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Old 11-25-2009, 07:30 AM
 
4 posts, read 15,170 times
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OH, this is really a hot topics.
Who want to study Mandarin of Chinese? I'm from China Beijing, I can say standard Mandarin of Chinese, just want to study English. We can exchange our language.
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Old 11-26-2009, 07:40 PM
 
Location: Bergen County, NJ
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Chinese is very rarely spoken of any non-asians, and outside of China.

French, Spanish and German is useful, aswell as Arabic
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Old 11-26-2009, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Fairfax
2,904 posts, read 6,928,377 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PalmBch View Post
Chinese is very rarely spoken of any non-asians, and outside of China.

French, Spanish and German is useful, aswell as Arabic
Perhaps if it's rarely spoken by non-asians, then that's a good reason to learn it?
Chinese is spoken in China obviously but ****nghua is understood/spoken by those in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia and probably others. Not to mention plenty of Chinese enclaves in the West. German is even less widespread than Mandarin. Arabic may be extremely widespread (from Europe to South East Asia) but is hardly more useful than Chinese unless you have a real interest in staying long term in North Africa or the Middle East. The Arabs involved in the oil trade speak better English than some Americans.

While Dubai is begging for mercy from its creditors China has bounced back with soaring economic growth.

Last edited by destinedtodave; 11-26-2009 at 08:20 PM..
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Old 11-26-2009, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Fairfax
2,904 posts, read 6,928,377 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wisteria View Post
It would be interesting to have more people who are from China on here to say if they believe Mandarin is actually necessary for global business. I know it sounds like it makes sense, however, from what I understand about it is that although it certainly is good manners to know the language of your host country, it is not always an advantage in the business place. (Unless you are the one doing translations -- especially written, which, obviously, would be a great help to know both languages fluently.)

As I understand it, many of the Chinese who do not speak English are those who are in rural areas and do not have a good educational system, and they are not involved in big business. Those in the cities where most business is conducted, often have a grasp of English. I only speak from limited experience, and I'm sure a native Chinese individual could give more insight.

Having hosted a Chinese foreign exchange student, I learned much about China that I was completely unaware of. Many stereotypes were broken. Her English was so good, that she rarely had difficulty speaking it. The grammar can be a bit tricky, but she had it down. She was not from Beijing but a smaller large city in the western portion of China. Her parents are both government workers. I am still in touch with both our former exchange student and her mother. Her mother knows English, but not as well as our exchange student. Her mother's desire to better her English is intense. We sometimes work on written language skills together for her on the internet.

My daughter's boyfriend is from Southern China – he has lived in the U.S. for ten years. Although his first language is Cantonese, he does know Mandarin. My daughter struggled through learning Mandarin, and her boyfriend kept telling her that she would not even need it for business in China: 1) because often they know English; 2) they would rather do business with other Chinese than those of other nationalities. He actually discouraged her from learning it.

She is, however, fluent in Spanish, having lived in the aforementioned high-quality Chile as an exchange student. (By the way, they do learn English, however, Spanish is the national language and English is rarely spoken outside of the classroom.) She found Chile to be quite engaging, very European, and some distinctly German parts (she was in the south). She adored Chile. In the States, her Spanish language skills have been very important in her obtaining jobs. Although still a college student, she did have a job this summer working at a Sam's Club handing out food samples. It wasn't until she was together with all the other food demonstrators that she realized why she had been chosen: each person was at least bilingual in another language – Chinese, Vietnamese, Hindi, Korean, Russian, Cantonese, and she held the Spanish. She said it was funny to discover that each person, as they compared notes about themselves, spoke another language. It came in handy for her because she could understand what customers were saying in Spanish before they approached her, thus, she was able to better help them.

So, I don't know which is really a "better" language to learn. I almost lean toward Spanish, too, just because Central and South America will be targeted by businesses, and knowing Spanish, where many people may not know English, could be very beneficial. China, on the other hand, tends to do things more "family-like." You help them, they help you, and who you know counts. At least that's how I understand it.

I guess we'll all figure it out down-the-road. In the meantime, I certainly think knowing more than one language can be beneficial no matter what.
As someone who spent the summer in Shanghai working for a consulting company I know there is some truth in what you say. Learning Put0nghua is by no means a ticket for easy money from China. But it is a step in the right direction toward building business relationships necessary to actually doing business. The firm I worked for specialized in consulting international (mostly Western) companies looking to expand into China in some way (usually production or sourcing materials). It is true that sitting in your office building in Minneapolis, you won't have to know Chinese to take advantage of its cheap labor, growing economy, and massive industrial base. But knowing Chinese opens up worlds of opportunity in the Chinese sphere of influence (HK, Taiwan, Singapore, and the mainland) especially in the consulting field.

I can't tell you how many times my boss (a New Yorker) phoned a Chinese company supposedly involved in international business and didn't have a single employee able to converse on the telephone in English. Maybe some of them speak it passably but aren't likely to advertise that fact unless they're 100% confident in their abilities. Thankfully my boss spoke fluent Chinese.

Also, don't let those "stats" saying there are more people in China learning English than there are Americans that speak English. There may be hundreds of millions of Chinese that would love to learn English and know enough to haggle with you or give very basic directions but the reality on the street is that not learning at least a few Mandarin phrases will make your stay difficult. Of course younger people and those in more affluent sections of the large coastal cities are more likely to know more English.

But Mandarin will never be the global language in that it's so radically different from the phonetic languages spoken in most of the world.
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Old 11-26-2009, 09:06 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,530 posts, read 8,895,127 times
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I think Sign Language would benefit more people than Spanish or any other language in the USA. If everyone knew SIgn the Deaf community could become more mainstream. Plus a lot of us are going to be deaf at some time in our life.

GL2
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Old 11-26-2009, 09:09 PM
 
Location: southern california
61,286 posts, read 87,617,119 times
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spanish.
of the top 4 spoken
english spanish chinese hindi
by far english and spanish are the easiest.
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Old 11-26-2009, 09:59 PM
 
Location: all over the world
88 posts, read 302,870 times
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I am fluent in English, Mandarin, French, and speak some Japanese and some Spanish
I have worked in North America, Europe, Asia, and did volunteer work in South America & the South Pacific.
And I'm gonna go with Mandarin, because:
1. 1 in 5 people is a native Chinese speaker in this world.
2. China is growing at a staggering pace and is going to become a world power in the next 2-3 decades.
3. Chinese people will be both the biggest producers you want to BUY from AS WELL AS the biggest consumers you want to SELL TO.

I was raised in Canada by Chinese parents and I have been working in Taiwan for about a year.
My work just took me to France for almost a month (I had worked in France & then throughout Europe for a year a few years ago). It was impressive how much French people wanted to kiss China's ass. French people!!! One of the most narcissistic people in the world! Why? Cuz Chinese people have money, and they are (one of) the biggest spenders.

I went there with an investor from Beijing and a team of French people, one of whom remarked, "The word 'Chinese' is synonymous to 'open sesame.' A lot of places we French people would never have access to eagerly open their doors as soon as you utter the word 'Chinoise'."
Everybody wants to get into China's market. Not just because it's doing well now, but also because there are SO MANY PEOPLE there (who are potential consumers):

Population of China: 1.4 billion
Population of Taiwan: 23 million
Population of Singapore: 4.58 million
Total of three countries: 1.427 billion (Figures are approximations as of June 2008)

Do you have to speak Mandarin (Pu-tong-hua) to do business with them? No. But it's an enormous advantage. It's a little naive to think that you can go in and only speak English and as long as you can communicate with them in English it's good enough. I'm sure you can still work and do business if you don't speak Mandarin because it's true a lot of people there speak English, but when you speak Mandarin your opportunities multiply. True, a lot of people speak English, but a lot of people (investors with money) still don't.
Plus, it is to your advantage to understand what one Chinese investor is saying to his partner. You won't be the clueless outsider when everyone is talking to each other in front of you in a language you don't understand. Another small advantage is that your knowledge of the language will impress Chinese people, they will see you as someone who is smart enough to understand the importance of learning Chinese and who respects this language & China. One young French boy in our team spoke a little Chinese and he totally stood out and caught our the attention of our investor, who is considering bringing him to China to offer him work opportunities.

I know and have worked with quite a few Caucasians or non-Asians in the States, France, and the UK who are in business or in politics who are making their kids learn Chinese because they know how critical it is. To them, it's not a question of "should my son/daughter learn Chinese or not," but a question of "how early should my son/daughter start learning Chinese."

Yea Mandarin is difficult to learn, a lot harder than Spanish. Thus more the power to you if you can speak it.

Spanish is very useful too, indeed. I'm already planning to take more classes to improve it since it's really easy to pick up because I know English & French.

But I would definitely put Mandarin before Spanish. The number of Spanish speaking people around the world is around 400 million. However, whereas China, Taiwan, and Singapore (1.4 BILLION people) are all strong global consumers and producers, not all of the the Spanish-speaking countries (400 million people) are as active or influential when it comes to money or careers.

Last edited by reneici; 11-26-2009 at 10:13 PM..
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Old 11-27-2009, 12:16 AM
 
Location: Fairfax
2,904 posts, read 6,928,377 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huckleberry3911948 View Post
spanish.
of the top 4 spoken
english spanish chinese hindi
by far english and spanish are the easiest.
Would you say there's a dire need to learn Spanish?
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Old 11-27-2009, 12:20 AM
 
Location: southern california
61,286 posts, read 87,617,119 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by decafdave View Post
Would you say there's a dire need to learn Spanish?
language tends to go where the money is.
but for sure americans are guna have to become more employable and more educated. education price has gota come down i think with kindle of google and internet competition that could happen.
but no excuse for any 12 year old within 50 miles of the border not speaking the border language.
no excuse at all. 3 months playing in the park and 3M corporate kids were speaking fluent french in paris when i lived there, not even in school mind you just playing.
i have a dream.
happy thanks giving
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Old 11-27-2009, 03:39 PM
 
3,819 posts, read 5,377,369 times
Reputation: 6425
Quote:
Originally Posted by reneici View Post
Plus, it is to your advantage to understand what one Chinese investor is saying to his partner. You won't be the clueless outsider when everyone is talking to each other in front of you in a language you don't understand. Another small advantage is that your knowledge of the language will impress Chinese people, they will see you as someone who is smart enough to understand the importance of learning Chinese and who respects this language & China. One young French boy in our team spoke a little Chinese and he totally stood out and caught our the attention of our investor, who is considering bringing him to China to offer him work opportunities.
This is the best answer yet on this topic. I am so tired of listening to (and reading) Americans saying "You don't need to learn <language goes here> since everybody speaks English."

Clueless outsider: yeah, that's the correct term!

As a businessman in China, Russia, Chile, France, wherever, I would not want to be depending upon just the translator (who is probably Chinese, Russian, Chilean, French, respectively) for understanding the discussion.

Been there; done that; don't need no stinkin' T-shirt.

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