When people are talking about reasons to learn Mandarin, they usually repeat the same reasons over and over such as ‘China’s economy is booming’ or ‘it’s the most spoken language in the world’.
While these are all valid reasons for studying Chinese, they definitely aren’t the only ones… nor are they the most important ones!
Keep reading to find out what we think are the 6 REAL reasons to learn Chinese.
It’s more than just a language
Learning Mandarin Chinese will open up an entirely new world to you. Learning Mandarin is the gateway into a rich and ancient culture from which there is much to be gained.
Much can be learned about Chinese history through the study of Mandarin as well. Chinese history is long, rich and fascinating beyond words. The study of Chinese gives you the opportunity to learn so much more than just a language.
It’s a gateway to other Asian languages
You probably know by now that Chinese and Japanese share the same writing system – Chinese characters. In Japanese, they are called ‘kanji’ while in Chinese they are called ‘hanzi’. Having the ability to read Chinese characters will give you a huge advantage when beginning your study of Japanese.
Korean also shares some similarities with Chinese, mainly with regards to vocabulary. Mandarin is also the perfect gateway into learning other, less spoken dialects of Chinese such as Cantonese, spoken in the South of China and Hong Kong, or Shanghainese spoken in Shanghai.
It increases your travel options
Have you always wanted to travel through China but were daunted at the prospect of not being able to buy a train ticket or book a hotel room? Learning just the basics of Mandarin will enable you to do all those things and more. It is a misconception that in certain parts of China people can’t speak Mandarin.
While Mandarin may not be every Chinese person’s native language (it is just one of the many dialects of Chinese), pretty much everyone is able to speak and understand it. It is not just in mainland China that people speak Mandarin. Taiwan and Singapore are also Mandarin speaking countries and Thailand, Malaysia as well as Indonesia all have a significant number of Chinese speakers.
It’s extremely rewarding
If you go to China you will see that almost nobody expects you to be able to speak their language. Knowing even a little bit of Chinese will blow people away and give you the opportunity to make new and interesting friends.
Chinese people often feel it is they who should be able to speak English and are shy to talk to Westerners if their English is not up to par. If you take it upon yourself to show people you’re putting effort into learning to speak their language, they will be very happy. No matter how good or bad you speak, you will undoubtedly be showered with compliments.
Chinese characters are beautiful
Chinese characters are interesting and beautiful to look at. The history and development of Chinese characters is also extremely fascinating. Chinese calligraphy is a revered art form in Asia and there are people who have studied for years to become master calligraphers. You may just find yourself absorbed in the art of handwriting these interesting symbols.
It opens your mind to new concepts
In Chinese there exists concepts which baffle a lot of people when they first start learning. For example, expressing meaning through the tone of a word as opposed to its sound or representing words as unique symbols as opposed to a combination of letters. Growing accustomed to these new concepts helps us to open our minds to new things that we wouldn’t have ever thought of before!
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