Do you need some inspiration to learn Mandarin Chinese, then look no further, here are some amazing Chinese sayings that will motivate and inspire you in equal measure, wise words picked from the great minds of ancient Chinese philosophers, writers and scholars.


"Qiānlǐ zhī xíng, shǐ yú zú xià."


“The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”

Have you told a friend you’re starting to learn Mandarin Chinese and they say it’s crazy difficult? Honestly, learning Mandarin Chinese is a challenge and at times maybe daunting, but it is definitely a lot easier than many people and learners think it is. The Chinese learning journey is something to embrace and everyone has to begin from somewhere. It’s worth taking the leap to learn a fascinating language which is steadily rising in popularity. And here at Instant Mandarin we’re here to help you get started or hop on your journey with you. We will help break down Mandarin lesson by lesson to make it easier for you to understand and follow.


"Xué rú nìshuǐ xíngzhōu, bú jìn zé tuì."


"Studying is like rowing upstream, no advance is to drop back"

This is the perfect analogy for learning Chinese, studying the language really is like rowing a boat upstream. You need to keep on rowing upwards and make progress otherwise as soon as you stop rowing or practicing you will regress. So keep on persevering, keep on learning, keep on working, keep on studying, and get better better, you will reap the rewards.


"Shīfu lǐng jìn mén, xiūxíng zài gèrén."


“Your teacher can open the door but you must enter by yourself.”

At the end of the day, the teacher can teach you, inspire you, motivate you, but then it’s really down to you, and we can’t stress this anymore. We will teach you what you need to know and give you platform but you must capitalize on this to succeed. Learning should not stop when the class is over you need to continue to review, practice and learn, how much effort you put into improving your Chinese is what you get out of it. As with all languages you only improve with hardwork and focus. Our teachers will unlock the door and it’s up to you to take the next steps.


"bú pà màn, jiù pà tíng."

"不怕慢, 就怕停。"

“Be not afraid of growing slowly; Be afraid only of standing still.”

Another sage piece of wisdom about ‘progression’. Life and learning is truly all about progression and evolution. And for those lucky enough to reach some kinds of Chinese fluency will know this, if you don’t keep on learning or practicing it’s so easy to fall onto a plateau or even fall back. You should feel there has been sufficient growth or improvement in yourself and feel much more confident no matter how small the progress. Learning a few new vocabulary, sentences or a new language point a day or watching some Chinese videos will help. Although easier said than done, fitting into a consistent and working learning pattern will work wonders. Standing still is definitely a no no.


“Shòu rén yǐ yú,bùrú shòu rén yǐ yú”


“Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

We can teach you to go into a restaurant in China and say you’d like to eat egg and tomato rice. But if we teach you the meaning of the words, the sentence pattern, and more vocabulary, then you will be able to go into a restaurant and ask for anything you want to eat. With regards to learning Chinese it’s essential to learn pinyin, characters and language points so you once you have a solid grounding it will be much easier for you to continue learning and improving.


“Yù bù zhuó bù chéng qì”


Jade requires polishing to turn into a gem

This saying actually exists in many countries and cultures and abides by the axiom practice makes perfect. This is especially true with regards to getting your Chinese speaking as fluent and as perfect as possible. They require hours and hours of practice. The best thing to do to polish your Chinese speaking is to speak more, and to especially speak more with native Chinese people, whether a language partner or a tutor who will be able to point out your misakes but also allow you to express yourself with ease. Believe in yourself as every language learner is or was once a rough diamond waiting to be polished.


So that’s it, here are our 6 Chinese sayings to help you on your way to learning Chinese. Don’t forget if you’re looking for online Chinese lessons and a online native Chinese tutor we’re here to help. Sign up for your free trial lesson to see how our lessons work and to consult with one of our professional tutors.

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