Mandarin is “too hard” to learn, right? Despite this widely-held belief, millions of people are studying Mandarin Chinese as a second language. But if it’s so hard, why bother to learn Mandarin?
Is Mandarin Difficult?
There is no doubt that written Chinese is difficult to learn – even for the Chinese! But the spoken language is a different kettle of fish.
In many ways, Mandarin Chinese is much easier to learn than European languages. Here are some features which make Mandarin easy:
- no subject/verb agreement
- no plurals
- no conjugations
- no tenses
- simple numbering system which is applied to dates and time expressions
- simple conditional sentences
- simple prepositions
Why Learn Mandarin?
So Mandarin is easy, but why learn it? The number one reason is that Mandarin Chinese is the most widely-spoken language in the world. Learn to speak Mandarin and you can speak with millions of people around the world. More reasons:
- Business - Business people who speak Mandarin have a huge advantage in tapping into the Chinese market. It is much easier to develop all-important relationships if you can speak Mandarin.
- Travel - China and Taiwan offer exciting travel opportunities. Getting around is much easier if you can speak Mandarin.
- Culture - With thousands of years of history, Chinese culture is endlessly fascinating. Whether your interests are in history, architecture, music, or cuisine, a knowledge of Mandarin will enrich your understanding of Chinese culture.
The Chinese writing system is 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.
So take the challenge and learn Mandarin Chinese! It is your ticket to a lifetime of reward.