why should we learn Chinese?

Why do we come to toast master? Increase our capability of public speaking. Actually besides your inside fear of speaking, there is another barrier for all of us to communicate with other people in the world: language. In order to really understand each other, we have to understand and speak the same language as our audience. But do you know how many languages are there in the world?

1000. 2000? According to SIL, bibles has been translated into 2508 languages, but it is just a small portion. According to a statistics of SIL international in 1997, it has a detailed list of 6905 distinct languages. Then, among those nearly 7000 languages, which one should we learn?

Madame Chair, fellow toast masters and welcome guest, I would suggest you learn Chinese because of 3 reasons: popularity, short and easy to learn.

Popularity

Do you know which language most popular in the world? Well. It depends how we define popular. If we say the more speakers it has, the more popular, then, according to George Weber’s estimation in 1997, as quoted by Wikipedia, Mandarin Chinese is most popular, as it has 1.1 billion speakers.

Since everyone here is already proficient English speaker, the best way to let you communicate with most people in the world and connect to the quickest growing country and no.2 economy in the world is to learn Chinese.

You are not alone. The most popular Canadian in China is Norman Bethune, a doctor which worked in battlefield in world war II. The second most popular Canadian is Mark Rowswell. He took about in a spring festival TV show and got 550million fans. To be honest, his mandarin Chinese speaking is better than mine.

There are many Chinese learning classes in US and UK schools, Canada may also consider it.

Short

First, Short. Chinese is short in both pronunciation and sentence.

In Chinese, each word or characters only has one syllable, so it sounds short.

For example, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

Let me do a test, how quick can you get the result of 18*13 without using calculator?  Do you know why? I read a blog on internet that this is due to Chinese pronunciation is shorter, as those number pronounce short, so people think easier quicker and get result quicker. Maybe it is a just a rumor.

Moreover, as Chinese words are in characters, the sentences look short. A story told by a friend working in UN was like this: as Chinese is also an official language in UN, sometimes you can get documents in different languages before the meeting. He always take his version without looking at it. When being asked why, he said, “It is easy, I just pick up the thinnest one”.

Another example: The while and pale sun went downwards and disappeared alongside the hills. 白日依山尽

Easy

  1. Easy to understand. 日月木山水田伞 Since two thousand years ago, writing has been standardized by Emperor Qin (though there are simplified form and traditional form), people in different part of China can read a book in Chinese easily. We can even communicate by writing with Japanese and Korean.
  2. Less words. According to lingholic, if you know 2000 words in Chinese, you can read newspapers and watch films. But in English, to reach same level, you need to 20,000.
  3. Less strict grammar. Last thing I want to mention is that Chinese has no special rules on singular and plural forms, gender differences and subject verb alignment and there is no tense for Chinese either. That is why a lot Chinese speaker would make mistakes on those parts when they speak English.  Some Chinese would say a mentioned a woman by using “he”. It is just a thinking habit. We would feel comfortable to say “I go shopping yesterday and buy a lot of vegetable”.

So, let me sum up, if you want to learn a second language, as Chinese has most speakers, it is short and easy, it is one of your best options.

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