You are thinking about learning Chinese, but you aren't sure whether you should take the plunge? You have heard rumors of the economical rise of China but your friends are telling you that learning Chinese as a foreigner is "close to impossible"? Well, this article is for you: We are going to lay out some reasons why today is the best day to start learning Chinese.
1. Reach of the Chinese language
Mandarin Chinese, along with English and Spanish is one of the three most widely spoken languages in the world. There are around 1 billion, yes that right 1 billion native speakers. It is not only spoken in Mainland China, but is also frequently used in Hongkong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Image credit: "New-Map-Sinophone World" by ASDFGHJ - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons
Dark Blue: Countries identified Chinese as a primary, administrative, or native language
Blue Green: Countries with more than 5,000,000 Chinese speakers
Blue: Countries with more than 1,000,000 Chinese speakers
Light Blue: Countries with more than 500,000 Chinese speakers
Rosé: Countries with more than 100,000 Chinese speakers
2. Chinese Culture
China boasts one of the longest continuous culture in the world, more than 5.000 years. Whether it is traditional novels like "the journey to the west" and the "three kingdoms" or Calligraphy and Chinese Opera, the Chinese culture is one of the richest there is to discover. Learning Chinese and especially the Chinese characters are an essential key to opening the door to Chinese culture.
To get some practical advice on how to best learn Chinese characters, see here.
3. Business in China
This one is not a secret anymore. China's economy has been continuously growing at an annual rate of at least 7% GDP over the last years. It has passed the U.S. and Germany as the biggest exporting country. China is home to international companies like Huawei, Haier and Alibaba so the chances you will have to deal with China in your current or next job aren't that low.
Image Credit: CircleAdrian - Created on Excel from World Bank World Development Indicators 2014 data, CC BY-SA 3.0
4. Travel in China
Besides business, China is also one of the most diverse countries when it comes to traveling. There are excessive parties in million people metropolis like Beijing and Shanghai, hiking tours in beautiful nature in the tiger-leaping gorge and historic monuments like the terracotta warriors and the Potala temple. Knowing some Chinese enables you to actually find your way on your own.
Zizzle Co-Founder Kevin in Zhangjiajie.
5. Chinese Food
You could probably stay with your local Chinese restaurant. But there is no way your local shop comes even close to the originals in China. The Chinese have the so called "Eight Culinary Cuisines" with thousands of variations. And nowhere in the world is dining as social as in China: Your first try at Ma La Xiang Guo will probably be unforgettable not only because of the taste.
6. Chinese Philosophy
So you know all about Aristoteles and Kant? Get to know Confucius who was one of the most influential thought leader in the world. Or try implementing the strategies describes in Sunzi's "the art of war" the next time you are having trouble with colleagues, parents or your pet.
7. Chinese language
Yes, this one might sound a little bit paradox, but one of the best reasons for learning Chinese is the language itself. Besides being more or less unique in the vast pool of languages, it is actually not that difficult. Apart from the characters (where we have a solution for you), the grammar is really simple and even the pronunciation is manageable with some practice.
Read here for more information!
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