Studying Mandarin Chinese In Taiwan

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Mandarin Chinese Study In Taiwan

Before focusing on the details about studying Mandarin in Taiwan, we’ll summarize some basics about studying Mandarin Chinese that anyone interested in even visiting Taiwan should probably take note of. First, to start studying Mandarin in Taiwan, one should almost definitely contact a professional Chinese school or instructor.

Casually picking up Chinese by learning “on the street” doesn’t quite work as effectively as it might with Western languages which are similar in nature. In Mandarin Chinese, there are strict pronunciation and grammar rules you must learn in order to speak properly.  However, after only a few months of Mandarin Chinese study it is possible to improve through self-study and practicing with Taiwanese friends and acquaintances.

Traditional or Simplified Chinese Characters?

It is vital to understand that there is one main difference between Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan and that in Mainland China: the characters. In Taiwan ‘fan ti zi’ or traditional characters are in use, while in Mainland China, the characters have undergone simplification resulting in simplified characters which have replaced the original versions.

Under Mao, the Chinese Communist Party simplified the characters in an effort (some would say a misguided one) to make learning the difficult language less onerous for the masses. Many students of Chinese in Mainland China will tell you that learning traditional characters is is pointless unless you happen to have a special interest in Taiwan or the study of ancient Chinese texts. Others correctly say that it is very useful in allowing you learn the history and interrelationship of the Chinese characters.

In fact, traditional Chinese characters tell you much more about the logic and relationship of the different symbols than do the simplified characters.  It’s much, much easier to study the traditonal characters first, then you can easily pick up the simplified ones if you have the desire.  Trying to learn the traditional characters after having started with the simplified characters is a great deal more difficult.

Study Near Taipei City if Possible

Taiwan is home to many Mandarin Chinese language classes which are world class. These are usually offered through the various universities throughout Taiwan. If your primary motivation for going to Taiwan is specifically to learn Chinese, it is best to stay in the northern part of the island, especially Taipei.

The reason for this is, though the entire island is quite beautiful and the people are generally warmer in the south, the number of good Chinese speakers decreases. The further away from Taipei you are, the more the Taiwanese language and other local dialects become predominate. Southern locations can offer less expensive and equally effective Mandarin Chinese language programs with exceptional instructors, but it can be frustrating to step out of Chinese class and hear a language being spoken other than what you’ve studied in class.

Learning Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan

Most every Mandarin language program in Taiwan teaches the standard Beijing pronunciation. Don’t worry about speaking with a Beijing accent in Taiwan. Taiwanese people may not necessarily be big fans of the large numbers of of Mainlanders that have started to travel here, but if you are able to speak with the standard accent they will be extremely impressed, and give you lots of compliments.

Learning Mandarin in Taiwan is very rewarding and also highly frustrating. It is almost sure to be completely different from anything you’ve ever experienced before. Learning Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan will open doors in your life and help introduce you to one of the most fascinating cultures in the world.

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