Woman in White Sweater

MANDARIN

Whether you 're the CEO of a company or on the front lines of customer service, if your industry does business with China, learning the language and the culture is a valuable investment of your time. 

Take small steps to really converse with your Chinese business partners in their language, even if the conversations are short and you have to switch to English for more complex issues. The gesture will not go unnoticed. On the contrary, it will set you apart.

1200px-Flag_of_the_People's_Republic_of_

WHERE IS IT SPOKEN?

MOST OF NORTHERN AND SOUTHWESTERN CHINA

TAIWAN

SINGAPORE

Young Student

NUMBER OF SPEAKERS

920 MILLION NATIVE SPEAKERS

LANGUAGE FAMILY

SINO-TIBETAN

THREE FUN FACTS ABOUT MANDARIN

1. Chinese is the native language for well over 1 billion people

Ethnologue puts the number of global Chinese speakers at a little over 1.3 billion, and for many of these Chinese is their native language. Considering that there are currently 7.7 billion people in the world, that means 1 in 6 people speak a Chinese dialect!

2. Being ‘tone-deaf’ can cause problems when learning Mandarin

Mandarin has five tones (four main tones and a neutral tone). Some words look the same and are spelled the same, but it is the tone on key letters that distinguish them. If you get the tone wrong, you could confuse words such as ‘mother’ and ‘horse’ quite easily – oops!

3. Once upon a time…epic tales are written from top right to bottom left

Traditionally, Chinese was written vertically from top to bottom, right to left – so you would start in the top right of your page, and finish in the bottom left. However, the influence of Western words and languages has led to a shift towards more familiar and horizontal left-to-right writing.

Leading language 

learning in Africa 

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