You’ll find that there are so many questions to be answered about life and culture in China, as well as about the Mandarin language itself. For this reason, I thought it important to discuss some of those language questions (and possible answers) here. I hope this list of frequently asked questions will be of benefit to you.
Why Learn Chinese?
With more than one billion people around the globe speaking this language, it’s not that difficult to see why learning Chinese would be important. Then, when you consider the strength of China and its rise to prominence as a world power, you can easily see how knowing this language would help in fostering relations with this country. For those who feel they are across the world and have virtually no contact with anyone who speaks the language, let me just say that to NOT learn Chinese would be to limit yourself to possibilities. With easy access to communication worldwide and the ability to conduct business across the globe, cutting yourself off from more than one billion people does not seem like a wise choice.
Which Chinese Language Should I Learn?
Although there are hundred, possibly thousands, of Chinese dialects, there are two main languages spoken in China, Cantonese and Mandarin. Due to the fact that Mandarin is the official language, I lean toward this option. However, if you will be most exclusively be dealing with friends or colleagues from Hong Kong or the Guang Dong province, then Cantonese might be a bettter option. Still, Mandarin is much easier to learn with fewer tones and a romanization system of PinYin to help you learn the characters.
How Long Will it Take to Learn Chinese?
Depending on your language skills and dedication, it will vary. Many who live in the country have found themselves conversing easily with other in as little as three to six months. However, I have seen for myself friends living there for more than five years who still cannot speak Mandarin. Gauge the time frame for yourself by understanding that the more time and effort invested, the more quickly you will learn it.
How Can I Learn Chinese?
Probably the number one way to learn is by listening. As anyone learns his mother tongue, you’ll notice that he has probably heard the language for a year or more before ever attempting to speak the language. The more you listen and watch others using this language, the easier it will be to learn.
How Can I Learn Chinese Fast?
By focusing on a few key elements, you can learn Chinese rather quickly. But, when I say FOCUS, I mean an in-depth knowledge of, not just a familiarity with certain key elements. These elements are
If you focus on these areas, in this order, you’ll learn Chinese faster than you ever thought possible. Of course, there are thousands of resources available that will help you learn these, but I suggest that you find multimedia that can help you learn. The more senses engaged while learning, the easier it will be to learn.