Whether you’re just starting your studies of Chinese language or have been studying for a while, it’s of great importance you are aware of your motivations for attempting to learn the language. The more clearly defined your motivations for learning Chinese, the better you will end up at reaching Your own goals. Sure, you could be saying, “I already have known reasons for learning Chinese.” You might even have several apparently known reasons for learning Chinese, such as:
“Chinese is the language of the future” or
“Chinese speakers are in popular”
“China has 1.3 billion people” or
I’m not saying they are bad reasons for learning Chinese. They’re fine reasons. The thing is that they are not personal enough. It is very important to have YOUR OWN INDIVIDUAL known reasons for learning Chinese because those will be the only ones which will keep you motivated you through the long and occasionally difficult journey of learning Chinese. Also, having more specific reasons is way better. A person who’s motivation for learning Chinese is “I’d like to research the consequences of China’s Western Development project on ethnic minorities in XinJiang province” will have a much easier time than someone who’s reason is “I love kung-pao chicken.”
Having specific outcomes for learning Chinese will also enable you to learn Chinese a lot more efficiently. You see, if we think about the first three reasons given above, we’ll arrived at the realization that they don’t address several key questions that everyone should ask themselves when coming up with the decision to understand Chinese. In the coming days, we’ll deal with what these questions are and how exactly to answer them. At this time, we’ll just consider two questions in an effort to show how getting the right kinds of reasons can help a whole lot when learning Chinese:
1) “MUST I learn simplified characters or traditional characters?”
2) “Am I going to just learn conversational Chinese, or learn to read and write too?”
In case you have clearly established your individual known reasons for learning Chinese, answering these questions will be much easier, and considering these questions will make sure that your reasons will be the right ones for YOU. This way, your progress in learning Chinese will undoubtedly be much quicker.
Let’s consider the first question. “I am thinking about diaspora literature written by Taiwanese authors” may be your reason behind learning Chinese. Well, given that they utilize the traditional writing system in Taiwan you’ll most likely want to learn traditional characters from the start. Or your reason may be: “I wish to find a manufacturer of widgets in China without going through a middleman.” If this is your reason, learning traditional characters is probably not so crucial. Many people don’t really think concerning this question too carefully before making a decision on which system to use when learning Chinese. With both systems, simplified and traditional, it can be a HUGE task to return and re-study all the characters in the other system. So making sure to think about this kind of question in early stages can really save you a HUGE amount of time.
It’s the same if you are trying to decide if you wish to just learn “conversational Chinese” or if you need to learn to read and write the characters as well. Lot’s of people are scared off by the thousands of Chinese characters and elect to stick with “conversational Chinese” and prevent learning the characters. I would say that this isn’t a good decision for anyone who desires to achieve at the very least an intermediate level of skill in spoken Chinese. It might be the right choice for a lot of though, in a number of limited cases. Like if you just want to impress your friends by ordering several dishes in Chinese at the neighborhood ‘Sichuan Palace.’ Whatever your decisions may become, having individual and thought-out goals can assist you in making your choice.
These are just a couple ways that having thought-out and personal reasons can assist you on the road to learning Chinese. Lot’s of other questions will come up all the time. In case you have clear motivations for learning Chinese, you’ll be more likely to make the right choices according to your own unique situation.