What do you think about learning Chinese Mandarin? Is it easy or difficult to learn? In this article, I’m going to breakdown for you what is difficult and easy about Chinese Mandarin.

3 main reasons why Chinese Mandarin is difficult:

– Characters
Yes, Mandarin has two systems, one is called pinyin (the Romanization of the Chinese characters based on their pronunciation) and the other one is called Hànzì 汉字(Chinese characters) .” It is true that Chinese characters are the most difficult characters in the world. Even the simplest word in English “I / me” is written as我 wǒ (which has 7 strokes)

– 4 different tones
New students will be confused by these 4 tones and different tones mean different meaning. For example, 妈麻马骂

妈 (mā) first tone, meaning “mom”
麻 (má) second tone, meaning “numb”
马 (mǎ) third tone, meaning “horse”
骂 (mà) fourth tone, meaning “to curse”

– Same pinyin, but could be different characters or meanings.

When you learn more words, you notice that the words sound the same, but they have totally different meaning. Yes that’s right. For example, 书 shū = Book ,  输 shū = Lose. Both have exactly same pronunciation , but they are different characters and different meaning.

6 Main Reasons Why Chinese Mandarin is easy:

– No grammatical cases
In English, “he goes to class”; “he go school” is wrong. Chinese Mandarin does not need to differentiate  am /is /are /was /were or has /have /had, etc.

– Flexible parts of speech
In English we say “ice” (noun), “icy” (adjective) and “to ice (over)/freeze” (verb). In Chinese, there is only one single verb 冰 (bīng). This means that speaking and writing becomes much easier since you don’t need to remember so many different forms.

– No gender
When you learn French, you need to remember if each noun is meant to be “le” or “la”; when learning German, you have “der”, “die” and “das”. Chinese has no (grammatical) gender.

– Sentence structure
There are only a few patterns you need to learn, and once you’ve done that, you can just fill in the words you’ve learnt and people will be able to understand. Even if you mix things up, people will usually still understand.

– Logical number system
Some languages have really difficult ways of counting. In French, 99 is said as “4 20 19”, in Danish 70 is “half fourth”, but 90 is “half fifth”. Chinese is really simple. 11 is “10 1”, 250 is “2 100 5 10” and 9490 is “9 1000 400 9 10”.

– Logic character and word creation –

Electric + Vision = Television 电视 (diànshì)

Electric + Brain = Computer 电脑 (diànnǎo)

Electric + Shadow = Cinema 电影(diànyǐng)

Chinese Mandarin is not as difficult as what you think. After you learn for 1 class, you will notice that Mandarin is actually very similar to Malay in terms of pronunciation and sentence structure. Most people will agree that Malay language is easier than English, which means Mandarin is easier than English.

After reading this article, What do you think about Chinese Mandarin? Is it easy or difficult to learn? Please share your thoughts below!