Spanish and French have always been the go-to choices when it comes to learning a foreign language, with most of us studying one or the other back in school. However, those choices have begun to expand in recent years with the addition of Mandarin Chinese. Mandarin has also become in-demand at language centers here in Denver and throughout the U.S., with more and more adults interested in picking up this dynamic language. Why is that? Here are some key reasons for its growing popularity.
Mandarin opens doors to worldwide travel and communication.
Mandarin is not only the dominant Chinese dialect spoken in China, but it’s also spoken in Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia, and frequently used in Chinese communities (like Chinatowns) in countries like the U.S. Collectively, that adds up to roughly 900 million Mandarin speakers in the world, which is a fifth of the entire planet! Just think of the deeper and more diverse travel experiences and knowledge of Mandarin could open for you!
The language has an impressive history and fascinating structure.
Mandarin is a language with some serious history. Archaeologists have discovered early forms of Chinese writing on animal bones and tortoise shells dating back to the Shang Dynasty–over 3,000 years ago! That makes Chinese one of the oldest written languages still in use.
The way it’s written is also part of Mandarin’s unique appeal; it’s doesn’t use an alphabet, but rather symbols. These symbols are called Chinese characters, and each character stands for one word. There are over 500,000 Chinese characters in use, and unlike our own English alphabet, new characters are being added to the Chinese writing system regularly. Mandarin Chinese also features four tones, and each tone can change the meaning of a word. These tones give Mandarin a musical sound that distinguishes it from many other languages.
Mandarin— especially the grammar—is not as hard as you think!
The uniqueness of the Mandarin writing system and tonal pronunciation might make you think it’s impossible to learn, but don’t get intimidated! There are other aspects of the language that are not as hard, and in fact, Chinese grammar is actually simpler than that of many other languages. For example, there are no conjugations for verbs in Mandarin, meaning verbs don’t need to be changed into different tenses to agree with the nouns they modify, as is the case in “Romance” languages such as French, Italian, or Spanish.
Learning Mandarin will give you a professional advantage.
Learning any foreign language can be an advantage in the workplace, but in the business world, knowing even a bit of Mandarin can be an especially smart choice. China is a massive country with corresponding global influence. Its powerful manufacturing and economic sectors make it the second largest economy in the world, and China is a well-established trading partner with Western countries such as the United States. In other words, if you do international business, you’re bound to do business with Chinese speakers. Learning some Mandarin will help you create stronger partnerships with Chinese business partners and associates. And if you become fluent, you’ll have a professional skill that few members of the Western workforce have. That means you’ll stand out in your company as a team player with your finger on the pulse of international business trends.
Can you see yourself learning Mandarin with us in Denver? Get started here! And remember what Laozi, a Daoist Chinese philosopher of the 6th century BCE, said: “A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.”
BridgeLanguages offers private and language group classes in Mandarin, Spanish, French, German and other languages.