An Introduction to Learning Chinese

The Chinese language has over 40,000 characters, but only 10,000 are commonly used. To fully understand the language (at least in reading and writing), you need to learn Chinese Characters. Chinese is considered one of the most beautiful, but complex languages in the world. There are over 1 billion people that live in China, not including overseas Chinese Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and parts of Malaysia — Which makes Chinese the most spoken language in the world. With the growing economic prosperity of these areas, more and more schools are offering Chinese language programs.

Chinese is a very diversified language, with twelve different dialects of spoken Chinese The national dialect of China is Mandarin, or “pu tong hua” which translates into “the people’s language.” I would recommend learning it to many people, with over 50% of China’s population able to speak Mandarin. The language is based on ideaograms, or based strongly on symbols and characters. Loosely it is based on combinations of 214 elementary pictographs called ” Chinese radicals.”

The Chinese language is one of the oldest languages in the world. In fact, the earliest traces of written Chinese go as far back as the early Zhou Dynasty, or over 3,000 years ago. While the Chinese culture itself has seen constant changes over its long life, the grammar, vocabulary, and writing system have mostly remained preserved.

The grammar and sentence structure of Chinese is very different from English. For example, in English, someone may say “I will run,” “I am running,” “I have ran,” but in Chinese someone can say, “Wo zuo”(which means “I run”) with time as an adverb such as today, tomorrow, in a little while, etc. Chinese sentences take up less space than the English translation. This is because sentences only need to consist of several characters.

Mandarin is the most widely spoken of the Chinese language and can be a bit difficult to learn, but there are many sites online that can help get you started.

Source by Kip Owens