Mandarin Chinese is the sixth official language spoken by the UN, United Nations. It has gained great importance in the world of linguists. Mandarin Chinese is the official language of China. It is shaped by the Beijing dialect and the dialects that are spoken in the Northern areas of China. Mandarin Chinese language is taught as Yuwen in Chinese courses.
China is emerging as the next superpower. If you want to do business with China, you need to mitigate the communication barrier. That can be done by learning the Mandarin Chinese language. Many developing countries have started offering Chinese learning courses to their people so that they can do business with China successfully.
Why You Need to Learn Mandarin Chinese Language
Learning the new language is a great skill and if you learn more than one language and become bilingual or multilingual then you will be able to stand out in the fierce competition. If you are clear about your objective in learning the Mandarin Chinese language then you will learn the Chinese language quickly without making much effort.
Understanding the Different Tones
Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language and the meaning of the words changes according to the tones. It does not make any difference even if the pronunciation and spellings are the same. It is very important to differentiate between the tones if you want to learn Mandarin Chinese correctly. Let’s have a look at four main tones.
- The first tone starts with a high pitch and it sounds high and flat with no fluctuation.
- The second tone rises moderately. Your voice rises from a low to middle pitch.
- The third tone is a dipping tone, and it fluctuates from the middle to low and then high.
- The fourth tone is lowering. It starts high and drops sharply to the bottom of the tone. English-speaking people often associate it with an angry command.
Understanding Basic Grammar
Some people have a misconception that grammar does not exist in the Chinese language, but the truth is grammar does exist and the grammar rules in the Chinese language are different from Indo-European and other language systems. Chinese is the analytic language that requires sheer dedication from learners.
- In Mandarin Chinese, there are no complex rules like gender, plural nouns, agreement, tense, and conjugations. Many words contain single syllables that are then combined to make compound words. It makes sentence composition straightforward.
- The Mandarin Chinese has its own set of grammar rules and they don’t have an equivalent in English and other Indo-European languages. For instance, the Chinese use grammar features like topic prominence, classifiers, and preferences. These are not used in other languages so it becomes difficult for learners to grasp.
- Despite all these differences, the Chinese use the same sentence sequence, i.e., subject, verb, and object and it makes the translation process easy.
Learning the Use of Pinyin
Pinyin is a system that is used for writing Mandarin Chinese. It uses the Roman alphabet. Hanyu Pinyin is the form of Romanization and it is used in textbooks for teaching materials.
- Pinyin helps people who want to learn Mandarin to focus on their pronunciation. It also helps them to read and write Mandarin without learning complex Chinese characters. As pinyin uses the Roman alphabet so the pronunciation of their letters is not familiar to English speakers so it needs to be studied carefully.
- It seems difficult to learn Pinyin but once you learn it then it is extremely beneficial for your language learning venture as it helps to recognize the traditional Chinese characters.
Practicing Reading and Writing Chinese Characters
The last step to learn Mandarin Chinese is to learn how to read and write traditional Chinese characters. It takes a lot of time because it requires memorization and continuous practice.
- As per the BBC, there are around 50,000 Chinese characters in existence but not all of them are used. The person who wants to learn the Chinese language needs to know about 8000 Chinese characters but the acknowledgment of 2000 characters is enough to read a newspaper.
- For writing the Chinese language, it is necessary to learn 214 radicals that are required for building blocks for every Chinese character. Some of the radicals are used independently while others are used to form complex characters.
- You can learn the correct formation of characters from Chinese workbooks. They are designed basically for schoolchildren, but it can be useful for those who want to learn Chinese characters.
If you learn Mandarin Chinese language, it will further help you in learning other languages like Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, and other forms of literature even though they are different languages. Learning a new language is not easy, and it requires time and effort. Last but not the least, consistency is the key!