students’ grammar ability to introduce grammar features generally. Teachers should guide students to feel them through specific language phenomena.
For instance, at the elementary level, teachers can stress the sentences of the pattern “N1-N2-Adj” such as “他眼睛很大” and “街上人很多”. It is necessary to guide students to pay attention to such sentence structure and summarize in proper time as well as remind them when they learn to speak Chinese. By this way, learners can feel the pattern of “主题+评论” in the Chinese language.
However, not all the mistakes are affected by their native languages. There are a variety of reasons can cause the mistakes such as the learning strategy which is related to the teaching methods. Therefore, teachers should collect and analyze the mistakes made by students thus adjusting the teaching contents and grammar points with pertinence to teach Mandarin Chinese better.
Quantifier teaching is an important point for students of the primary level. At the very beginning, students often forget to add the quantifiers between the numerals and nouns like “一书” and “一桌子”. However, after the emphasis on the quantifier, learners may say “我要在中国一个年” when learning Mandarin Chinese. Therefore, it is necessary for teachers to remind them of the words with particularity.
How to learn Chinese effectively? Check out Keats School’s top 10 tips for learning Chinese.
All in all, the choice of grammar points should be pertinent. Only when teachers choose the teaching contents correctly according to the students’ features can they teach the Chinese language effectively.