I started learning Chinese (Mandarin) on Duolingo last week. I’m documenting my learning progress on this site and on my Youtube channel once I get it up and running. If you’re reading this you may wonder how and why I chose Chinese.
Why Chinese? 🇨🇳
I love learning languages. I’ve studied Spanish, French, German, and Russian. My favorite part of the learning process is the beginning, when you’re learning something new every single day. These ‘beginner gains’ are even more noticeable for something completely new. If I studied Dutch, a Germanic language similar to German, it would be foreign but familiar. Not so with Chinese. The biggest reason I chose Chinese is that I’ve never studied it or anything close to it.
I’ve studied some form of Germanic languages, Romance languages, even an Indo-Iranian language, but never a far-Eastern language. I want to see how fast I can pick up a language with tones and a comletely foreign vocabulary. It’s going to be a challenge.
Mandarin is spoken by over a billion people - that’s more than 1/7th of the planet! Chinese will become an increasingly valuable language to know in the 21st century.
I come into contact with a lot of Chinese speakers at work, all of whom speak English. It would be great to be able to speak in Chinese from time to time.
Some of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had while learning languages came from times when the person I was talking to had no clue I was about to speak their language. Very few Americans have picked up Chinese as adults, and I suspect people would not expect me to be able to speak Chinese.
Most importantly, it’s interesting to me. Language learning is all about focus and persistence. You need to choose a language that’s interesting to you so that you can enjoy the learning process. You need to choose a language that you can stick with for at least 3-6 months.
How Am I Learning Chinese?
Stay tuned! I’m sharing my learning plan soon. For now, take a look at my tools page.
I send updates on my progress every Saturday.