Should We Learn Pinyin First?
As a total beginner to learn Chinese you may found it hard to decide where to start. Answers from people are usually Pinyin, tones or oral Chinese. To learn Chinese systematically, Pinyin would cost a huge part of your time. Well, since it plays a vital role in Chinese phonetic system, is it necessary to learn it as a start?
To a lot of people it would be a YES. When kids in China start their Mandarin course they learn Pinyin before they write a single character. Although learning Pinyin is not the only way of handling the pronunciation, it is the most efficient one. And it seems impossible for a new learner to remember the pronunciation of each character. There have to be a reference such as “book-itchy” for “不客气(bú kè qi)” or “Julie” for “助理(zhù lǐ)”. And Pinyin seems to be a better choice.
Another way of learning Chinese could be of more fun. Learning how to use Pinyin could also be in the process of learning Chinese as well. If you are not able to stand the beginning 3-4 hours absorbing all the initials and finals as well as tones without any Chinese words or phrases in practice. It is also feasible to straightly start Mandarin class with one or two Pinyin in each class.
In a word, whether to start only with Pinyin or not it is of your choice depending on your needs and interests.