Till this day many people struggle to differentiate between Chinese and Mandarin. Are they the same thing? Are they different languages? In reality, Mandarin is a dialect of Chinese. Just like Cockney and Scouse are English dialects, the same goes for Mandarin. It is by far the largest and most widely spoken out of the 7-10 Chinese dialect groups.
Mandarin is spoken by around 70% of all Chinese speakers over a large geographical area, predominantly in the north side of the country. This is commonly attributed to the easier means of travel and communication in the north compared to the south of the country.
With the rapid globalisation of the world it is becoming increasingly beneficial to speak more languages. Although you can get by almost anywhere in the world with English, speaking one or two other languages will not only broaden your horizons but also significantly help your career options.
There are currently over 1.3 billion people who speak Chinese, with most of them using Mandarin. This makes Chinese the language with the most native speakers in the world and the second most spoken language overall behind English. By learning Mandarin you will open a new world for yourself. You will be able to freely travel not only through China, but also countries like Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Mongolia where Mandarin is also commonly spoken.
Apart from travelling, learning the language could be incredibly beneficial from a career point of view. China has the second biggest economy in the world behind the US and more and more Chinese companies are entering the European market every day. Unsurprisingly this means that many employers are looking for Mandarin speakers.
Mandarin and Chinese in general is commonly referred to as one of the most difficult languages to learn. However this shouldn’t be a reason to give up. With the amount of resources at your disposal nowadays, it’s never been easier to start learning a new language.
Surprisingly or not, Mandarin grammar is actually fairly straightforward. Obviously, it won’t be easy and it will take a lot of time and patience to learn the necessary vocabulary, however the grammar itself isn’t as hard. For example, in China they don’t use different forms based on gender or for singular/plural.
In reality, we’re not telling you that learning Mandarin is going to be a walk in the park. Although there are easier parts, it still remains one of the most challenging languages out there. However at the end of the day it all depends on you and how committed you are. If you put in the necessary work and effort, you’ll slowly but surely start improving.
There are plenty of ways to learn Mandarin nowadays. You can buy books, watch videos, listen to tutorials, it all depends on how you prefer to learn. However, the best way to quickly improve is to work with a teacher. Having someone who knows where to start and how to progress step-by-step is crucial.
TutorExtra offers a variety of qualified Mandarin tutors ready to help you on your journey. Prices vary between £10 and £50 per hour depending on the teacher.