Chinese, from Ancient to Modern Day

The Chinese language is estimated to be 3000 years old. Based on archaeological evidence dating back to the Shang Dynasty, is is estimated that the first Chinese characters were born 3,000 years ago These characters would then spread to other countries, including Japan and Korea. Today, Chinese is a major language not just in China, but also in Singapore and Taiwan. You will even find many Chinese communities in Malaysia and Indonesia. an image

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China is a fascinating country. It has a deep history and culture and at one time, China was even a major technological innovator. Today, China is the second largest economy in the world, overtaking Japan several years ago. As one of the major Asian powers, it is also attractive for westerners who want to do business there. Whilst some people in China can speak English fluently, there are still many more people who are not fluent in English. Thus, to get around China, you'll be relying on your Mandarin skills and your ability to read Chinese characters (where English is not available).
Chinese has 8 major dialect groups, with Mandarin and Cantonese being the major dialects. Since Chinese is a tone dependent language, learning Chinese may be difficult for westerners at first, but with enough practice and proper guidance, it's possible to become fluent over time. Unless you are strictly staying in Hong Kong or Macau, you probably want to focus on Mandarin rather than Cantonese as Mandarin is more widely used. Also, learning Chinese characters is always challenging but with enough persistence and a good teacher, you should be able to pick up Chinese characters over time. an image