3 Reasons Why Mandarin is difficult

1. Characters

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)

2. There are 4 + 1 tones
Tones is super crucial because 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”

3. 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 meanings.

8 Main Reasons Why Mandarin is easy

1. No grammatical cases
Mandarin words don’t change according to function.  Whatever function a word has in a sentence, it generally looks the same. But in English, we have to differentiate “We / us, They/them, I/ me”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.

2. Flexible parts of speech

For non-natives, a difficult part of learning English is to figure out how to make a noun out of a verb or an adjective out of a verb. For example, 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.

In Chinese, it’s not obvious what’s an adjective and what’s a verb, they merge and float into each other, which generally means it’s easier to understand and easier to guess how to use. 

3. 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. In Chinese, you don’t need to bother about gender, because there is no such thing as grammatical gender. 

4. No tenses
Mandarin doesn’t distinguish between yesterday, today and tomorrow. We also don’t have to differentiate “am, is, are, was, were” 

5. Neat use of numbers
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”. 
Monday is “week one”, Tuesday is “week two”, and so on. Same for the months! Number 1 is yī, 10 is shí, 11 is shí yī “ten, one”, 99 is jiǔ shí jiǔ “nine ten nine = sembilan puluh sembilan. 

6. 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.

7. 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”.

8. Logic character and word creation
Words, i.e. characters put together, contain a lot more meaning than characters. They are created in a way which is often obvious or at least understandable for a student

电 diàn = ELECTRIC

电脑 diàn nǎo literally direct translate is “electric brain”. It actually means COMPUTER.

电话 diàn huà literally direct translate is “electric talk”. It actually means TELEPHONE

电池 diàn chí literally direct translate is “electric reservoir”. It actually means BATTERY

电影 diàn yǐng literally direct translate is “electric shadow”. It actually means MOVIE

Take a guess. What is 电视机 diàn shì jī ?

Tips: 视 shì = view ; 机 jī = machine

Your answer : _____________ 



Mandarin is not as difficult as what you think. When you start learning Mandarin, you will notice that Mandarin is actually very similar to Malay in terms of pronunciation and sentence structure. Most people will agree that Malay is easier than English, which means Mandarin is easier than English.

If you want to learn something, you want to become friends with it, you don’t want to regard it as an unbeatable enemy! We won’t deny that Mandarin has unique challenges that are difficult to overcome, but try to look at Mandarin as being easy and exciting, rather than difficult or impossible. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.