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If you were to learn either Mandarin or Spanish which would you choose

(25 Posts)
BarbieLovesKen Mon 22-Aug-11 22:55:38

And why?

MadamDeathstare Mon 22-Aug-11 23:09:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IndigoBell Tue 23-Aug-11 09:22:54

Spanish. Because there's a chance I'd actually be able to learn it. In fact for English speakers Spanish is a very easy language to learn.

Mandarin is a tonal language - absolutely no chance I'd be able to learn to speak it.

And it has no alphabet - absolutely no chance I'd be able to learn to read it.

midnightexpress Tue 23-Aug-11 09:27:55

I guess it depends what you mean by 'learn'. If you're going to have a lot of time to devote to it, and have an aptitude for languages then perhaps I'd go for Mandarin, as it'll no doubt be very useful in future (and now, in fact!). It's also a fascinating language (I only know a little about it from work, but very interesting if you're interested in language more generally). If not then perhaps Spanish, which is also very useful, but much easier for an English speaker, for all the reasons already given.

BedHog Tue 23-Aug-11 09:31:38

Will you be learning it for practical reasons, or just for fun?

Lizcat Tue 23-Aug-11 10:02:14

I would learn mandarin as it is the mostly widely spoken language on earth. Secondly I am a scientist and for maths/science people it is supposed to be easier to learn than Latin languages.
Interestingly DD is at a school that introduces languages early she started French at 3years of age adn mandarin at 5 years of age. She is also appears to be maths/science orientated and already has a massive mandarin vocab. - 37 different types of animals is just one area.

GrendelsMum Tue 23-Aug-11 10:37:45

I learnt a little Mandarin at University for fun - it's huge fun to learn, and you get to travel round China far more easily, even with just a few phrases.

upahill Tue 23-Aug-11 10:40:18

Spanish - because I go to Spain and Spanish speaking countries a lot so it is useful for me to know the language.

I've never had the need to speak Mandarin but have often wished I could speak Spanish better.

cumbria81 Tue 23-Aug-11 11:15:29


Fine, more people speak Mandarin but realistically when are you going to get to use it?

midnightexpress Tue 23-Aug-11 11:24:01

Cumbria, that depends on what the OP is learning it for, doesn't it? If it's for business, s/he might well use Mandarin. Probably more likely than Spanish in many countries and a knowledge of Mandarin would be very useful for business in the whole of East Asia.

crazycarol Tue 23-Aug-11 19:25:26

Mandarin is supposed to be a very up and coming business language. it is becoming more popular in schools. If you are thinking of a career / advancement in business then it is definitely the one to pick. Spanish is probably easier for native english speakers and quite useful for holidays, or for oaps going to spain when they retire.

KenDoddsDadsDog Tue 23-Aug-11 19:28:37

Spanish! But I did Spanish at uni, loved it and am fluent. I flatshared with a Spanish girl who studied Mandarin. The sounds were interesting and quite difficult but it was fascinating.

Acekicker Wed 24-Aug-11 21:37:06

Depends entirely on why you want to do it - if it's for a 'challenge' then Mandarin will clearly be more challenging than Spanish. If you want to reach a basic level of fluency quickly then Spanish would probably get you there more quickly than Mandarin.

Is it for career prospects or a 'second string'? If so then think about practically when you could use it. Mandarin may statistically have more speakers but Spanish would be more use in North and South America.

If you have a flair for languages and want to keep building on them, then something like Spanish would give you a headstart should you then want to do something like Italian, Portuguese, Romanian etc.

If you're asking me personally what I'd learn then I'd probably go for Spanish because I've done some and would like to do more (plus it is more use in my work).

sakura Thu 25-Aug-11 05:43:43

Mandarin. When the US falls China will be the next empire!

sleepywombat Thu 25-Aug-11 05:58:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Scaevola Thu 25-Aug-11 07:29:22

If you are dyslexic, the Spanish.

Mandarin, if you are to learn to read and write, involves a huge amount of rote learning as it is not alphabetic and you have to learn every single character (which is why not for dyslexics, if you have a choice). At least the grammar of Mandarin is pretty straightforward, but it can be difficult ever to sound right (adults coming to tonal languages can struggle).

Is this a choice for fun or for business? And to what level do you hope to learn?

TheBolter Thu 25-Aug-11 07:38:33

As a Spanish speaker, I would obviously vote Spanish. It's a great base for all other Latin-based languages and once you have a good grasp of it you'll find that should you wish to learn French, Italian etc it'll be easier for you.

wineandcheese Fri 26-Aug-11 15:34:36

It depends how much time you have for your study, and what you plan to use the language for. If it's just for fun, and for holidays, then I'd vote Spanish.

I tried - and failed - to learn Mandarin through evening classes. I enjoy learning languages but it was bloody difficult. You need to devote a lot of time to learning the characters and tones as well as the vocab.

AmyStake Fri 26-Aug-11 15:39:42

Mandarin hands down. That would open a lot of doors for you business wise. Also be very handy when China eventually takes over the world

Atropos Fri 26-Aug-11 15:43:43

Mandarin, as I already speak Spanish, but Spanish is an easy language to learn and the sounds are are not difficult to make. Therefore, unless you're a committed linguist, a Sinophile or a masochist, I'd recommend Spanish.

The Bolter Spanish and Italian are the only two languages I ever confuse. Ditto my father who was multi-lingual and very gifted with many languages.

lardprao Thu 01-Sep-11 23:18:23

Mandarin is hard; my degree was in Chinese and you have to devote many hours to learning the language. Don't compare to European languages. Grammar is easy but reading and writing take a long time!

BecauseImWorthIt Thu 01-Sep-11 23:23:46

Chinese is a tonal language, and it is critical to get the tones right in order to speak properly/use the right words/make yourself understood.

However there are only 4 tones, so it's really not that difficult. I suspect that those who say it's hard are those who aren't prepared to learn to pronounce any language properly. (Something we British are spectacularly 'good' at).

Actually, Mandarin isn't that hard, really. What makes it more complicated than other languages is that you have to learn the characters, so there's an extra step to the language.

I've been learning it for the last 4 years (although very, very part time - have one, 2 hour lesson a week), and thoroughly enjoy it. It is, apparently, very good for developing the conceptual, creative side of your brain.

Having said all of this, the choice between the two languages would depend entirely on why I was needing to learn either of them. To be honest, I'd probably push to do both! They are definitely the languages of the future.

cat64 Thu 01-Sep-11 23:33:21

Message withdrawn

ZZZenAgain Sat 03-Sep-11 17:25:54

as an adult?

If I had not already learnt it, I think I would choose Spanish. Simply because I always seem to encounter a lot of Spanish speaking people and there are always some in my regular "social circle", wherever I seem to end up living. It is also not particularly difficult if you are not aiming to pass yourself off as a native speaker, you will soon be able to communicate well.

kerrymumbles Sat 03-Sep-11 17:26:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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