Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua)

The Mandarin Language

Mandarin Speaking CountriesOver 955 million people worldwide are native Mandarin Chinese speakers (that’s more than any other language!). This means that by learning Mandarin you unlock the potential to speak to over 13% of the world’s total population. Chinese is also one of the 6 official UN languages – the others being English, Arabic, French, Russian and Spanish.

The Characters

As you might know already, Chinese speakers, unlike most other language systems (e.g. European languages) do not write using a system of alphabets. It uses instead individual “characters”, each formed by units of “roots” (symbols variously representing different shape, sounds and meaning). Chinese characters represent the oldest writing system in the world.

There are two different kinds of Chinese characters: traditional and simplified. Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, and overseas Chinese communities use traditional characters. China uses simplified characters.

  • Traditional characters have more strokes, and take more time to write.
  • You always write Chinese characters from top to bottom, then left to right; whereas one writes Chinese passages traditionally from right to left (vertically for passages, or horizontally for single phrases and names/titles, such as those above doorways). However, there is a ‘western’ way to write passages nowadays – horizontally from left to right (i.e. the “western” way).

Pinyin

Pinyin is a way to write Mandarin Chinese with the Roman alphabet. In Chinese, pinyin literally means “spelled sound”. MIL uses Pinyin to teach Mandarin as a second language. It’s a way to read Chinese without having to know the characters. Many Chinese streets have their names in pinyin in China and Taiwan.

Curious to learn or improve your Mandarin, then simply call us at 3595 6109 or just send us an email by clicking the button below to know more about our courses, fees and availability


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