Learning Mandarin

I’ve been to Japan, Hong Kong (twice), Macao, and Shanghai. I definitely liked Japan the best because I found the people to be polite and, somewhat surprisingly, they have a lot of American interaction. But, oddly, I didn’t see a lot of Americans while I was in Japan.

When trying to figure out what languages I might want to think about a bit more, Mandarin or Cantonese are two clear options because of the up-and-coming influence of China on the world. Especially given the current pandemic, I think it is incredibly important that we all think about how the next two to five years is going to look. How is it going to shake out?

My guess is China is going to continue their path to take over as the leading “superpower.” They have a plan and that involves collecting data, making investments and basically doing what anyone can do – buy America. With the new administration moving in this week, I don’t see anything stopping them. In fact, I’m confident restrictions will be lifted, Chinese companies will continue to take over now defunct American factories to serve the U.S. customers directly, and it is important for any business person to learn more about Asian culture and languages.

That leads me to think Chinese, also known as Mandarin, is the first choice of language to learn more about. The first question should be, how to start and where can I find someone who speaks Mandarin to help me learn? Interaction and immersion are too good methods.

The “spaced learning” method is popularized recently. It is basically studying, reflecting, applying. Rinse, wash and repeat.

As a visual learner, I am going to try a different approach. I am actually going to try to write Chinese or at least use a keyboard to try to write it. My proficiency on a keyboard should help.

I’m checking on types of keyboard overlays but with three to four thousand characters to learn, it will be challenging. I’ll be done in a week. Just kidding.



I grew up in Baltimore and currently live in the Rodgers Forge community just north of Baltimore City.

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