Why Learn Chinese instead of a Chinese Dialect

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Why learn Chinese?

Mandarin will get you the most bang for your buck if you’re looking to learn Chinese.

The number of people who learn Chinese language is still growing. Today, Mandarin is the most spoken language with 1,310 million speakers worldwide. Approximately 900 million of those are native speakers and 410 million people who learn Chinese as a second language.

The Benefits of Learning to Speak Chinese

Mandarin is not only the official language of the People’s Republic of China. Furthermore, it is also the official languages in Republic of China (Taiwan) and Singapore (besides English, Malay, and Tamil). Overall there are 11 different dialects of Mandarin. Standard Chinese (Putonghua/Guoyu/Huayu) based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin and is a standardized form of spoken Chinese. This dialect gets taught by most of the language schools around the world and is also the language with all Chinese are taught in school. Due to this several dialects, it is common to have subtitles at TV shows, so people understand the context although they might not understand the dialect.

 

The Benefits of Learning to Write Chinese 

Another point, which should be considered is the difference between standardized and traditional Chinese characters.

Standardized characters are used in the People’s Republic of China, Singapore, and Malaysia. The structure of these characters is more simple than of the traditional characters. Therefore, they are taught at most of the language schools around the world.

Traditional characters are common in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao.

 

Why Mandarin is so important to learn?

Overall you might need to learn Mandarin at first. Due to the fact that it is the official language in several countries, especially People’s Republic of China, it is much more promising. It ensures that you can communicate with most of the people you meet.  Wherever you go in China, chances are you will be able to communicate there and get by with Mandarin. If you only learn a dialect (which is no small task!) you will have spent all that effort to only reach a smaller portion of the population. So, while Mandarin is our suggestion for Chinese language learning, the choice is ultimately up to you.

In general, you should also focus more on learning the simplified characters. It makes only sense to learn the more complicated traditional characters if you really intend to travel to or life in a country like Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macao later on. Otherwise, we would recommend starting with the simplified characters.

What do you think? Leave a comment if you have another opinion or maybe tell us about your experiences! Can’t wait for it!

 

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