The first step: learn the pinyin system which lets you grasp the way to speak mandarin. Standard pronunciation and tonal accuracy is the solid foundation of your coming move on your future Chinese learning.
Step 2: you need a well-designed learning series set for a beginner-to-advanced systematic learning. A couple of things should be taken into consideration like the publishing time, version, simplified or traditional Chinese form, because many expressions used in older books are out-of-date. Keep in mind the best way of learning Chinese is the spiral approach, meaning in the circulation of new things, application and review.
Chinese learning is character learning since Chinese characters take the core position. though there are about 80,000 characters, a few thousands of them are more than enough. You will find a new Chinese symbol encountered is combined with two symbols you have learned previously. Learn the simple and frequently used Chinese characters first. As you learn more and more Chinese symbols, you will begin to be able to guess the meaning of some new ones.
Step 3: Listening Skills
Ears are your important gateway to absorb new words also. Think about how you learn your mother tongue when you are a baby. You get to know every thing by ears. So concentrate on listening whenever you have time, if you have mp3 or iPod, you even may listen the conversation when you are jogging. find some things that are interesting and keep on practicing your Chinese listening skills.
Step 4: Review, Review and Review
Do not miss any opportunity to practice reading and writing Chinese characters. Some tools are helpful. Flashcards, such as Chinese Character Flashcards or Chinese in a Flash, demonstrate character combinations, their pronunciation in pinyin, the meaning in English and the usage. Carry some cards with you and refer to them when you have a moment. The regular review of these symbols reinforces your memory.