It’s often said that people shouldn’t compare different languages with each other or say that some languages are harder than others to study. I understand this sentiment but also think it’s useful to be aware of certain key differences between the challenge of learning Chinese compared to that of taking on other languages, particularly those more closely related to our mother tongue.
Many learners feel disappointed when they compare their speed of progress to friends studying other languages. You might see people online who appear to have reached fluency in Spanish in under a year while you still don’t feel fluent in Mandarin after several years. It can be easy to wonder if there’s something wrong with you as a learner.
The reality is that there’s nothing wrong with you and there may not even be anything wrong with your learning methods. I think it’s helpful to be aware that there are particular challenges involved in learning Mandarin which make it, if not more difficult than many other languages, then certainly more time consuming.
To discuss this topic with me on today’s episode is polyglot Alej, also known by his YouTube name Langaholic. Alej has taken on a number of languages, including Mandarin, and is in a great position to explore how the challenge of learning Chinese differs from other languages.
How about you? Have you learned other languages besides Mandarin? How have your experiences of learning Mandarin been different? Let me know in the comments.