Here are nine facts that might help you to make up your mind!
By Tanja Tasso
Definition – According to Wikipedia, the term “mandarin” shows two semantic connotations originating in:
1 – Portuguese and Chinese
First, it developed out of commercial relations between the Portuguese and the Chinese in the early 17th century.
Portuguese traders arrived in Chinese cities in search of spices such as tea and silk, among others. And to handle these businesses, there were specific officials determined by the imperial government of China. Therefore, other employees and subordinates were prohibited from making any kind of contact with the Portuguese, who were seen as outsiders.
These officials were called “mandarins”.
2 – Sanskrit
Then there is another part of the story. The word is said to originate in Sanskrit, coming from the word “mantri”, meaning “adviser”, “minister of state”, then passing to the Malay “menteri”, then to Portuguese “mandarin” and the the record of the first use of the word “mandarin” dates from 1589 and comes from the English.
Here are nine amazing facts about this incredible language and maybe you too want to become a speaker of Mandarin!
1- Mandarin is Standard Chinese
For those who do not know, Mandarin is the popular term outside China, given to a set of Chinese dialects spoken in the central, northern and southwestern regions of China.
Nowadays it refers to Standard Chinese, which is a more appropriate but less popular name.
2 – Strong Economy
China is moving towards becoming the first economy in the world, that means, it will dictate the state of commercial relations in the world, both in the economic (financial) and in the tourism sector, in imports and exports.
So, it is said, that by 2025 its economy will reach the largest position in the world, a very important change for trade in today’s societies.
The commercial relations between China and hundreds of countries make the understanding of Mandarin almost mandatory.
3- Mandarin is one of the Oldest Languages
Mandarin becomes one of the oldest languages in the world that remains active.
According to the Unesco there are approximately 7,111 living languages known in the world, but every 14 days a language dies.
In the past 10 years more than 100 languages have disappeared.
Fanny Cochrane, who died in 1905, was Tasmania’s last native language speaker. With the death of Yang Huanyi in 2004, the Nüshu (“woman’s writing”) disappeared.
4 – China is the largest export economy
The products that are normally most exported by China are:
- Transmission equipment ($ 231 billion);
- Digital Disk Units ($ 146 Billion);
- Office machine parts ($ 90.8 billion);
- Integrated Circuits ($ 80.1 billion)
- Telephones ($ 62 billion).
China surpassed Germany
When we talk about numbers, in 2007 China had already surpassed Germany in the list of the largest economies in the world, second only to the United States in terms of GDP.
China’s main trading partners were Japan, Taiwan, the United States, South Korea, Hong Kong, Germany, Singapore and the Netherlands.
The Chinese trade balance surplus totaled $ 49.7 billion in 1997 and 54.6 billion in 1998.
Relations between Germany and China have been in place since 1861.
According to a 2017 survey by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service , 84% of the Chinese people see Germany’s influence positively.
Germany is Europe’s largest trading partner and exporter of technology, and the amount of German investment in China ranks second among European countries, after the United Kingdom.
China is Germany’s largest trading partner, replacing the United States since 2017.
5 – Simple Grammar
Mandarin is not that difficult to learn.
At first glance, it can be tricky, as it has about 80,000 characters (known as Hanzi). However, seven thousand characters are used mostly in daily life. And that is not as much as you may think.
This is because there is no verbal conjugation, cultural or gender inflection or adverbs.
This way you will have more time to expand your vocabulary and will not waste time memorizing rules for each word.
6 – Professional Opportunities in all Areas
Many schools, from various locations around the world, have started to teach Mandarin with playful and practical classes.
As a student, it opens up the possibilities for subsidized exchanges, partially or even fully paid by universities or the Chinese government, aiming at the opportunity to expand cultural horizons or to go for job openings in multinationals.
For the job market, Mandarin will not only be useful in the areas of international relations, foreign trade, international law or fashion.
Mandarin opens up professional opportunities in all areas, since it is crossing the whole world, making stops in places that one never imagined it to be heard, such as Brazil, Paris or Germany, which were economically interesting spots to move to in modern and contemporary history.
7 – Training your Brain
In addition to these great advantages, learning Mandarin is fascinating because it is an exercise for the human brain Western languages can not give you.
From characters to accent intonations – learning Mandarin is something so unique that surely adds to your mental health, the mastery of languages and memory.
The uniqueness of this language is due to the written part and the phonetics.
Speaking Chinese requires more of the brain, as it is a tonal language, so words are differentiated by sound and intonation.
8 – Exploring the Richness of Chinese Culture
We must remember that China is among the four oldest civilizations in the world, along with Egypt, India and Babylon.
Chinese writing alone is more than 3,600 years old
So dedicate yourself to the language to help contextualize and understand the wealth of ancient information existing in China such as art, calligraphy, cuisine, dance, music, literature, martial arts, acupuncture and medicine, religion, astrology, architecture, behavior, among others.
It will make you at least wiser, e.g. calligraphy is among the traditional Chinese arts that started in the Shang Dynasty, that is 3.6 thousand years ago.
The cuisine is among the most diverse in our world, where they combine a large variation of exotic ingredients. Some even say, it is the best you can taste.
9 – Working in China
The main economic power in the world in terms of GDP.
Just prepare and do it! You will broaden your horizon, understand a culture from the inside, make new friends and all of this is a benefit to your professional career.
So, after reading all this, just say “yes” and give it a try.
WorldTribe offers Chinese classes in groups and individually for speakers of English, of German and Portuguese.