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Mandarin is said to be the most difficult language in the world to learn, so why do people still learn it?
When we think of Mandarin, we think about China (中国), the complicated characters (中国文字) and the excellent cuisine (食品). But maybe we should think about it as the language of the future and perhaps a language which brings a world of opportunities. With 885 million native speakers, it is the most spoken language in the world. Nowadays a language like Mandarin is a vital necessity in the business world. With the US making long term investments in China as more and more countries are doing business in renminbi (Chinese dollars), not the US dollar, there is less and less need to speak English. As China’s economy grows – averaging 10% a year, businesses will be desperate for bilingual English and Mandarin speakers to help with trading and business. Not only this, if the renminbi becomes the new reserve currency, it would make china the most economically powerful country in the world.
However, some people say that the only thing stopping Mandarin being the language of the future is its complexity. It’s hard for people to learn the different tones of the language and the characters. If Mandarin switches to the Latin alphabet that would be a different story; but would the Chinese be willing to give up the charm and traditions of their language for the sake of economic progress?
The UoB Linguist Magazine
Guild of Students,
University of Birmingham