How useful is Mandarin Chinese outside of China?
The argument that the Chinese language isn’t very useful outside of China make some say 2 things:
- Duh. Like, a billion people speak it there.
- But Chinese is the third most “spoken at home” language in the US and Canada.
Travel to any tourist destination, and what population of tourists are there more of? Go to Thailand, Korea, or a number of Asian tourist destinations, and the shop staff, servers, and vendors have learned to speak Chinese to appeal to the customers.
Think about it this way too:
More business hiring practices are turning to bilingual employees. Why? To make connections between Chinese clients, to market to the Chinese public, to appeal to Chinese clients.
Also, doing business with a Chinese partner will put you at a strong disadvantage if you cannot speak Chinese regardless if your partner speaks English. Let’s say you hear what your partner wants to disclose in a meeting, yet the finer details between Chinese-speaking colleagues (that your partner does not necessarily want you to access) will be discussed without you will leave you without a clue as to the proceedings. It only benefits everyone if more people learn a second language. And increasingly, it’s been Chinese.
Tourism is a huge deal. Let’s just say even 10 million speak decent English but they struggle with certain words and concepts but are comfortable using it for work. That probably means they are well off and travel too. So welcoming Chinese tourists to your hotel would be quite useful don’t you think? A nice personalized touch.
There are endless reasons to know or learn Chinese even when you don’t live there.
I’m studying in university and am a long-time student with my online teachers at eChineseLearning and you better believe I am better off for it.
We live in a globalized world, and when things go back closer to resuming to business as usual I’m looking forward to speaking Chinese with lots of people I meet EVERYWHERE.