Should I learn Mandarin, Cantonese, or English is enough?

We talked a lot about things happening when looking for a new apartment. For a change on this post I will give you my own personal opinion on whether or not you will need to learn “chinese”.

If you’re planning on living in china then your place of assignment is most likely to be one of the big cities ShangHai, Hong Kong… In these cities it’s incredible how people are speaking English almost fluently and most likely even better than me! So if you were wondering that you would go through some difficulties to buy stuff, or go to places you were wrong.

Now if you’re going to do a little bit of tourism there will be some cities or villages where people won’t speak English at all. But would that be the only reason an expatriate would like to learn “Chinese”?

To me learning Chinese is not only good for the tourism, but also to get some new friends and broaden your vision of the Chinese culture. Secondarily it can also help during your negotiations when buying a new camera for example.

People living South of China, Hong Kong for example might wonder if it’s better for them to learn Mandarin or Cantonese.  The first thing to know is that Cantonese is much harder to pronounce, but it’s also true that a lot of people won’t understand Mandarin(even in restaurants).

So if you feel the need to learn Mandarin for business purpose or move to a place where people talk Mandarin. Then Mandarin is probably what you want to learn.

If you plan to stay forever in the Canton area or plan to move back one day to your own country. Then for the purpose of meeting people I would rather recommend learning Cantonese.

Note that while the pronunciation of the words are most of the time different they are written the same way with the same grammar so whether you speak Cantonese or Mandarin you will still be able to read stuff.  Switching from Cantonese to Mandarin will probably not be that hard compared to the time you will need to learn Cantonese. Expect one year to be able to read about a 100 to 300 characters depending on the school teaching style, plus basic conversations, and all the tools needed for tourism.

This is it for today, do not hesitate to share your own experiences or comments below! If you liked this article you can help by liking this article using the social network bar below.

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