Originally posted on December 23, 2015 @ 8:31 am
There are approximately 6,500 languages spoken throughout the world. About 2,000 of these languages are spoken by less than 1,000 people, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t languages you should learn, nor are they languages that will hold no value to you.
English and Mandarin are very different from one another, but both are very important languages to know or understand if you have aspirations to work on a global scale. Which language is easier to learn? One is based on characters and pronunciation, while the other is a smorgasbord of random grammar and rules.
Mandarin is Not Oranges and Cream
The most spoken language in the world is Mandarin, Chinese. At over a billion speakers, it’s said to be a rather difficult language to learn because each word can be pronounced 4 different ways. What you intend to say and what you actually say can easily be confused depending on where you put your tone while saying the word.
If Mandarin is on your language list, you’d do best to either move to China and learn by immersion, or hire a teacher who can keep a close eye and ear on your pronunciation to ensure you don’t say one thing when you mean another.
Is English Harder to Learn Than Mandarin?
English is the second most spoken language in the world at 508 million speakers. There has been much debate on whether English is harder to learn than Mandarin. It probably depends on who the person is, what their learning style is, and what they’re more apt to pick up, but some believe Mandarin is easier and faster to learn because it’s not as difficult to make connections within the language itself.
English is generally thought to come from West Germanic origins. It can be rather confusing at times because when compared to Romance Languages like Spanish, French and Italian, there are a lot of cognate words-that is, words that come from common etymological origin; meaning, they sound similar and mean the same thing.
With this being said, English is actually a mixture of several different languages. It’s essentially Old German and Old French, but ultimately English is of the Indo-European family of languages. This means it’s a mixture of the languages mentioned above with a little bit of Slavic, Baltic, Celtic and Indo-Iranian influences mixed in there.
Because of the complexity of its origins, and the general disjointed feeling of the language itself, English is thought to be harder to learn than Mandarin.
In conclusion, perhaps it’s better to just bring someone with you on your travels who knows the language you’re going to be surrounded by. Both Mandarin and English are challenging to learn in their own respects, but it all depends on the individual who is learning the language on which is easier.