The Chinese language has always been seen as fascinating yet confusing to non-native speakers. Its complexities; the varying tones, thousands of characters, no relation between the spoken and written language and the vast number of dialects, its rich and intriguing history, its stark contrast to other modern foreign languages and of course China’s diverse culture have made many people feel like they “wish to learn it” but never do.
With the huge trade deals and investments coming to the UK from China, learning Chinese and understanding the culture has never been so important.
Nee Hao Magazine have teamed up with Hutong School, to bring you a series of articles about learning Chinese. Here are the top 5 reasons in this current climate why you should learn Chinese:
1) Business and economical career opportunities
An obvious one. The ability to speak Chinese will surely impress potential business partners and employers. Business Chinese as a course is very popular but is known for its difficulty due to many technical terms.
2) Be the envy of your friends
With Chinese being so much more low-key than most other modern languages in the UK, being able to speak it can make your friends not only be envious of and admire your talent for linguistics, but could also encourage them to follow suit – after all, word of mouth is one of the best forms of marketing!
3) Visit China and show off your skills
As mentioned before, learning Chinese at university allows you to visit China and other countries where Mandarin is spoken. This not only enriches your daily learning of the language but forces you to put your skills to the test. Many Chinese people will no doubt be surprised and delighted if you converse with them in their native tongue – some may not be able to understand you but most will likely get the gist and might even correct you. One of the most rewarding aspects of learning Chinese is knowing you can use it in daily life and be understood.
4) Understand Chinese culture and history as you learn
Chinese culture and history are both so elaborate and different to Western/British culture and history that it’s always fun to learn tidbits of them as you learn the language, like where a word originates from and the stories behind idioms and proverbs.
5) Lack of grammar and the beauty of Chinese script
The written Chinese language is one of the oldest in the world and while it has evolved as much as or more than many other languages, much of a lot of characters origins remain the same as when they were invented thousands of years ago. A number of university students may also study classical and ancient Chinese too. Chinese is also noted for its lack of grammar, making it in some ways, easier to learn sentence structures and tenses than European languages.
Hutong School is a prestigious international Chinese learning school that was founded in 2005 and now has branches based in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, London, Sydney, Paris, Milan and Brussels. You can also apply for internships in China with them that strengthen your language skills as you gain valuable work experience.
Teachers of the subject at all levels are also in high demand as the government hopes to quintuple their numbers by 2019; there are currently fewer than 300. At the moment, a number of universities offer Master degree and teaching courses that will mean those who pass will immediately be qualified and recognised teachers of Chinese as a foreign language.