Why Learn Mandarin Chinese?
Mandarin Chinese is the most widely-spoken Chinese language in the world.
Business - Speak Mandarin have a huge advantage in tapping into the Chinese market.
Travel - Getting around is much easier while you are in China if you can speak Mandarin.
Culture - Chinese culture is endlessly fascinating. Whether your interests are in history, architecture, music, martial arts, acupuncture or cuisine the knowledge of Mandarin will enrich your understanding of Chinese culture.
Employment – Ability of using Mandarin is definitely an asset for your career.
Is Mandarin Difficult?
In many ways, Mandarin Chinese is much easier to learn than European languages. Here are some features which make Mandarin easy:
Chinese is a very logical language
No subject/verb agreement
No irregular verbs or noun plurals
No suffixes for tense, number, case, etc.
Simple numbering system which is applied to dates and time expressions
Simple conditional sentences
The writing system is surely one of the most fascinating scripts in the world. To write a Chinese character seems quite a challenge, but this is another reason to learn it! Despite its difficulty, learning to read and write Chinese will give you a lifetime of intellectual stimulation. The real beauty of the language is revealed in the writing. There are thousands of Chinese characters, but they are not randomly constructed. There is a system to their design, and understanding that system makes it much easier to learn new characters.
Chinese Calligraphy is one type of great ancient visual art. This may give you another attractive motivation to learn Chinese.
How Difficult is It?
What nobody is really talking about is whether or not these people will
actually be able to learn to speak Mandarin with any degree of
fluency. For anyone who has been thinking “Gee, I’d like to learn Mandarin,” I think you ought to know something about learning Mandarin: getting fluent in Mandarin is extremely difficult, and very few non-Chinese people are able to become functional speakers and writers of Mandarin.
Don’t give up!
Ivy is from Singapore and is a native speaker of English and Hokkien
(another Chinese language). She speaks fluent Mandarin. She blogs about world cultures and more at Nanyate?!
Kelly studied Chinese at university and uses her Mandarin skills doing
translation work. She writes about languages on her site Aspiring Polyglot.
John has lived and worked in China for almost 6 years and uses Chinese
every day. His site is Yuehan.org.
I can speak 50 languages
I'm often asked what the secret is, and whether some people have an aptitude for absorbing words and phrases. The truth is, predictably, it's down to endless hours of concentration – reading, studying and practising grammar, as well as my own technique called "shadowing", which involves walking briskly outdoors while listening to a recorded language and repeating it out loud.