A lot of people complain about the difficulty of learning Chinese because of the strange writing system, confusing four tones, and the many words that change their meanings based on what other words are around them. It appears that Chinese people should be thankful that they were born Chinese since they clearly don’t have to learn their native language the same way that other language speakers do! However, learning Chinese is not as complicated as you may think. Yes, there are many potentially confusing aspects to this language, but when you really think about it, there are many different ways to say something in English, for example, but some of these interpretations rely on body language or inflection, something that foreign speakers find similarly difficult.
In comparison to the strict Spanish grammar structure, for example, Chinese language consists of little morphology, as well as there being no grammatical standards to keep in mind. Every word has a corresponding and sole form; verbs do not contain suffixes or prefixes displaying the tense, person, gender or number of subject. Nouns do not contain suffixes or prefixes displaying their quantity or their instance. This does not indicate that Chinese has no grammar; this only explains that because of the absence of inflectional morphology, the Chinese grammar is primarily concerned with how the words are structured, to create meaningful sentences. In addition, Chinese characters are spoken in one syllable, and once these are learned, it is relatively easy to read anglicized script.
Still, that probably isn’t enough to convince you that Chinese isn’t difficult to learn! Understanding 1000 Chinese characters allows you to understand 90 percent of present Chinese publication, based on a survey made by Education Ministry and Language Commission of China. The results of this survey came from examining 900 million characters applied in over 8.9 million files selected from television, internet, magazines and newspapers. Today, Chinese media is attempting to utilize a smaller amount of characters, and to comprehend 90% of content in the publications, you will only need to learn about 900 (from 50,000!) separate characters which are created from written Chinese.
This sounds like a little bit of a daunting task, but then again, how many words are there in English? There are approximately 100,000 words and this is still increasing, all the time. To learn 900 characters, (a normal Chinese university graduate may be familiar with around 6,000 characters) which will give you an understanding rate of 90%, doesn’t seem that difficult in comparison. A significant reason regarding this is that Chinese characters in contrast with English words, are often symbols, and additionally, a lot of the characters are archaic. Some are found only at one time in the entire history of written language, like names of locations and places.
Too many people believe that they would like to learn Chinese but they are reluctant to try it since it seems so very daunting, and they believe that it will be too complicated. Once your fear about learning another language like Chinese is conquered, the language will really be not that complicated to get to grips with, and certainly no more confusing than learning any other language, you just have to go about it in a different way.
Here are some of the reasons why people are reluctant to learn Chinese:
The Writing System Is Strange
Mysterious and complicated, beautiful and strange, most of the students who are initially interested in studying Chinese are enticed due to the writing system, which is certainly among the most enthralling scripts throughout the globe. The more you understand Chinese characters, the more intriguing they can become. The learning of Chinese characters can be an enduring obsession and eventually, you will discover that you are engrossed in the regular task of acquiring them.
Bit by bit from the enormous range of characters, you can gather them up and collect them as beautiful butterflies. Every word in the Chinese language is loaded with meaning and subtext, making it one of the most mysteriously interesting languages to pick up. However, while the exquisiteness of the characters is undeniable, it has become apparent that the characters are not practical for a global use. This is why many Chinese words now have English counterparts.
Chinese Doesn’t Use A Western Alphabet System
To further clarify why the Chinese writing system is a little complicated in this aspect, it might be a great idea to make it obvious why English is trouble-free. Think about the task of the average Chinese adult who has chosen to study English. They only need to master 26 letters in upper and lower case, then they need to understand how parentheses, dashes, apostrophes and other marks are used in the system. They need also to understand how these letters should be written, from left to right and other things. Disregarding certain spelling and grammatical issues, it seems as though learning English is much easier.
In contrast, Western learners will need to exert some effort into learning Chinese since there are a lot of aspects that are required to be understood. There is not a standard formulized alphabet, though there are certain sequences of letter forms and symbols. This is part of the difficulty in explaining the Chinese language.
The Writing Scheme Is Not Completely Phonetic
Since the writing system is not phonetic, you would most likely forget how to write a particular character. If there is no apparent semantic sign in the first place, and no practical phonetic constituent in any part of the character, it is going to be very difficult for you to learn this. Chinese individuals are not born having the capability to remember random scribbles, and as they learned this, so too can you. Use tricks and memory games to help yourself, and understand that Chinese, perhaps more than any other world language, can be best learned by immersing yourself into the environment.
Those individuals who have encountered difficulty in understanding other languages have their own litany of terrible stories. However, it is a reality that you will have a little bit of a difficult time learning Chinese, especially if you are not from an Asian background linguistically. Learning this language would certainly be a plus, particularly when you are visiting places where people are not likely to be speaking English, as there are so many Chinese people that have migrated to many corners of the earth. Though learning Chinese, in fact, learning any language, is difficult at first, the more effort you put into it, the better grasp you will end up having of it.