The benefits of learning Mandarin Chinese
I have always had a passion for languages. Each new country I visit I make sure to learn just a few basic words, making an effort to connect with the people and scratch the surface of the wonderful cultures I encounter while traveling. Six years ago, I began to study Mandarin Chinese.
Watching peoples reaction when you tell them that you can speak Mandarin is something that never gets old. For a few years now I have enjoyed watching the shock, confusion and often disbelief on peoples faces when they learn of my ability to speak Mandarin Chinese. Requests to “say something in Chinese” are inevitable (not many people believe you are telling the truth without hard proof) and repeatedly those same gazes of disbelief turn to wonder and awe on hearing the few words they have asked you to translate. Honestly, it was the thought of these reactions that first made me want to learn Mandarin.
But isn’t it such a difficult language to learn?
NO! The wide spread idea that Mandarin is a complex and impossibly difficult language to learn is simply NOT true. Sure, it has some challenges but challenges come whenever you begin learning something new. Mandarin is a language based on logic, its characters based on a simple set of rules. It's easier than you think. I promise!
Still not convinced it’s for you? Check out some of the benefits that come with learning Mandarin and see if you can find a reason not to start!
1. Meet new people:
Making friends as an adult can be daunting. Joining a class is a great way to meet people with similar interests. Even if you don’t make new lifelong friends, attending a class or social event at least once a week and interacting with peers in a fun, relaxed environment is a winning start to shake up your weekly routine. It’s also a great way to build confidence and self esteem which helps those social skills even more.
2. Makes you smarter:
Your brain is a muscle and just like the other muscles in your body, the more you exercise the bigger and stronger they grow. Keeping your brain fit and active is just as important as keeping your physical body in good condition. Learning a second language improves your overall brainpower. It enhances overall concentration, helps to develop decision making and problem-solving skills as well as improves your ability to multi task. When studying a second language you introduce your brain to different sets of patterns. The ability to balance these new patterns with the old, is one of the main reasons for the numerous brain benefits. Don't believe me? Children who learn a second language at a young age tend to score higher in overall standardized tests compared to their mono linguistic peers.
3. Improves your first language:
Understanding and coming to grips with the different grammar and language patterns of your chosen second language allows you to better understand those of your mother tongue. Once you have developed these skills, gained a good foundation in understanding the basics of language, learning a third, fourth or even fifth language becomes much more straight forward.
4. Protect against future illness:
Learning a second language has been proven to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by up to 4 years. For those of you who have no experience living around this terrible disease I hope your good fortune continues. For those who have watched a person you care for as everything and everyone they have ever known and experienced, learnt and understood evaporates from their mind will understand, that four years is a hell of a long time!
5. Abundance of future opportunities:
Bilingual and multilingual individuals are in high demand from employers these days. With todays ever-expanding global market, having the ability to understand and communicate with your international clients and business partners is of growing importance. China has one of the largest economies worldwide and with that an abundance of opportunities on offer for those of you willing to reach out and grab them. It is home to one fifth of the world’s population, offering the largest consumer market available. It not only offers many potential business opportunities but studying Mandarin would also open up a vast world of literature, history and knowledge for you to indulge in.
6. Easier to travel and connect:
China is a vast country. The largest of all in Asia and almost as big as the whole of Europe. It is home to a variety of eco systems from the dry sandy deserts and harsh imposing mountain ranges to the lazy winding rivers and coastal paradises. It has a rich history and diverse culture, with every region offering up their own unique traditions, beliefs or specialty foods/drinks. China has something to offer everyone, no matter what you traveling desires are. Learning Mandarin before you go allows you to travel with ease. Make the most of your trip by being able to communicate with locals and truly experience this great country.
Mandarin is the world’s mostly widely spoken language, mostly in part due to its impressive population size but it’s spoken across 5 different countries in Asia. Learning Mandarin not only allows you to travel across China with great convince but also to places such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau, Taiwan and Tibet.
Mandarin has no tenses, no genders like “le” or “la” in French and has easier grammar compared to other Asian languages such as Japanese or Korean. So, all you need is .......... well, what are you waiting for? There really are no excuses! Just try it! Check out Marmalade Mandarin for details on how you can started.