Learning a new language takes motivation, determination and time. It can be confusing and intimidating. Sometimes, it’s also very boring because verbs don’t conjugate themselves. But you know, sometimes verbs don’t have to be conjugated at all. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Learning a language is like skating
Languages are considered difficult when they are particularly complex and are not closely related to your native language. It’s like skating: If you know how to roller-skate, ice-skating will be easy. Considering how ‘removed’ from western languages and how complex they are, mastering Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Arabic is like getting a perfect score in an Olympic skating event.
Well, not quite.
It really only has to do with how many hours you spend learning the language, the resources you have available and how motivated you are. Any of these difficult languages can be learned. They just take a little more time and effort. But nothing is impossible. Neither in language learning nor in an ice skating rink.
Why you should learn Chinese or Arabic
- So many study buddies
You will be able to speak to millions, no, billions of people. There are 1.2 billion native Chinese speakers in the world – that’s one fifth of our planet’s population. Think of all the endless possibilities to practice your skills with native speakers.
- More bang for your buck
All of the countries with “the tricky languages” are absolutely beautiful, have a rich culture and a fascinating history. And let’s not forget their influential contributions to science, medicine or philosophy. Exploring these destinations will be so much more rewarding when you speak the language.
- There are grammar perks (high five!)
Chinese verbs do not have to be conjugated at all, Japanese verbs only a little. Chinese grammar is easy, Arabic grammar is very logical. Japanese has a lot of borrowed words from English and its nouns are gender neutral. Korean has a pictorial writing system so it’s comparatively easy to read and write.
- Get that corner office
You will improve your career prospects. Learning Chinese or Japanese shows that you are determined and focused, and you will be a sought-after candidate for jobs in industries that do international business – which is almost every business these days.
- It’s actually fun
There are fun resources for learning tricky languages: Chineasy, for example.
- You’re officially awesome
It’s rewarding. Everyone can learn an easy language. It takes a lot of perseverance, motivation and time to immerse in a completely new culture and even learn new scripts and a different alphabet. Go ahead, pad yourself on the shoulder!
- Spontaneous cheers possible
You will be the star at every party and you can impress your dinner date by chitchatting with the chef at your favorite sushi or dim sum spot.
- That tattoo means soy sauce
If you know Chinese or Japanese, you will be able to read other people’s tattoos and tell them if it really means what they think it means.