Is Mandarin Difficult to Learn?

Jan 13

There are arguments into which language is the hardest to adopt as second language. Some say Russian, some say German, but you would notice there are A LOT who will say it’s Chinese.

Here’s the reason:
“Many factors make Chinese very difficult to learn. For example the characters (Hanzi) used in the writing system seem to be archaic and obscure. Every word is a different symbol and it’s not phonetic so it gives you no clues as to how it is pronounced. The tone system also is a pain because Mandarin has four tones. One other reason is, Mandarin has a large number of homophones. For example, the pronunciation “shì” is associated with over thirty distinct morphemes. Some people try to learn this language for that specific reason, being difficult and different.”

It wouldn’t be a surprise that even the Chinese are complaining the same but despite the widely-held belief, there are still so many people trying so hard to learn Mandarin as the second language.  Whether it’s based on interest or the rising economy state of China drive those people to learn is their story to be told but is Chinese really the most difficult to learn?

We are not going to argue about that as many out there would probably just agree relentlessly. The truth though is that, Mandarin Chinese might probably be easier to learn compare to certain other European languages. The reason being; Mandarin has:

• no subject/verb agreement

• no plurals

• no conjugations

• no tenses

• simple numbering system which is applied to dates and time expressions

• simple conditional sentences

• simple prepositions

So why do people find it so difficult especially for those who already master other language that is probably more difficult to be adopted by others? It’s only a myth, most importantly, have a strong state of mind when you try to learn Mandarin or in fact, any other language and keep the interest flowing; continuously finding the real fun into learning that specific language. The real challenge here is your approach and your attitude into learning a new language.


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