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How to Learn Chinese 3: Why Learn Chinese? (by Steve Bennett)

Loads of People Speak It!

  • Chinese is the most used language on the internet and has the most native speakers in the world
  • China is the fastest growing world economy destined to outgrow the USA by 2027

Extraordinary Culture

  • An extraordinarily rich and deep and long-lived culture
  • A culture with very different points of reference to western culture

The Language Itself

  • From a spoken point of view very simple
    • no subject/verb agreement
    • no plurals
    • no conjugations
    • no tenses
    • simple numbering system which is applied to dates and time expressions
    • simple conditional sentences
    • simple prepositions
  • However……
    • No alphabet
    • Basic unit is the character/syllable
    • Syllable characterized by initial: final: tone
    • The concept of a “word” in Chinese is not straightforward (there are no spaces in Chinese text)

Difficulties of Chinese

  • Cognitive overload
  • Difficulty of maintaining a notebook
  • Difficulty finding relevant text at your level

Rewards of learning Chinese

  • Massive sense of achievement when you can hold conversations in Chinese
  • Immersion in a totally different culture

For example1: 成语chéngyŭ

杀鸡儆猴          杀1鸡2敬3猴4

1.杀 shā to kill / to murder / to slaughter

2.鸡 jī chicken / fowl

3.敬 jìng to respect / to venerate / to salute / to offer

4.猴 hóu monkey

For example2: Radicals


竹:建筑, 笔

For example3: Chinese Cuisine
Extract from “Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper”(a book) by Fuchsia Dunlop

Useful web addresses

  • www.inputking.com (free Chinese editor)
  • www.chinese-tools.com (lots of free tools)
  • http://www.nciku.com/ (On-line Dictionary hand-written characters recognition)
  • http://cctv.cntv.cn/lm/kuailehanyu/(Chinese TV show)

Final Plug

www.meetup.com  London Mandarin Learners

This text is from the PPT presentation by Steve Bennett on London Mandarin Learner meet up.

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