Second to English, Mandarin Chinese is the most prominent language with the highest number of speakers (1,117 million speakers = 918 million native speakers + 199 million non-native speakers) globally. Learning it isn't only a great way to befriend a vast population but to treat yourself with insights into Chinese cultural values, history, and literature. If you love to travel or look forward to venturing into some of the significant economic and business hubs globally, learning Mandarin Chinese is the first helpful art you'd want to jump in.
Essentially, Mandarin is among the most complicated languages to learn due to its complicated script style. It has four tones, and this tonal nature of Mandarin causes the written characters or words to refer to more than one meaning. The pronunciation differentiates the meaning, which the beginners find challenging to get used to. Although you'd find countless free or paid courses, with so much information available online, you might end up overwhelming yourself.
So, what's the right way to start?
Before knowing how to learn Mandarin Chinese, let's find out why you should learn it.
In the 14th century, Mandarin Chinese was first documented in the Yuan Dynasty. Though it originated from North China, it soon became famous as a dialect. During the Ming Dynasty, the capital of the People's Republic of China switched from Nanjing to Beijing. As Mandarin is based on Beijing's local dialect, it eventually emerged as the official language of the court.
As Mandarin got popular among the natives, it is now concentrated in certain regions, unlike English, which is spoken and written in all major parts of the world. Nevertheless, Mandarin Chinese has had a journey to cover before it became the official language of China in 1982. Since 1932, Mandarin has also become the official language of Taiwan.
Soon Mandarin Chinese was declared one of the eight UN's (United Nations') official languages, whereas Singapore also treats it as one of its four official languages. Northern and Southwestern China hold the most number of people communicating in Mandarin. Malaysia and Tibet also have a significant number of Mandarin speakers.
Besides gaining traditional and cultural insights, learning Mandarin Chinese expands your business opportunities. With China and Taiwan emerging as two of the enormous economic powers in the world, they are likely to attract tons of businesses and cultures in the upcoming decade. As language is an essential tool of communication, good command of the language your target audience speaks may brighten up your business's success rate.
Here's why you should start learning Mandarin Chinese from today:
It boosts your personal brand and résumé, improving your career prospects.
It enables you to have a smooth conversation with over a billion people on Earth.
It's easy to learn with so many in-person and online training platforms available, and with Taipei language institute being one of the most trustworthy Chinese learning centers around the globe, you don't need to bang your head here and there.
Let's find out how to learn Mandarin Chinese on your own or at least get started with it:
One of the best tips any language mentor can offer you is to practice the language you're currently learning during your daily interactions. Surprising, no? If you want to be a Mandarin Chinese expert, you've to get to a point where what you're even thinking or the processing is in Mandarin Chinese. When you continuously communicate in Mandarin, use it while brainstorming ideas or getting your message across. Your subconscious identity starts making it a habit to bring Chinese vocabulary into your mind when talking.
You become what you consume – more accurate than you think it is. The content you consume has a significant impact on your personality. Therefore, if you're curious about how to learn Mandarin Chinese, the most crucial step would be to watch Mandarin Chinese documentaries, movies, and videos with Mandarin subtitles on. Notice how the characters or the narrators pronounce each word and sentence. Familiarize yourself with how the vocabulary sounds.
Constructive criticism nurtures you. Even though the people constantly correcting your grammar in your texts or consistently nudging you about your incorrect pronunciation annoy you, it refers to the company that will help you improve your spoken and written language. Learning Mandarin is a skill that you polish with time coupled with the interest you really develop in it, and the unbiased feedback from your peers makes this improvement faster.
Gone are the days when only textbook nerds were successful. Just as you can't learn how you ride a bicycle only by reading about it, you can't learn Mandarin Chinese without putting yourself in real-life situations where you have to speak or write it. An excellent way would be to challenge yourself to participate in a Mandarin speech or writing competition.
Despite what we just told you about how to learn Mandarin Chinese, you won't become a pro-Mandarin conversationalist overnight. Like every craft, it'd require your determination and consistency. You have to prefer discipline over short-term motivation to learn it.
Although it'd take you a few weeks to get going with the phrases you might need to "break the ice" in your conversations, if you'd like to get into the language's depth, it may take you up to 5 years or more. To make that a fun journey, we at TLI (Taipei language institute) have prepared a series of courses to help you learn Chinese with flexible schedules, premises, and costs.
One of our students, Paula from Brazil, admitted that learning Chinese at TLI (Taipei language institute) has made her daily interactions in China more manageable and more fulfilling. Other than that, if it makes you curious why an experienced program director would recommend his student pursue classical and modern Mandarin at Taipei language institute, click here to know more about him and the practicalities of learning Mandarin. So, what are you waiting for? Get your seat today.