Heading 1: Is it hard to learn Chinese?
No. It is easier than you think and easier than literature suggests! The US State Department has four categories of languages for native English speakers. Category 4 is the most difficult category and requires much more time to master the language compared to category 1 languages. Chinese is set in category 4, and hence, you might think it is really one of the most difficult languages to learn.
This is only partly true…
Heading 2: Chinese is easier than you think. Here’s why!
The reason why it is easier than you think is that there is a wealth of language learning resources for Chinese now. Like YouTube videos, podcasts, apps, and the like. Let’s compare that to some category 3 languages like Kyrgyz… well, there are just a lot fewer resources and not as varied and good resources to learn Kyrgyz.
The second reason is that it is much easier to find Chinese speakers all around the world. There are 5 million Chinese speakers in the USA, 1.77 million in Canada, 2 million in Europe, 6.6 million in Malaysia, and 5.7 million in Singapore (more than 2 million native speakers there). So you can easily find people on your travels to practice your Chinese with. Plus: Sometimes Chinese is the best way to communicate, as many Chinese speakers do not speak English.
That is also one reason why it is much easier to learn Spanish compared to Portuguese. Everywhere you will meet Spanish speakers, both native as well as Spanish as a foreign language speakers, but it is rare to find Portuguese speakers which makes it much harder to practice that language.
Chinese is easier than you think!
It is much easier to learn Chinese than you think. Embrace the challenge and embark on the exciting journey of learning Chinese!
As I, Kungfucius famously said:
Xué ér shí xí zhī, bù yì yuè hū?,
“Is it not a pleasure to learn and to practice what you’ve learned at the right time?”