To demonstrate their open-mindedness and discover a mysterious language, more and more British students are taking to learn Chinese, one of the most practiced languages in schools!
A craze which is understandable given Chinese culture, but also because of it's very particular linguistic system.
By hiring a private Chinese tutor, it is possible to master phonetics and the Chinese accent within one year!
Now, let's discover the reasons why you should start Mandarin lessons!
Benefits of Learning Chinese
Whatever your subject of preference, opening yourself to a new culture through language learning, offers significant advantages for the brain and there are many reasons to learn Chinese
According to a study by the Journal of Neuroscience in 2015, bilinguals have a better cognitive flexibility and use less energy to perform a task than peers who speak only their native language.
Chinese language, in particular, is a miracle tool to make the brain work: speakers tend to be affected by Alzheimer's much later in life, than those who don't speak another language because the numerous Chinese characters develop muscle memory!
Proficiency in Chinese writing allows one to discover the art of the Chinese calligraphy, which develops creative faculty and skill.
Under this language hides many idioms filled with ancient cultural references. To understand these references, it is still necessary to know the Chinese characters. It is considered that, to understand everyday Chinese, you must know approximately 3,000 characters.
At a steady pace, a native English speaker can obtain a very good level of Chinese in only one year!
More importantly, the Chinese language doesn't have conjugations. Therefore, to form sentences in Chinese is simpler than writing or speaking in English!
Learn Chinese to work in China
Today, recruiters favour mobility in your CV: therefore, trips with a professional purpose and fluency in foreign languages will be strongly valued by managers in the UK.
China is THE ideal destination to prove your open-mindedness. If you are interested in a career in commerce, you can't ignore this rapidly growing market!
More and more people dream of learning Chinese to find a job in this amazing country.
According to an education correspondent at The Independent, China is the third favourite destination of students, growing considerably: departures to the country of the dragon have doubled within the past ten years!
Chinese universities favour bachelors. Thus, it is better to follow one of the following programs:
- A Bachelor's degree in Literature, Language and Foreign Civilization, Chinese speciality, which helps to better understand the language and its forms as well as the Chinese customs.
- A Bachelor's degree in Modern Languages, English-Chinese speciality, which focuses on the commercial aspect of teaching Chinese vocabulary adapted to the international exchanges.
Universities in the UK encourage exchanges between these two countries: thus, it will be easier to obtain an internship in China and land a job in China afterwards.
It will then be necessary to make a Z visa application to work in China legally!
For entry into the Chinese labour market, certain skills are favoured, related to certain areas of specialization:
- Chinese tourism
- New technologies (smartphones, computers, tablets etc.),
- Video games
- Online commerce
Experience in one of these markets will be particularly appreciated by Chinese recruiters: if you are bilingual and if you have a good knowledge of European and Asian business, it will be easier to stand out!
In order to master the language of Confucius, it is essential to master the Chinese accent, the Chinese traditions as well as the tonal aspects of the language. To be understood by commercial Asian companies, even to manage a team, oral communication is essential.
Learn Chinese & Discover an Ancient Culture
Learning a foreign language, it is above all, discovering a new culture!
It must be said that China amazes: The country is famous for its “Zen” doctrine and for the beauty of its landscapes and its architecture.
In China, religions and branches of these religions are numerous:
- Chinese astrology
- Feng Shui, etc.
China possesses its own mythology, where each God is presented as a former sovereign having reigned over the country. Learning Chinese theology allows us to see clearly the characteristics of the sinophone language.
For example, the Chinese ideogram 藥 has its origins on the god Shénong, nicknamed " the divine ploughman ", and it means the plants that heal because Shénong is the pioneer of the agricultural techniques in China.
Considering the depth and richness of Mandarin, isn't it a shame that more people aren't learning it?
Apart from its religions, China is well known for its sophisticated arts, sometimes difficult for us, British, to master.
This is why many schools, specialised in the Chinese arts, exist in the UK, many of them offering Mandarin lessons London:
- Martial Arts: Martial Art World, W Portway, Andover SP10 3LF, Hampshire;
- Chinese medicine and acupuncture: Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Suite 10, Brentano House Unit 5, The Exchange, Brent Cross Gardens, London NW4 3RJ;
- Taï Chi and Qi Gong (chinese yoga): Mei Quan Acdemy of Tai Chi,15 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NT
- Chinese origami: The Museum of East Asian Art, 12 Bennet Street, Bath, BA1 2QJ;
- Feng shui: The Feng London UK Consultant, 37 Park Hall Rd, London N2 9PT;
- Chinese pottery: Oriental Ceramics and Works of Art, 1st floor, 29, New Bond Street, London W1S 2RL.
Learning about Chinese culture and traditions will arise naturally from linguistic training. As the student, you will be able to decipher the traditions of China and facilitate your journeys abroad! Check out the Chinese lessons London mentioned above.
Learn Chinese to Visit China
The 4th most country visited in the world, China is a major player in international tourism, because citizens of the four corners of the world come to discover the Great Wall of China or the highest buildings in Hong-Kong.
During a 2015 poll, Pass Planet asked Internet users to note the best Chinese attractions out of 20:
- Landscapes: 19.25/20
- Chinese food: 17.10/20
- Safety: 16,93/20
- Tourist attractions: 16.30/20
- Quality/Price ratio: 16.06/20
- Cultural opportunities: 14.63/20
- Shopping: 14.61/20
- Travel Costs: 14.38/20
- “Han” Chinese attitude: 14.06/20
Mastering the language is a major advantage which allows British people to visit deep China without going through the famous pre-organized journey! Chinese lessons with a tutor can help you progress faster.
In China, as in the majority of tourist hot spots, sellers often agree to haggle: and it's not by speaking English that you'll save those yuans!
Speaking Chinese allows direct communication with natives without the need for a physical or digital translator.
By walking in the streets of Shanghai or Beijing, you will discover inaccessible places for the non bilingual tourists and understand the signs and other road indications without having to ask the way.
Taking Chinese courses also allows us to understand better the physical language of our Asian friends! Indeed, certain gestures are different from ours. A classic example is the British sign for the number 2, which actually means 8 in China.
Whether it is for a study holiday, to stay with a Chinese host family or simply for a holiday, learning pinyin, pronunciation and Chinese culture (manners, for example), will be essential to making a successful journey!
What better way to learn Chinese by immersing yourself in the culture?
Learning Chinese to Discover a New Language
The main interest in Learning Chinese is choosing a language diametrically opposite to the Latin languages which are so familiar to us.
Contrary to Spanish or Italian, where we can guess the meaning of this or that word, thanks to familiarity with these languages, here it is impossible to cheat!
Chinese characters must be studied one by one, and that's not all: ideograms sometimes have (if it's not all the time) several meanings.
For example, the sonogram 作 means at the same time; making, appearing, drafting, work, masterpiece and considering…!
Contrary to English, Chinese use tones during oral pronunciation: besides the characters, it will be necessary to remember their meaning because, according to the tone used, the word changes completely!
To facilitate the learning process, pinyin is used by the great majority of private Chinese tutors. This system of romanisation allows English speakers to study and visualize the latin writing of a character and to be able to review it's tones more effectively.
To master the Chinese language as a beginner, here is some advice:
- Visualize the signs: the characters sometimes represent scenes. With a little of imagination, it will be easier to remember the important sinograms.
- Practice tones: the four tones of the Chinese language are often difficult to master for English people. Thus, it's best to train with simple words, such as "my".
- Make mnemonic index cards: There are so many sinograms, that it's almost impossible not to go through the famous index cards of revision. Make sure to remember the signs previously learned thanks to a regular rhythm.
- Learn to speak with natives: theory is good, practice, is better especially with a native speaker! If you have no Chinese friends, get a Chinese pen pal, or better still, take Chinese lessons with a tutor. This will allow you to speak the language and practice your fluency.