« It’s easy to learn one thousand disciplines, but it is difficult to know one »
– Chinese proverb
With more than 850 million speakers worldwide, Chinese is the language most spoken on earth.
In the UK, the language of Confucius seduces students to such an extent that it’s the 5th place on the list of modern languages most chosen by secondary level students today.
Alain Anton, a UK Head teacher explained the process of learning Chinese:
“Starting secondary school, children have to know approximately eight hundred characters. At the end of the year, approximately one thousand and when they leave at 18, they are almost bilingual.”
Here are 10 good reasons to learn Chinese!
In 2015, 579,000 Brits chose to visit China, and this is expected to increase in 2017.
To immerse yourself into the Chinese culture, fluency is necessary. By mastering the language, it will be easier to decipher the wonderful dishes proposed in restaurants and to make good tourist choices. Taking conversational Chinese lessons will help you to communicate with the locals.
Know that in Beijing, as in many world capitals, it is possible to bargain. If you speak Chinese, you can avoid being fooled when buying your souvenirs and you will not look like a naïve tourist!
Besides, the real beauty of China is in its remote areas, that travellers are unlikely to visit. Here, the natives will not necessarily speak English so it is important to improve your language skills!
A Luóhàn zhai? Wassat? Photo credit: goblinbox_(queen_of_ad_hoc_bento) via VisualHunt.com
Improving your language skills and learning a foreign language, whatever it is, allows the bilingual speaker to develop intellect to prevent certain mental illnesses.
According to a study carried out by the Rotman Institute in 2010, bilingual people can postpone the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease for 4 or 5 years in comparison to people only speaking their mother tongue!
Mandarin is a tonal language which works both hemispheres of the brain. Speakers are able to develop their creative faculties and improve their memory. During Chinese courses, a private teacher will impart their know-how regarding phonetics, Chinese writing or even pronunciation in order to help the student to train their brain!
The Chinese language is also a good remedy against dyslexia: because Chinese characters represent ideas and words more visually, people affected by dyslexia will not have the same difficulties as in English.
In the UK, the Chinese community stands at around 500,000 people!
Although present in all the big cities, the Chinese diaspora sometimes has difficulty integrating.
This is why many Chinese associations have been created:
You can also find Mandarin courses London or UK wide with Superprof’s private tutors. Learning Chinese allow British people to extend a hand to their Asian neighbours and develop fraternal ties between both countries.
Chinese students ask to learn more about the British culture! Photo credit: Montgomery County Planning Commission via Visual hunt
By becoming friends with people of Chinese origin or Chinese speaking people, you can discover a whole other culture and, why not organise a language study vacation with a host family!
Discover other ways to learn Chinese if you are English…
In the business world, China has become a major player.
If you know the language of Confucius inside out, you are sure to get noticed by a manager, especially if you also speak English.
In addition to being a valuable skill over and above your competitors, Chinese learning demonstrates a certain open-mindedness which can be appealing to numerous recruiters.
Ideally of course, you would have taken some trips to China to demonstrate your mobility!
You could learn Mandarin as you explore China…
The most populated country in the world has more than one trick up its sleeve!
Learning the language is just one way of exposing yourself to Chinese culture, sometimes its complexities are difficult to understand especially by tourists.
The learning of the culture will come naturally, from the study of the Chinese signs, for example: in time, students understand the meaning of characters and their ancient origins.
Thanks to Chinese courses, you can discover:
“Happiness arises from misfortune, misfortune is hidden within happiness”, Lao Tseu would say. Photo via VisualHunt
It is even possible to take online Chinese courses via webcam: you can become a real sinophone without leaving the house!
The world’s largest economy in terms of GDP, the Peoples Republic of China is desirable by numerous British expats who want to discover new horizons by conquering the Chinese market.
Before settling down definitively in China, many Brits choose to study or pursue an internship there to become used to the customs of the country!
However, to understand Chinese politeness and traditions, Chinese language proficiency is strongly recommended: learning with natives is simpler and more enriching than reading a Chinese dictionary!
To work in China, ideally you will have studied Chinese: British universities have very strong links with China and can facilitate the definitive relocation of our fellow citizens.
Being a Chinese student is not mandatory to work in China: it’s possible to apply for a Z visa oneself. The validity of the Visa is 30 days, but can lead to a residence permit of a maximal duration of 1 year.
See also how learning Mandarin can boost your career…
Chinese, is it as difficult as is claimed?
According to the UNESCO, the answer is yes!
Here is the classification, performed in 2016, of the most complex languages to learn:
Nevertheless, Chinese learning is simpler than we think.
A headache due to reviewing the kanji? Why don’t you do a little bit of Yoga?? Photo credit: Edwin Lee (Fallout Media) via Visualhunt
As a matter of fact, the difficulty is in the Chinese characters which differ radically from our Latin alphabet.
To help beginners, private Chinese teachers start by teaching pinyin, a system of romanization of Mandarin which simplifies the language learning.
Once you have control over the characters, to speak Chinese as simple as speaking English!
In the Asian language, there are no conjugations, contrary to English. It is thus very easy to structure a complex sentence, because every word must be placed in its right place.
It’s easy, we’re telling you!
While exploring China, you may well learn the language and culture!
The proficiency of a modern language always impresses recruiters! Taking a Chinese Mandarin class in a language school could really help to set you apart from other candidates.
If you speak Chinese, it is imperative to indicate it in your CV. Even better “to prove” your level through language certifications:
To indicate your language level it is essential to reach out to the recruiters to give them some precision in your qualifications, as explained by Colette Coutarel, advisor of employment agency during an interview on January 22, 2015:
« To be able to specify a score, especially if it’s a good one, as in TOEIC (Test of International English for Communication) is a real plus for a recruiter. Right away, it says a lot. And if you don’t have it, it can be a good idea to take certain tests. »
To learn Mandarin perfectly, it is, of course, necessary to know the Chinese vocabulary, that involves inevitably, the written characters.
It is useless to learn them all: even the Chinese don’t know all the characters of their language.
Beyond its difficulty, learning the characters allows the student to develop creativity by letting themselves be carried away by the beauty of the writing.
Chinese calligraphy is a full art! Photo credit: lydia_x_liu via Visualhunt.com
Writing in Chinese requires some skill, touch and a little of imagination: the signs are more logical than we think!
Furthermore, learning is almost infinite: students will always discover signs they don’t know, among which some have double and even triple meanings.
The sheets of paper can be transformed into small works of art if you learn to master the Chinese calligraphy. Certain students get so passionate about the kanji, the kana and the katakana that they decide to get tattoos of certain signs!
Today in the UK, more than 20,000 students learn Chinese or Mandarin in school: a number that has increased ten times within ten years! Learning the Mandarin language is becoming even more important.
Because the Chinese language plays a more and more important role on the international commercial scene. Certainly, English remains the language that prevails in trade, but Mandarin remains second and sometimes surpasses its direct competitor during the exchanges between Asian countries.
Thanks to “made in China”, the language of ideograms is democratized in all the countries of the world, because Chinese is taught in schools worldwide!
Soon, the language of Confucius will become a mandatory competence to expand to international business: why not start today with a Chinese course.
Discover more great reasons to learn Chinese…