Is It Worth It To Learn Chinese?


Is It Worth It To Learn Chinese

Chinese is one of the more popular foreign languages learned in schools worldwide today. There are also college, universities, even private tutors offering lessons in Mandarin Chinese. However, Chinese is a hard language to learn, which may make you feel if is it worth it to learn Chinese. 

It is worth it to learn Chinese, because you benefit from mastering the language in many ways:

  • You Get To Speak The Language Spoken By Over 1 Billion People
  • Excellent Job Opportunities
  • You Learn About Chinese Culture
  • You Get To Impress People
  • You Travel Easier
  • Chinese Is Not As Hard To Learn

In this article, we explore is it worth it to learn Chinese, and 7 reasons why you will benefit a lot from learning the language.

How Many People Are Learning Chinese Today?

Chinese is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, with over 1.3 billion native speakers.

It’s also becoming an increasingly popular language to learn, thanks in part to China’s growing economic power and influence.

While it’s difficult to know the exact number of people learning Chinese, we can make some educated guesses. There were an estimated 100 million people learning Chinese as a foreign language in 2020.

There are also estimates that over 200 million people worldwide had learned the Chinese language in some form. This means Mandarin Chinese is a very popular language for many to learn. 

In place such as Britain, there are more students learning Mandarin than German for their A-levels (something similar to a high-school diploma). 

That number is likely to have increased since then, given the continued interest in Chinese language and culture.

Is It Worth It To Learn Chinese?

One thing about learning Chinese is that it is not the easiest language to learn. It has tonal pronunciation, and can be alien.

It also has a wierd writing system, and may require rote memorization. Some Chinese characters can have many strokes too, making them hard to remember.

But many has embarked on the journey, and are glad they did so. This is because after learning Chinese, they benefit in the ways below.

You Get To Speak The Language Spoken By Over 1 Billion People

Chinese is the official language of China, and Taiwan. It is also the main language in many places, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. 

Chinese is also spoken by the Chinese diaspora, or overseas Chinese communities, all over the world. Take a look at any major cities, and there will be a Chinatown. 

When it comes to number of speakers. Chinese is definitely the most spoken language in the world, with other European languages such as English or Spanish coming second. 

So if you are a practical, number-based person, you would see the worth of learning Chinese. You can now speak with over 1 billion people in their native language!

Is It Worth It To Learn Chinese?

Excellent Economic and Career Opportunities

Learning Chinese can open up excellent job and business opportunities. This is especially true if you want to do business in China, or any other country with a large Chinese-speaking population. We all probably know by now the booming economy of China.

It also helps if you are looking for a job in the East Asia region. For example, many international companies and government organizations need people who can speak both English and Chinese.

This is because Chinese speakers are not known to be very proficient in English, especially with the older generation.

The younger ones are improving, but there is still a lot of demand for people capable to speak English and Chinese very well. You can go in as a translator, or as a go-between, helping Chinese companies and Anglo-American firms connect and do business together.

Master these two languages, and you will notice your career opportunities open wide like a sesame door.

You Learn About Chinese Culture

Chinese culture has a lot to offer, and by learning the language, you can gain a deeper understanding of its customs, beliefs, and values.

Many Chinese characters have a historical and cultural significance that reflects the country’s long and complex history. By learning the language, you will gain a better appreciation for the depth and complexity of the Chinese culture.

In addition, learning Chinese can help you understand Chinese customs and traditions. For example, learning about Chinese New Year can help you understand the importance of family and community in Chinese culture.

Learning about the significance of the color red can help you understand its association with good luck and prosperity. By learning the language, you can gain a better understanding of these customs and how they fit into the larger cultural context.

Furthermore, learning Chinese can help you understand the Chinese mindset and worldview. Chinese culture values harmony, and balance. These values are reflected in the language itself.

For example, the way Chinese people address each other is based on their relationship and status in society. By understanding the language, you can better appreciate these values and how they shape Chinese culture.

You Get To Impress People

Want to impress people by speaking less-normal language? Try Chinese. 

Chinese is a challenging language to learn. The characters are complex, and the tonal nature of the language can be difficult to master. Many tried, but failed.

By putting in the effort to learn the language, you are showing dedication and perseverance, which are impressive qualities in themselves.

By picking up Chinese language skills, you are also going to benefit from multilingualism. People who speak multiple language are generally seen as smarter, which may impress many too.

Number two, being able to speak another language can always impress people that truly matter to you. A prospective client, a potential date, or your future parents-in-law for example. 

By impressing these people, there is always a chance to further your relationship with them, and benefit yourself in many ways. 

Just go to YouTube, and search for videos of people who do not look like they can, but they speak fluent Chinese. At the same time, also take a look at the faces of those people with shocked faces. They are so impressed by the Chinese skills, they actually give thumbs up. Some girls even smile sheepishly too.

You can be the next. All it takes is to start learning several phrases and words. 

Is It Worth It To Learn Chinese?

You Travel Easier

Learning Chinese can definitely help you travel easier. You may be travelling to East Asia, or meet Chinese-speaking travellers as you travel along.

Firstly, knowing Chinese can help you communicate more effectively with locals. While many Chinese people do speak English, especially in major cities, there are still plenty who don’t.

By speaking Chinese, you can ask for directions, order food, and negotiate prices more easily. It can also help you connect with locals on a deeper level and get a better understanding of their culture.

Secondly, understanding Chinese characters can help you navigate signage and menus. In China, signs and menus are often written in Chinese characters.

There may be some English translations, they are not always accurate. By knowing the characters, you can decipher signs and menus more easily and avoid any confusion.

Speaking Chinese can help you in emergency situations. If you find yourself in a medical emergency or need to report a crime, being able to speak Chinese can make it easier for you to get help.

Finally, speaking Chinese can help you get better deals on goods and services. Many shopkeepers and vendors in China are more likely to give you a good deal if they see that you can show your language skills and speak Chinese.

By negotiating in Chinese, you can show that you are a savvy traveler who knows how to get a good deal.

Chinese Is Not As Hard To Learn

Chinese may have a reputation as one of the most difficult language for English speakers to learn.

However, if you look deeper, it is not as bad as many thinks. In fact, there are some aspects that made Chinese easy to learn:

Simple Grammar: Unlike English, Chinese does not have verb conjugations, gender-specific nouns, or articles. Instead, the language relies heavily on word order and context to convey meaning. Imagine learning a language without all those confusing tenses!

Chinese Pronunciation Can Be Managed: While the language is tonal, there are only four tones in Mandarin Chinese. The fifth tone is a neutral tone. Once you learn to recognize and produce these tones, you are well on your way to speaking Chinese with confidence.

There is also Hanyu Pinyin, a Romanized version of Chinese to help you pronounce the words well.

Chinese Characters Are Like LEGO Bricks: While there are over 370,000 Chinese characters in existence, you only need to learn around 3,000 to be able to read a newspaper. In fact, do you know that just by mastering about 100 characters, you may be able to read up to 50% of common Chinese texts?

Furthermore, many Chinese characters are made up of smaller components that can be combined to create new characters. This means that once you learn the basic building blocks, you can start recognizing and understanding more complex characters.

Tons Of Resources: There are many resources available to help you learn Chinese. From language learning apps to online courses to local language schools, there are many options to choose from.

Additionally, many Chinese speakers are eager to help foreigners learn their language and will be happy to practice with you.

Wrapping Up

If you are wondering it is it worth it to learn Chinese, we listed out six reasons why. If you agree and see the sense of our points, what is stopping you form learning one?

Start by researching around for Chinese courses and Chinese language programs. Then, plan out some time to learn the language everyday. We have a guide suggesting how you can allocate 5-minutes everyday to learn the language.

However, if Chinese is an Asian language you still prefer not to learn, would you consider something such as Korean, or Japanese? What about the this language, which we think is the easiest Asian language for an English speaker to learn?

Dr. Nigel Ong

Dr. Nigel Ong has a Ph.D in Applied Linguistics. He started this website to share his interest and passion in languages, and language learning. He speaks four languages.

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