The traditional method of learning Chinese : Pinyin + Character memorisation is difficult if you do not start from young. This is because the brains of mature learners whose mother tongues are Latin alphabet languages (phonograms) such as English, French, Spanish, German etc have difficulty to adapt to a system of phonograms (pinyin) + logograms (Chinese written characters) since their brains have been attuned to the Latin alphabet language system.
Therefore a good strategy of learning Mandarin is to master Pinyin first as this is similar to Latin alphabet language.
The Pinyin method is suitable for beginners who do not want to spend a lot of time and money to learn Mandarin as you can use it in common day-to-day scenarios. If the student wishes to proceed further in learning Mandarin, then learning the written characters would help to avoid the confusion arising from similar sounds. The student can proceed to take up the course Basic Module on Chinese Characters offered by the School if he/she wants to proceed further. The course is targeted to launch in Q2 of 2021.
Below diagram illustrates that for the English word “car”, the Mandarin equivalent comprises of both the sound and the pictorial form. Hence learning Pinyin first would help the foreigners to slowly adapt to the Mandarin language’s process of “double tasking”.
For those who intend to take the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (Chinese Proficiency Test), a complete list of Chinese characters associated with the Pinyin is provided. You will have the detailed information which include the meaning, grammar type, HSK category etc. A sample is shown below: