Learning Mandarin Chinese: A new Trend

By Saman Siddiqui

An increasing number of people in Pakistan are taking lessons in Mandarin Chinese.The main reason is to land jobs in China Pakistan economic Corridor Project “CPEC”. Many institutes in Pakistan are offering classes to teach Mandarin.The arrival of Chinese nationals for CPEC has definitely created a need for Mandarin speakers.

The China Pakistan Economic corridor is a combination of projects ranging from road networks, a fiber optic cable project, railway lines, a deep sea port, coal mines and solar farms. Both the countries have long maintained political and military relations for decades. As network of roads being build and power plants setting up, new doors of opportunity will surely open for the locals.The project is expected to see 46 billion dollars Chinese investment in Pakistan.

The National University of Modern Languages Islamabad NUML’s, Chinese language department had 13 students when it opened in 1970, this year it has 460 students. Over the years, however, the interest in the department has increased exponentially, at school level also. A school in Islamabad has made learning Mandarin Chinese mandatory.

Higher Education Commission of Pakistan has also announced one year Chinese language learning scholarship program for the students of Gwadar, at reputed Chinese language learning Institutes; aiming this will help them to get better job opportunities through CPEC.

Learning to speak a second language other than your national language or mother tongue can be challenging. As you train your brain to do something more complex other than just memorizing new words, but also learning their proper pronunciation, you are expanding your thinking capacity in more than one way.

Various physiological studies have found that speaking two or more languages is a great advantage of the cognitive process.The brains of bilingual people operate differently than single language speakers, and these differences offer several mental benefits.

At an institute for learning Mandarin Chinese, a young man tells that a number of hurdles are being faced in learning process. The main problem occurs in pronunciations and understanding the Mandarin script is quite challenging. He is a student of Confucius Institute at the University of Karachi but he is confident that he will learn this new language shortly.

Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, which means that different tones can change the meaning of a word, even if the pronunciation and spelling are otherwise the same. It is essential to learn the different tones to speak Mandarin Chinese correctly.

Chinese language has the largest number of native speakers; there are two main dialects of language Mandarin and Cantonese. There are over a billion speakers of mandarin within China and many more outside. After English it is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, including countries like Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore.

Learning this Mandarin Chinese seems to be the current hot trend around the world. Many of the high profile people from around the world have started to engage themselves to learn this language.

U.S President Donald Trump in his recent visit to China showed Chinese President Video of Granddaughter Singing in Mandarin. Oldest daughter of Ivanka Trump, Arabella who is just 5years old, displayed her language skills by singing the Chinese “Happy New Year” song in Mandarin earlier in 2017. Arabella along with her brother Joseph Kushner have sung in Mandarin to entertain Chinese President Xi Jinping and First Lady Madame Peng Liyuan during their state visit to the United States.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg picked up Mandarin a few years ago, and has made a great improvement, he was able to do a 30 minute question and answer session in the language. Being married to Priscilla Chan, who is the daughter of Chinese refugees who fled Vietnam, he has also introduced Mandarin in his home.  He has uploaded a video on Facebook that showed his personal assistant teaching Max, his daughter, to speak Mandarin.

Britain’s royals also seem to be interested in Mandarin, Prince William wished China a happy new year in Mandarin a few years ago. And Prince George who recently started school will be give taught Mandarin.

If you have considered learning this language, it will certainly be a good decision. Thousands of students worldwide opt for learning Mandarin. Whether you are looking for travelling or consider it for job opportunities due to CPEC. It will be an invaluable skill that employers will adore to see mentioned in your Cv. When it comes to dealing with the clients from China. There are definitely growing job opportunities for those who can fluently speak Chinese.

Finding a nearby place which offers teaching mandarin, if it’s difficult for you, there are several online courses to opt for, designed to develop and reinforce language skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing related to everyday situations. Happy learning ‘Kuàilè de xuéxí’.