Mandarin is the language spoken by about 12% of the world's population. English would account for about 5%. (Really. I looked it up on Wikipedia.)
And if you consider this population is the fastest growing body of eager consumers, I guess that makes learning Chinese very attractive these days.
Go where the money is! Right?
Economic drivers aside, there is something else going on when we learn to communicate with people in their own language.
We connect with them.
And these connections can make learning to speak Chinese worthwhile, in addition to our other motivations.
More and more people nowadays are realizing this and seem to be doing a terrific job of learning Mandarin.
It's quite doable!
All the same, I believe for the many successful learners of Chinese, there are at least as many who struggle and quit.
No doubt the reasons for this are complex. But I believe it's best to think simply, and so I like to boil it down to two evil spirits.
They go by the names of boredom and discouragement.
These two nasty fellows have made a horrible pact to try to get in the way of all of us folks who want to connect with any of those many brothers and sisters on the planet speaking Chinese.
Despicable creatures, they are.
But we can beat them.
My Chinese is okay these days (and getting better!) Yet I have no particular talent for language. I can be lazy sometimes. And I'm not so young anymore (though you wouldn't know it to look at my youthful appearance ; )
But I do some things right and they seem, thankfully, to be enough.
All these can be taught or shared, and in one way or another, that's what this site is about.
Remember, boredom and discouragement have set their sights on you, whether you realize it or not. Maybe they've already been successfully making inroads.
That's ok. We can start right now by exposing some of their most common devices, and then you can get on with using this site to ensure that their tricks are rendered totally impotent.
Know that these tricksters don't want us learning practical language that we can use for real communication right out of the gate. They hate for you to feel those simple but lasting rewards when you have ever increasing moments of successful conversation.
They also would be delighted if you didn't have plenty of expert guidance about Chinese pronunciation. One of their greatest victories is when you haven't been coached properly in pronunciation and then fall flat because Chinese people can't even understand your words.
They have all these little devices and more.
But don't worry. Like I've said, we've got your back.
I have been living in China for over ten years now, and from meeting people over the years, I'd like to report something:
You may be surprised how so many Chinese people actually yearn for our friendship, would like to learn from us, and share with us how they think and feel.
This, in my experience, seems to be a big part of the Chinese spirit.
But you're going to need Mandarin to get in the game.
Delay no further. There's so much to explore. It's time to dig in...