The Difficult Areas of Learning Mandarin for Business

Jul 25, 2017 by

While many people will fervently embark on a Mandarin course with the hopes of improving their business relations with their Chinese counterparts, many do not consider the grey areas involved with learning such a radically different language, especially for English speakers. While there can be some downsides to learning such a language, the following article will show you how to get through them, in order to ensure that you are on the right path towards a healthy and appropriate venture into the Eastern world of economics.

A Lengthy Investment

English businessmen beginning their business Mandarin courses may not realize the full spectrum of what they are undertaking. There is plenty of rhetoric aimed at devaluing what is often considered to be a wrongly proportionate endeavour, meaning that the amount of time and effort it takes for an English speaker to learn Mandarin does not payoff in terms of the desired business acumen.

The most important factor here involves the individual’s investment in the language. You cannot just learn Mandarin in the hopes of opening new branches in a foreign country. You need to be passionate, and have the respect and investment required to become properly immersed in Chinese culture.

The reality is that some people are just more naturally adept at learning new languages, but even such lingual talent can be tested with a language so seemingly alien. Mandarin isn’t a language that one can approach on the same level as, say, a high school Spanish class. It is a highly complex and dense language, what with four different tones affecting the meaning of each word, and over fifty thousand characters to learn. When you learn Mandarin in London, make sure that you put aside enough time and energy to properly tackle this hefty lingual adventure.

Knowing your Place

While China is very welcoming of outside business relations, especially if they are beneficial to the country’s economic goals, you should know that you will never be treated on the same level as a Chinese person – you will always be an outsider. You can speak the language as well as a university lecturer, and be well versed in Chinese literature and poetry, but you will never be accepted as truly Chinese.

The best route here is to always be mindful not to overstep your place, and to always keep in mind the localized manners and courtesies. You may not ever be as intimate with your Chinese partners as you would like, but you can earn their respect by keeping their tradition and customs in accordance.

This may seem like a harsh reality, but you need to keep in mind that China was at odds with the West for the majority of the twentieth century. Many Asian countries have remained in isolation from the rest of the world for many years, and it was only in the past couple of decades that the international relations we know of today began springing up in such a globalized fashion.

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