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Why foreigners are learning Chinese - any news articles for reading?


Meng Lelan

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Chinese is the number one (or second depending on the source) language on the Internet.

Yeah, but most of them use flashing green text and are trying to sell you something ;)

My main reason for learning Mandarin was (should say "is" but I've not done much recently) to keep my brain active and to impress people.

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Who says they're not modern?

I just think different culture different tastes. But i think we got off topic just a wee bit. (I'm to blame I think)

So why learn Chinese? Don't tell me I have the best article out there. There have to be more.

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It's a shame nobody thus far has mentioned the cultural implications of learning Chinese, thanks largely to today's media babbling about China's great economic potentials.

But believe me, learning Chinese will open a whole new world for you, literally, not a metaphor or exaggeration. For in historical times, for no less than a thousand years China had been a leading power in the world, in virtually every aspect. But the whole plot was effectively unknown to Europe, who lived on the same continent. The two civilizatioins developed perfectly indenpendtly, until fairly recent when a business-driven gun-armed West found a reclusive, lagging China.

The rest of the history between China and the West is better known, but unfortunately the same cannot be said about the culture. Since Europe was so much ahead by the time they planned a thing or two with China, negligence of its culture is the inevitable outcome, which is further ensured by the off-putting task to learn a language that appears to be an ensemble of random drawings.

However we only live in our times, and in ourt times China is, in a distinctively definitive word, red. But what's left unsaid and unread are the sheer volumes of literature and history recorded using the same language spreading thousands of years, something knowingly unprecedented. With a deep look into the minds of Laozi and Confucius you will have an alternative interpretation of what life is about. Poetry and prose reached their peaks during Tang and Song dynasty, and to this day still serve as a continuing source of inspiration and enjoyment to the Chinese.

Key access to the new world would be the very basic thing, language, with which you can interact with the people and experience for yourself the great oriental taste. Reading translated and edited news reports on your sofa can never be a match. I am saying this because I experienced the same, albeit reversely. Knowing and using English has offered me a different horizon, and to Westerners learning Chinese I expect similar. There's a cultural shock in the process which might interest or disinterest you, depending on whether you are a sinophile or sinophobia deep down. :lol: I am just joking, though the first half stands true.:wink:

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