Why is Mandarin the most popular language in the world?

 30 September, 2022
 Lingo School of Knowledge
Why is Mandarin the most popular language in the world?

One of the things we hear a lot growing up is, “Mandarin is very important, make sure you study hard”.

We might not have believed it back then, but being fluent in Mandarin can prove advantageous today. If you have finally understood the importance of Mandarin or still don’t quite get why Mandarin is so important, read on.

The importance of Mandarin

Mandarin is the official language of China and Taiwan, and it is also one of the official languages of the United Nations (UN). In Singapore, Mandarin is one of four official languages.

Ask anyone and they will agree that China is fast becoming a rising star in science, politics, economy, cultures, and technology1. Approximately 80% of citizens in China speak Mandarin.

Have you ever met a child who was more fluent in Mandarin than you? Children are now constantly exposed to a Mandarin-rich atmosphere; preschools boast about their Mandarin-immersive activities and enrichment classes; Mandarin speech and drama are becoming increasingly popular.

Don’t fall behind. Beyond navigating comfortably on Taobao, we don’t want to be left behind as the world continues to shift.

Read: Why mastering a foreign language like Mandarin is now a ‘must have’

Is Mandarin difficult to learn?

The key to learning anything new is consistency. Starting something is never easy at first; take going to the gym for example.

It may feel uncomfortable and scary at first, but as you keep to it, it gets easier over time. The same goes for learning Mandarin.

Before you start, you need to know:

  • The words won’t sound right
  • The characters will look foreign.

But eventually, Mandarin will start to make a lot of sense.

Take the character (kou), for example. 口 means mouth, and without needing to look long enough, 口 does resemble an open mouth. The character (chi) means eat; we use our mouths to eat, hence the character 口 is also in the character 吃. The character (he) means to drink – and we also use our mouth to drink.

Another example is the character for wood, (mu). While the word for woods is (lin) and the word for forest is 森林 (shen lin), you can see the accumulation of the wood character as a forest is, well, an accumulation of trees.

So, while learning Mandarin might seem difficult at first, consistent effort and an open and keen understanding of the language will make mastering it a breeze.

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Reasons why Mandarin is easier than you think

  • Mandarin grammar is much easier than European languages

    Unlike English, there is no need to differentiate “go” and “went”. In Mandarin, there are no word form changes2.

    Lingo Blog

    Source: https://ivannovation.com/blog/is-chinese-really-the-hardest-language-in-the-world-to-learn/

  • The vocabulary makes sense

    The characters 难看 (nan kan) mean ugly or unsightly. But when you break it down, the word 难 (nan) means difficult, and 看 (kan) means look, so if you translate it directly, 难看 (nan kan) literally means difficult to look at.

  • Pronunciation is easy without the intonation

    Every Mandarin character has its own English spelling in the form of hanyu pinyin. Basically, this just means that the pronunciation of Mandarin characters is written in English.

  • Simplified Mandarin/Chinese is easier to read

    Simplified Mandarin sounds the same as traditional Mandarin –they just differ in the way the characters are written. The traditional characters are a lot more complicated than the simplified ones – but they mean the same thing. Simplified Chinese is used in China, Singapore, and Malaysia.

Learn beyond the classroom

Outside of receiving Mandarin classes by a professional, there are several ways you can put what you learnt in the classroom to good use.

  • Consume more Mandarin entertainment
  • Switch on Mandarin subtitles on Netflix and practice reading them
  • Go to your neighbourhood hawker centre and order your food in Mandarin (‘zhe ge’ and ‘na ge’ doesn’t count)

There are so many reasons to learn Mandarin and so many ways to perfect it. If you’re still unsure about learning Mandarin, we are here to guide you.

Contact us to let us know what you’re looking for and us folks from Lingo School of Knowledge will be in touch as soon as possible.



  1. Chua Hui Wen, M. A. (2019). Factors influencing foreign language learners' motivation in continuing to learn Mandarin. EDUCATUM- Journal of Social Science .
  2. Darren. (2020, July 30). Ivannovation Language Management. Retrieved from Is Chinese really the hardest language in the world to learn?: https://ivannovation.com/blog/is-chinese-really-the-hardest-language-in-the-world-to-learn/

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