欢迎 Huān yíng! Welcome and congratulations on taking your first steps towards learning Chinese! My name is Whitney White (Mrs. White) and I will be your Chinese teacher.
The Chinese language has many dialects including the two most popular: Mandarin and Cantonese. Both of these dialects use the same writing system of characters (or “pictures”), but they pronounce the characters differently. This makes these dialects mutually unintelligible, which means that they cannot understand each other when speaking to one another.
Not only are there many dialects of Chinese, but there is both traditional and simplified Chinese. In this class we will be learning simplified Mandarin which is the most written and spoken form of Chinese in mainland China. Traditional was the only way of writing Mandarin in ancient times, but as time went by the people of China believed that these more complicated characters took too much time to learn and write. Literacy levels were dropping in China, so in the 1950s and 1960s the Republic of China’s government decided to take action by “simplifying” their language’s writing system to help increase literacy levels (help their people read and write more easily). Today the cities of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau in China are some of the few who still use traditional characters.
Examples of traditional vs. simplified
歡迎 vs. 欢迎
愛 vs. 爱
國 vs. 国
Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world! There are approximately 1.2 billion native speakers of Chinese and only 360 million native speakers of English proving the value of learning Chinese. The Chinese language is a gateway to more connections both in friendships and business. Your odds of gaining a job are increased dramatically because you can now offer a rare language skill. For travel purposes you will have the ability to travel more freely in an unknown country when you are able to communicate on your own. Learning about the Chinese culture will not only spark your interest, but also point out aspects in your own culture that you have never given a second thought. On top of all these, learning Chinese is scientifically proven to make you smarter overall, because when using Chinese you have to use both sides of your brain.
I would like to encourage you to ask questions if you have any and take this class at the pace that fits you best. That means if you need extra help then feel free to ask for it, and if you need to spend more time studying then take the time. Learning Chinese is a fun activity for anyone to take on, but it can become very challenging if the appropriate time is not dedicated to studying. To help organize and keep students on track, this course has been designed to take an average of one lesson and one quiz per a week.
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions throughout this course.