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Mandarin is one of the oldest language in the world, is spoken by billians people.

Why Mandarin?

Mandarin is one of the oldest languages in the world, and is the most commonly spoken of the Chinese languages (throughout the majority of China, Taiwan and Singapore). With about 1.3 billion people in the World speaking Chinese (one fifth of the World population), the importance of the language on a globa-scale cannot be denied.

With mainland China now finally opening up to foreign business and travellers, there has never been a better time to learn Mandarin. No matter whether you are keen for your business to take advantage of the huge opportunities available, or are intrested in the 5 thousand year old culture on the other side of the world, you will benefit from learning the official language that is used there; Mandarin.

What is the difference between Chinese and Mandarin?

The term 'Chinese' can refer to many languages spoken in China and further afield. Each area may have their own dialect. Whilst it can be argued that Cantonese is either a language or a dialect, it is Cantonese that is spoken in Hong Kong as well as some other areas of China.

However, the official language that is learnt at school in throughout China and Taiwan in order for people to be able to communicate with others from different states is Mandarin. All the publications and goverment papers within China are in Mandarin.

What is the difference between Traditional Chinese and Simplied Chinese?

Traditional Chinese is the written form of the language used in Hong Kong and Taiwan, the writing having been passed down throughout history with little change. Simplified Chinese is used in mainland China. Changes have been made to some characters since 1950 in order to make them easier to write.

While speaking, there's no difference between them, with both understandable to each other. Examples of differences between Traditional and Simplified characters are shown below:

Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Visa in Traditional Chinese
Visa in Simplified Chinese
Simple in Traditional Chinese
Simple in Simplified Chinese

If you are interested in traditional Chinese brush writing and painting, the text is most commonly and traditionally written in Traditional Chinese characters.

What is Pinyin?

Pinyin is a method of Chinese romanisation, the purpose of which is to teach pronunciation. Chinese characters can be represented in Pinyin, having the benefit of enabling learners of the language to be able to quickly learn the pronunciation of new characters. As an example, in the table below you can see a variety of Chinese characters alongside their Pinyin representation. You can also hear how the character is pronounced. It should be noted that Mandarin is a tonal language and the tone of the character is also represented within Pinyin.

English Mandarin PinYin Voice
He He in Mandarin He in PinYin Hear the Mandarin
home town Home town in Mandarin Home town in PinYin Hear the Mandarin
His home town is Beijin. His home town is Beijin in Mandarin His home town is Beijin in PinYin Hear the Mandarin

What is the most common problem of learning Mandarin as a second language?

Whilst grammar within Mandarin, compared to English, is relatively simple, the fact it is a tonal language can cause problems. Each character is pronounced with one of five different tones, each with different relative pitch changes as illustrated below:

4 tones of Mandarin speaking

(The fifth tone is a normal, neutral tone.)

The incorrect use of tone can result in characters having totally different meanings. So, getting the tones right is often the single most important thing for a new learner of Mandarin. Some examples are listed below:

Mandarin PinYin
English Meaning
Smoke in Mandarin Smoke in PinYin
Hear the Mandarin
Salt in Mandarin Salt in PinYin
Hear the Mandarin
Eye in Mandarin Eye in PinYin
Hear the Mandarin
Formal party  in Mandarin Formal party  in PinYin
Party (Often a formal one)
Hear the Mandarin

What should I prepare for learning Mandarin?


I can provide all of the materials that you need and will also guide you through the best way to learn. Apart from being willing to learn, there is nothing else you will need to prepare.


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