Guest post by The Chairman’s Bao.
I know what you’re thinking… it makes so much more sense for me to stick to learning Latin-based languages. Why would I ever consider learning a language as extreme as Mandarin Chinese? And, where would I even start? Hold that thought!
There has never been a better time to start learning Mandarin Chinese. Fact! What’s more, it might not even be as difficult as you first thought… let me explain:
Mandarin Chinese isn’t difficult, it’s just different
Firstly, Chinese vocabulary just makes sense. Words are constructed from a set of roots, called radicals. With knowledge of these radicals (there are 214 – which really isn’t that many in the grand scheme of things!) we are able to group characters and grasp their meanings. Radical, right?
Mandarin Chinese grammar is also extremely simple. There are no verb conjugations, nor gender-specific nouns, and tenses are expressed simply using time phrases such as ‘yesterday’ and ‘tomorrow’. So you can throw away those verb and tense tables!
If that wasn’t enough to persuade you to pick up a textbook, there’s also a Romanization system of Mandarin Chinese called pinyin, which means you don’t even have to learn Chinese characters if you don’t want to! What about the tones, you say? Easy – just find a Chinese language partner and practice speaking Chinese when you can; soon enough your tones will fall into place naturally.
Open yourself to one of the world’s most diverse cultures
There are 56 ethnic groups in China and each group has its own unique customs, culture, architecture and even language. In fact, there are over 200 languages in use in China – but don’t let that put you off, as the majority of the population speak Mandarin Chinese (as well as Cantonese in the South). There is nothing more beautiful than being able to travel and interact with people in a language familiar to them, and it can often build a sense of trust and understanding that can be hard to obtain without knowledge of the language. Sail down the Yangtze or take a 24,000 ft cable car through the mountains of Zhangjiajie (which were the inspiration for the Hallelujah Mountains in Avatar!). One thing’s for sure, take a trip to China and you’ll never look back!
Mandarin Chinese will get you noticed
We all know that employers love their workforce to be able to speak a multitude of languages, but as China’s economy became the world’s largest in 2014, people with Mandarin Chinese language skills have never been more attractive to prospective employers!
The truth is I could have given you a million reasons to learn Mandarin Chinese, but one still remains – challenge yourself. Mandarin Chinese is a fantastic language and I have no doubt that if you set yourself the target, you will learn to love it!
For more blogs such as this, visit The Chairman’s Bao.
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