Motivation for Learning Chinese

There is no doubt that English is an important language ,considering it’s widely used in economics, politics, technology etc. What about Chinese? Why do you want to learn Chinese. As a native Chinese speaker i am curious about your motivation behind learning Chinese. Please tell me about it.

There are some folks who say that, in future, the only languages worth knowing will be: Chinese, English, Russian and Portuguese.

(Personally I’m not too sure about this…)

What about Arabic? Any thought about this language?

What about Spanish? Why Russian? French? etc etc…
@Rank, do you remember where you read this?

@ericlee sorry to get off your topic. Maybe I will start a new thread on this or something…

I think Chinese is important as well as English. China has a rich culture, our ancestors learned a lot from China, especially absorbed Chinese characters over 1000 years ago. As for me, learning Chinese is not only to communicate with Chinese people but also to re-discover the roots of our culture.
And when I was 13 years old, I ever leaned Chinese alone, but I gave up it. I started learning it again over 2 years ago. Studying it reminds me of my childhood.

In answer to the first question, my own case was the following.

I was assigned to learn Chinese in 1968 as a Canadian diplomat. Once I started, the motivation was the opportunity and adventure of discovering a culture, a history, and a whole world of people that I had always considered to be so foreign, and so different. I found this discovery to be its own reward, and the more I studied, the more there was to discover. At the same time, the more the Chinese world became part of me, and the less strange and different it seemed.

As to the most important languages to learn. This is simple, the most important languages to learn are the ones you want to learn the most. The most important language is the one you are studying now. (For me that is Czech right now).

If you decide to study Chinese because you think it will be important for your job, I do not think you will succeed. If you genuinely learn to like the language then you will succeed.

As to Russian and Portuguese being more important than Spanish and French, you might as well throw in Indonesian, German, Hindi and Swahili. None of this makes any sense to me.

“If you decide to study Chinese because you think it will be important for your job, I do not think you will succeed.”

I totally agree with you, Steve! I sometimes hear people saying they’re going to learn Chinese or Russian because these languages will provide them better opportunities in their career. One must be interested in the language he wants to learn to succeed, because learning a language isn’t only a matter of hours or days, but of years.
Anyway, there are many people that succeed in life without speaking foreign languages. There are several French politicians or (very) rich entrepreneurs, for example, who don’t even speak English (or very badly).

For the time being, I’m not motivated enough to learn Chinese on my own. I tried a couple of months ago and saw that I wasn’t ready. But when I am (and I wish I’ll be, because I’d really like to), I’ll learn Chinese because it will open me doors to another world, another great culture, another continent, not for economic reasons.

@Steve: “—If you decide to study Chinese because you think it will be important for your job, I do not think you will succeed. If you genuinely learn to like the language then you will succeed.”

I’m wondering whether you aren’t spot on here, Steve.

Right now I personally am trying to decide whether to throw in my lot with Chinese or Russian. Wenn du Recht hast, sollte ich mich einfach auf meine Gefühle verlassen…I guess…

Because China is awesome, and the language is fascinating and different, and that difference makes me want to know it more.
With a rich culture, and long history. Nerdgasm
Mandarin will be very prominent for the future too. But so will Spanish (Rise of Hispanic America), and French (Rise of Africa). And so many others.

That said, It goes beyond this, Because I like Spanish as spoken in Spain, and Traditional Chinese Characters. And that is what I go by in my studies.
However erratic and distracted my attention span and therefore study time may be.

lol at this thread

I like Barry Farber’s views on language learning motivation

“The ads for self study language courses stress the business, travel, cultural, and literary advantages of acquiring another language. But what about meeting girls? Or women? Or boys? Or men? Why let an old-fashioned propriety quash that thoroughly proper, in fact praiseworthy, reason to learn another language, namely to enlarge your range of social opportunites…”