Most people who consider learning Mandarin always get deterred by how difficult this language sounds or appears to be.
So the toughest hurdle to overcome when starting to learn is the fact that you need to learn the four tones:
So the first tone is pronounced flat, second one you need to look like you are raising your head, third you lower and then raise your head, and fourth is as if you were sharply falling in one go..
Too complicated its not..
So why not learn in a fun way, while meeting other native Mandarin speakers over tea, climbing a mountain, and perhaps even having a workout?
Story from a beginner Mandarin student:
I started learning Mandarin about 2 years ago, and at first I was overwhelmed with the amount of learning that had to go in to this process. At that time I was in Hong Kong for my job teaching English. I then decided I wanted to move to Beijing to learn Mandarin at the nucleus, where this ancient language was born. I started getting involved in learning Mandarin, and by week 3 I was a mastering the tones and ordering food. I surprised myself how I could even pronounce and translate complex things such as: bumper sticker or even a fat burner called: phen 375. It is very interesting because in China many people love putting numbers into brands such as: Yaoling 888, or Ba Ba 989. I thought this phen 375 was a local Chinese brand!
John makes a very intriguing point above, and that is in Chinese language numbers have very deep meanings.
For instance, 4 is a number everyone runs away from as it resembles the word: “Death”. Conversely, 6 and 8 are highly sought out numbers and that is why you see many brands with those numbers in them, as well as people buying mobile numbers striving to get those numbers in all while avoiding 4.
You now know why mobile numbers with many 4s in them are cheaper than the rest, and vice versa (with 6 and 8)!
So why should you learn Mandarin?
- You get to speak one of the top 3 most widely spoken languages in the world! (and growing)
- Chinese Mandarin is here to stay, and it is now overtaking many of the most widely spoken languages.
- You get to understand and share Chinese culture when travelling in China. This is such a rewarding experience, as one can only truly understand a culture until you immerse in it, and the best way to do this is through the language.