With over 100,000 characters, Mandarin is considered one of the hardest languages to learn. The Defense Language Center classifies Mandarin as a Category IV language and offers a 64-week long course to learn the language.
While the language has over 100,000 characters, according to the Chinese Learning Institute, knowing around 3,000 can be considered as fluent. Mandarin is a tonal language, which means how you say a word determines what it means. An example of tone in English is using a higher pitch to signal a question.
Mandarin has five tones, flat, rising, dip, falling, and neutral. To show how the tone affects the meaning of a word, let’s like at “ma”, depending on the tone it can either mean “mom” or “to curse.” So be sure you watch your tone.
Mandarin also has the distinction of being rated as the second most spoken language with 1.117 billion speakers, 918 million of which as native.
Learning a language can be a rewarding experience, whether for work, travel, or just a love of learning. There are many options on how to learn a language from private lessons to software. If Mandarin seems like a challenge, Spanish is considered the easiest to learn.
For more information on the hardest language to learn, continue reading the article titled ‘What is the hardest language to learn?‘.