Why did you learn Chinese anyway?

A listener to our audiocast just sent me an email asking this question. Believe me this is not the first time I've received mail like this and it surely won't be the last.

Many people teaching Chinese will pimp off the line that China has a recorded history covering over 6,000 years and Chinese is spoken by nearly 1.3 billion people, also, China is becoming a leading player in the world's economy. Well, to me the last statement sounds more like a treating reason to learn Chinese. Never the less, the fact is that the world is becoming smaller and foreign language training is a highly requested skill. Tools like the Internet have increased the amount of interaction between nations and their peoples. Learning about other cultures has become more of a required asset in today's ever-so interactive and changing world.

I must admit that there are many reasons for learning Chinese. After all Chinese is not only spoken in mainland China and in Taiwan"Taiwan" is also commonly used to refer to the area under the jurisdiction of the Republic of China (ROC) government, not to be confused with the People's Republic of China government. Following World War II, the ROC gained control of Taiwan from the Japanese in 1945, but lost control of mainland China to the Chinese Communist Party four years later in 1949 as a result of the Chinese Civil War. The Kuomintang (KMT) government then retreated to the island and moved the capital to Taipei. While the People's Republic of China (PRC) claims Taiwan as its province, the PRC has never controlled Taiwan. The main island of Taiwan, also known as Formosa (from Portuguese (Ilha) Formosa, meaning "beautiful (island)"), is located in East Asia off the coast of China, southwest of the main islands of Japan but directly west of the end of Japan's Ryukyu Islands, and north-northwest of the Philippines. It is bound to the east by the Pacific Ocean, to the south by the South China Sea and the Luzon Strait, to the west by the Taiwan Strait and to the north by the East China Sea. The island is 394 kilometers (245 miles) long and 144 kilometers (89 miles) wide and consists of steep mountains covered by tropical and subtropical vegetation. Though for decades following the Chinese Civil War, the ROC was politically a single-party authoritarian state, the ROC has since evolved into a democracy in Asia. Its rapid economic growth in the decades after World War II and the government's relocation to Taiwan has brought it to an advanced economy status as one of the Four Asian Tigers. This economic rise is known as the Taiwan Miracle. It is categorized as an advanced economy by the IMF and high-income economy by the world bank. Its technology industry plays a key role in the global economy. Taiwanese companies manufacture a giant portion of the world's consumer electronics., but in Singapore and parts of Malaysia as well. In fact, one can find that Chinese, of one form of the other, is spoken throughout Southeast Asia and in Chinese communities in Europe and North America.

My personal reasons for learning Chinese started with my early interest in Modern Chinese history and Traditional ChineseTraditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century (during the Southern and Northern Dynasties.) The retronym "traditional Chinese" is used to contrast traditional characters with another standardized set — Simplified Chinese characters, introduced by the government of the People's Republic of China or Mainland China in the 1950s. Traditional Chinese is currently used in the Republic of China or Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. Overseas Chinese communities generally use traditional characters, but simplified characters are often used among mainland Chinese immigrants. However, the majority of the Chinese-speaking world uses Simplified Characters. Martial Arts. I don't feel my reasons are unique in anyway. So to further my understanding I decided to acquire a better understanding of the Chinese language as well as culture. Another factor may have been that I went to a US university that then required that every student have at least two years of foreign language training. As a result of my interest, I ended up as a student in one of Beijing Beijing ( Chinese: 北京; pinyin: Běijīng or Peking) is located in northern China and also the capital of the People's Republic of China. It is one of the four municipalities of the PRC, which are equivalent to provinces in China's administrative structure. The municipality of Beijing borders Hebei Province to the north, west, south, and for a small section in the east, and Tianjin Municipality to the southeast. Beijing is China's second largest city, after Shanghai. Beijing is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and motorways passing through the city. It is also the focal point of many international flights to China. Beijing is recognised as the political, educational, and cultural center of the People's Republic of China, while Shanghai and Hong Kong predominate in economic fields. The city hosted the 2008 Olympic Games. The Encyclopædia Britannica describes it as, "One of the world's great cities," and declares that the city has been an integral part of China’s history for centuries, and there is scarcely a major building of any age in Beijing that doesn't have at least some national historical significance. Beijing is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, and huge stone walls and gates. Its art treasures and universities have long made the city a centre of culture and art in China.'s leading teacher's universities studying not only the Mandarin Chinese language but Chinese history as well. Upon my return to the US I was granted a scholarship by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan to continue my studies in Taipei. As of today, I have over ten years of formal Mandarin Chinese training.

Well, it has been a long and fun road as well. This site was developed to help those who want to learn more about the Chinese language. While developing this site I've found myself fortunate to be able to work with some of the best Mandarin Chinese "voices" in both Taipei and Beijing. I'm so happy to be working with so many native Chinese speakers who also have the same passion to share in the teaching of Mandarin Chinese.

Our training method allows the learner to observe how the Chinese language is used in daily real-life situations. Our course structure allows previous taught materials to be constantly reviewed and reinforced for immediate and correct use.

If you have any questions or personal experience concerning learning Chinese, please leave a comment. We would be happy to hear from you.