Frequently Asked Questions About Learning Chinese
Students and others considering learning Chinese frequently ask us questions about the Chinese language and learning Chinese. So, we thought it would be helpful to list a handful of those most often asked, and give you some insight into the answers we give!
“Why should I learn Chinese?”
Far and away the most frequently asked question we hear is: why should I learn Chinese? Well, the answer to this is pretty straightforward. Mandarin Chinese is spoken by nearly 900 million native speakers. This makes it the most widely spoken language on earth.
China has become an economic powerhouse. The pace of its expansion and growth was described by the World Bank as ‘the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history‘. Only the USA currently exceeds China in terms of the size of its economy. China has now exceeded the USA as the world’s largest exporter of goods.
For businesspeople across the globe, China has become a key market with which to trade. Therefore they will gain considerable advantage over their rivals by being able to converse with their Chinese counterparts in Chinese. By learning Chinese, you will be achieving invaluable professional and personal growth. The question should be ‘why should I not learn Chinese‘ rather than the other way around!
“Is Chinese really hard to learn?”
The second most frequently asked question about the Chinese language is almost always: is Chinese really hard to learn? Well, the answer to this is both yes and no. Many people mistakenly believe that learning Chinese will be nigh on impossible. They may be put off by the way in which Chinese is written. Written Chinese is in the form of pictograms and ideograms rather than simple phonetics common to most Western languages. However, take comfort from the fact that Chinese has no tenses, cases or genders. It’s grammar is also really easy to understand!
We do understand why you may be intimidated by the prospect of learning Chinese. But, it really isn’t as hard as you might think, especially when you study at the Omeida Chinese Academy. Our highly-qualified teachers are trained in the use of progressive Western methods of teaching.
“Do I really need to learn Chinese characters? And what is Pinyin?”
Pinyin is the English spelling of the way characters are pronounced in Chinese. Reading pinyin allows English speaking students to say a word correctly and with the right tone. Usually, students will know how to say a word long before they memorise the character, thanks to pinyin.
As for Chinese characters, knowing how to read and write them is not essential to have spoken conversation in Chinese. However, it’s useful for living in Chinese society and communicating with Chinese people online. Importantly, your Chinese level will only progress so far without it. The story behind every character is surprisingly interesting and they are beautiful to look at. When you’re with us, you’ll learn characters naturally. Don’t be daunted – it’s easier than you may imagine!
“What type of Chinese do you teach?”
Another frequently asked question is: what type of Chinese do you teach? This is as straightforward as it comes. At the Omeida Chinese Academy, you will learn Standard Mandarin Chinese. Mandarin is the official language of mainland China and one of the official languages of Taiwan and Singapore. And Mandarin Chinese is by far the most widely spoken language in the world as spoken by native language speakers.
Any more questions about learning Chinese?
For practical and detailed FAQ’s about the Omeida Chinese Academy, take a look at this page on the website. If there’s anything at all that you may be seeking further clarification on, just drop us a line and we’ll get straight back to you!