Learning Mandarin – Outlining Three Major Benefits

20 May

Learning Mandarin is a very good investment in your future, part of the reason is Chinas future, but the benefits extent beyond that.

There are many reasons to study Mandarin. China is a fantastic country in a myriad of ways; it is huge (20% of mankind lives there), it has over 50 distinct cultural groupings and a rich plethora of culinary delights, to list the first few things that came to my mind, but I think I could continue writing all day. Mandarin holds the key to exploring all of this. But there are few people that would learn a language just so that they can enjoy a trip to a country more. Most people don’t have that kind of luxury of time. Most people that learn a language with an objective in mind and that objective is more often than not somehow related to perceived future benefits to their careers that come with proficiency. Mandarin is very interesting in this way for mainly three reasons.

The first reason is that, as I have already written, China accounts for a fifth of humanity. This is really pretty darn impressive and would almost warrant a serious commitment to learning the language on its own. What makes this facet of the motivation behind mandarin language studies so salient is however not the sheer number of Chinese people, but rather number of them that don’t speak a foreign language. Learning Mandarin will allow you, as an English speaker, to reach far more other people than learning any other language. Remember, at 1.2 billion people and counting China holds the same population as all of Europe and North America combined – that rules out all European languages, except of course English, but as you already know English, as you are reading this, Mandarin is a safe bet if you are looking to expand the horizons of you communicative potential.

The second reason is employability. The wage of a working person comes down to three main factors: how much that person can contribute to the overall production process he or she is involved with, how nasty or nice the job in question is and most importantly for the discussion of a language: how unique a person is on the labor market. If you are the only on that speaks a language you can pretty much ask for whatever you want in wage and still get the job, as long as you are not asking for more than you see yourself contributing. There is no one else to compete for the position. The more people on the labor market that has your own skills, the less an employer need you specifically. What does this tell us about Mandarin language studies? A lot. Compare Mandarin with another language, say French. Let us also say that you are European or American. If you are young, chances are that you also already speak English (70 percent of young European people speak good English). Now, if you were to sit down and work out which language, Mandarin or French, would make you more unique you would most likely do something like this; 12.5 percent of European speak French, 70% of them (not necessarily true, but lets roll with it) speaks English. That means that almost 9% of Europe, that is 36 million people, already know what you are about to set out knowing, not counting French Canadians. 0.00005% (5 in a hundred thousand) is probably a decent estimate of how many European speaks Mandarin. You are not unique, so you can’t ask for whatever you want, but you are a very rare species and that means that you can ask for a lot.
The third reason is what China is today, and what it will be in the future. I wont write about this at great length. If you are considering learning Mandarin you already know that China is kicking economic buttocks at the moment. In 2010, for example, China accounted for about 25 percent of global growth. China is on the rise and with, the benefits of learning Mandarin .

Rui Ming works for a Mandarin Language School in China that is a great option for those that want to learn mandarin, the lingua franca of Zhongguo. See the program overview page for more information about learning Mandarin in China.

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