Having training in an important language like Chinese makes you eligible for jobs in government, foreign service, communication services (journalism and television), economics, business, international law, agriculture, trade, science, and technology.
Combining a major in Chinese with a minor in Asian studies and or a major in another area (such as business, journalism, political science, and history) will uniquely prepare you to enjoy new opportunities and meet new challenges as Asian economies and politics become increasingly important in world affairs.
Ten Most Important Reasons to Study Chinese
- China is one of the most ancient countries with a 6,000 year civilization.
- Chinese is one of the six working languages in the United Nations
- Chinese is the native language of the largest population in the world. More than 1/5 of the world's population speaks Chinese as their native language.
- China is the largest U.S. trading partner. China's exports to the United States have grown by 1,600 percent over the past 15 years, and the US exports to China have ground by 415 precent.
- America has become China's second biggest foreign investor. Every day, 6 American-funded ventures are set up in China. There are over 25,000 American-funded ventures in China now. More than 200 Fortune 500 companies have ventures or business connections in China.
- China is the workshop of the world. It is now the largest producer of coal, steel, and cement, the second largest consumer of energy, and the third largest Internet user. It has the world's largest mobile phone (by 2007, China is expected to have 500 million cell phone users) and cable TV markets. It manufactures two thirds of the world's copiers, microwave ovens, DVD players, shoes, and toys, 50% of the world's cameras, 30% of all TVs, 30% of all air-conditioners, 25% of all washing machines, and 20% of all refrigerators. Within 3 years, China will be the second largest auto maker and will have the second largest computer market.
- China has ranked #2 in the world in terms of purchasing power.
- China has the fastest growing economy in the world. With its entry into the World Trade Organization, China expects its growth to accelerate.
- China's economic output is expected to triple over the next 15 years, overtaking Japan in 2015 and the United States by 2039.
- China was named as one of the four "crucial languages" for Americans to learn. With China's rapid development, huge market potential, and increasing influence in the international community, the Chinese language has become more and more popular. Right now, there are over 30 million people learning Chinese worldwide and over 2,300 institutes of higher learning in 85 countries teaching Chinese. It is expected by 2050 that the number of people, who can speak Chinese, is going to be ranked the highest in the world among all languages.
Is Chinese Difficult to Learn?
Many people think Chinese must be difficult to learn because it is so different from other languages. That is a misleading concept. Yes, it is true that Chinese is very different from English and other languages. However, it does not mean it has to be difficult. Look at the following characteristics of the Chinese languages and then decide if it is really difficult to learn:
- The Chinese language uses characters in its written form, rather than alphabetical letters. This makes the language unique and more challenging. However, since many Chinese characters are from the pictographs, the form of their characters can help identify meanings.
- To help people learn Chinese, a Romanization system is designed to illustrate the pronunciation of the word. This system is call "pinyin." Chinese does not have verb conjugations, numbers, or case endings. These features make the language easier to learn than some other languages.
- The Chinese language uses the same word order as English, which is Subject + Verb + Object. Therefore, you do not have to worry about the word order when you learn Chinese.
- Chinese is a tonal language. It has four tones. The same spelling with different tones can mean different things. However, it is possible to learn those tones just like it is possible to learn different English intonations or music notes.