Thea on Chinesese Dialects
Once you arrive in China one of the first things that troubles you is the language. It sounds very exotic and weird at the beginning. The first impression is that everything just sounds exactly the same. Many people get scared away because the Chinese speaking language is so hard to learn. Admittedly it is quite tough, at least at the beginning.
The fact that there are somewhere between six and twelve regional dialects of Chinese doesn’t make the whole thing easier. Among them you may know Mandarin, Cantonese and Min. Although there are some similarities in terms and common structure between some of them, these different dialects are mostly unique.
The standard Chinese language is Mandarin, the official language of both Mainland China and Taiwan and one of the six languages used at the United Nations. Cantonese is spoken mostly in Hong Kong and Macau. Also many overseas Chinese people speak this dialect, because the first who traveled to the West came from the southern coastal provinces. I traveled to Canada two years ago and the Chinese people there speak Cantonese only, either out of provincial pride or just because they don’t know how to speak Mandarin. In Europe I also met many Chinese students, born and raised in Western countries, but speak their own provincial dialects only.
When you come to China, be prepared that in every province natives do have their own dialects. The good news is that everyone speaks and understands Standard Mandarin. So even though dialects exists in every province just as in any other country, you get along everywhere in China with Mandarin. Our language school offer Standard Chinese courses which allows you to master this exotic language. You can easily combine it with a part-time internship or you can focus on learning Chinese only.