Why Should You Learn Chinese?

My first answer is maybe you shouldn’t learn Mandarin. Chinese is not the easiest language to learn. Basic Chinese grammar is easy but Chinese has tones and these are difficult for some people. Reading and writing aren’t really difficult, but there is a lot of memorization involved. When it comes down to it, learning Chinese is a lot of work. I may be missing something, but I can only really think of four reasons to study Chinese.

You Want to Experience the World in a New and Different Way

When you learn a foreign language, you get the opportunity to look at the world in a new way. The foreign culture begins to make sense on a deeper level. This happened for me when I learned how to write the characters 你 and 您. You will notice that a good portion of these two characters are the same. The left character means you, nǐ. The right character is the polite version of you, nín. What I find fascinating is the bottom right of the character 您 is 心, which means heart. So the polite version of you has heart in it. Another thing that I have always found fascinating is that business cards are called 名片 or name cards in Chinese.

You Are Struggling With Chinese Culture

If you do business in China and don’t speak Chinese, it becomes even more difficult for you to connect with Chinese business partners. First, you don’t speak their language (and 你好 is not enough!). Second, when you can’t understand Chinese, it is more difficult to understand the culture. I remember when I was just starting out and I thought that Chinese people sounded angry all of the time. Now I know that they were just using words that have the fourth tone. Third, when you speak Chinese, you begin to understand all of the nonverbal communication. You learn that moving your hand down in a way that suggests keep down in the US means come here in China. When you go deeper you learn that a grunt, that sounds like no in English, is in fact a confirmation that they agree with what you just said.

Learning Chinese will Expand Your Career Opportunities

How many people in the United States (or other western countries) speak Chinese? How useful is Chinese in business today? How much more useful will Chinese be each year? All of these suggest that for many people, there is an advantage to speaking basic Chinese. It may not be right for you, in which case, you should refer to the first sentence of this article. On the other hand, if you work in an industry that is involved with China – and what industry isn’t these days! – perhaps learning Chinese makes a lot of sense for you. In landlocked Colorado, China is the 3rd largest export destination, Hong Kong is the 9th, Taiwan is the 16th and Singapore is the 19th. Speaking Mandarin is an advantage in all of these places. China is also investing abroad. China invested $5.5 billion in tight oil and shale gas. Being able to speak Chinese is an advantage in the oil and gas field in Colorado.

You Enjoy Learning New Languages

Some of our students speak 3 or 4 languages. If you enjoy learning languages, then learning Chinese makes a lot of sense. Chinese has a the reputation of being a difficult language to learn. This just isn’t true. It is not easy, but it is also not that difficult. The grammar is fairly easy. Reading and writing involve memorization, but there’s a lot of that in any language. To top it off, you will be exposed to a tonal language. In tonal languages, the way you say the words, changes the meaning of the word. For example in Chinese, the word ma has different meanings based on the way you say it. It can mean horse, mother or yell.

What Language is Right for You?

It could be that learning Spanish or another skill makes more sense for you. Maybe you fly to Europe for business and German makes more sense. Some people are better off learning Spanish and others should consider a skill. All of that said, for many people, learning Chinese is the right answer. What’s right for you?

Learn Mandarin: What’s Your Name?

Now that you have finished with pinyin, we’d like to get you started with some phrases. If you found us on the internet, sign up for the entire course to learn Mandarin here.

Learn What’s your name? Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?

This pattern is subject + verb + question word + object.

The subject is, which uses the 3rd tone and means you.

The verb is jiào, which uses the 4th tone and means called.

The question word is shénme. Shén uses the second tone and me uses the neutral tone. Together they mean what.

The object in this case is míngzi. Míng is second tone followed by another quick neutral toned zi.

Together, these are the equivalent of “You called what name?” or “What’s your name?”

 

Learn Mandarin: Some Examples

Here are some examples of how to greet someone and ask their name in Mandarin.

First, we learn how to ask someone what their family (or last) name is.

Nín hǎo. nín guì xīng– Hi. What’s your family name?

Wǒ xīng zhāng. – My family name is Zhang.

 

Nín hǎo. Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi? Hi. What’s your name?

Wǒ jiào Sharon. – My name is Sharon.

 

Now we review how to ask someone their name.

Nín hǎo. Wǒ jiào Sharon, nǐ nē. Hi. My name is Sharon. What about you (What’s your name?)

Wǒ jiào Amy. – My name is Amy.

 

Here is a quick response you can use after meeting someone.

Hěn gāoxìng rénshī nǐ.– I am happy to meet you.

Wǒ yě hěn gāoxìng rénshì ní. – I’m also happy to meet you.

 

Another way to respond when someone says it is a pleasure to meet you.

Hěn gāoxìng rénshì nǐ. – I am happy to meet you.

Wǒ yě shì. – Me too!

Here’s the Entire Conversation in Pinyin

Nín hǎo nín guì xīng
Wǒ xīng zhāng.
Nín hǎo. Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?
Wǒ jiào Sharon.
Nín hǎo. Wǒ jiào Sharon, nǐ nē.
Wǒ jiào Amy.
Hěn gāoxìng rénshī nǐ.
Wǒ yě hěn gāoxìng rénshì ní.
Hěn gāoxìng rénshì nǐ.
Wǒ yě shì.

Listen to the Conversation and Learn Mandarin

[grandmp3 id=1156 autoplay=false]

Announcing Class for Parents Adopting in China

Denver, CO— April 17, 2013 —Hong Tu China Business Services proudly announces a free online class for any parents who have or are planning to adopt a Chinese child. The company is offering this class as part of its celebration of a new company name and expansion into national markets.

“Our company has been so blessed with wonderful and loyal clients. We wanted to give back to the parents who open their homes and hearts to Chinese children. This just seemed like a natural way for Hong Tu to give back to those parents who already provide so much,” said Michael Black, CEO at Hong Tu China Business Services.

Chinese for American Adopting Parents

There are many Chinese classes available through local colleges, universities and various training centers. Unlike most available classes, this Chinese class is geared towards the vocabulary and cultural nuances needed in the adoption process. The class is online, which allows for flexibility for parents to balance their time. And since the adoption process can be expensive, this is one less costly item on an adopting family’s list.
“As someone native to the Chinese culture and also as a parent raising my own children in the U.S., I welcome the opportunity to help American parents as they cross between these two cultures that will forever be part of their child’s life” said Chang Ching-Yen, Vice President of Product Development at Hong Tu China Business Services.
Founded in 2010, Hong Tu China Business Services is a growing leader in Chinese language and cultural education. The company offers an expanding range of products and services designed to prepare American companies and business professionals to successfully do business with their Chinese counterparts.

China’s Shifting Business Landscape

The relationship between business and government in China is very different than what you are used to. It is worth your time to become familiar with some of the differences.

Change Comes Fast in China

In one week a major Chinese ministry disappeared and a new state owned company appeared. The process of change really started when the former head of the ministry was expelled from the Party about 4  months ago, but the transformation was completed at warp speed. This is quite different from the United States. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed in March of 2010 after a year of discussion, debate and protests. The regulations are still being written and the new law is still rolling out. The government estimates that the law will be fully implemented in 2015, nearly 5 years after it was passed. There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems, but in the end these differences are reality.

Corporations wanting to do business in China need to be nimble and prepared to react quickly to changes not only in the marketplace but also in the regulatory environment. The Chinese government is far more involved in business than the United States’ government. The regulations affecting your company can change overnight. You want to respond quickly to avoid a possible government campaign against your company.

To do business in China, your company needs to streamline mechanisms for change and empower local managers to react quickly. You or your staff also need to stay on top of developments in the regulatory environment and build strong guanxi with regulatory agencies to minimize the impact of these changes.

Government Structure in China

While the US has a Federal and State system, China’s government is a hierarchy run by the Communist Party. The Party Politburo is at the top of this hierarchy.  The Party overseas the army, the State Council, the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Consultative Conference. The NPC is China’s legislature and, according to the Chinese constitution “the highest organ of state power”. In fact, the NPC typically rubber stamps laws formulated by the Party. The State Council implements the laws, like the US executive branch. The Chinese People’s Consultative Conference advises the government; it has no authority or power. The Chinese army is commanded by the Communist Party. For more information see this white paper put out by the Congressional Research Service.

Business Regulations in China

The structure of the government and Chinese culture both have an impact on how laws are written and regulations are implemented. Guanxi networks play a key role in Chinese culture. Local governments often favor local champions when enforcing laws or implementing regulations. China’s international relations or friction with trading partners like the US can also have a bearing on how regulations are implemented. As early as 2010, there were reports of a shift in regulation that benefited Chinese businesses.

In the United States, federal regulations trump state regulations and this results in a generally cohesive system. In China, the central government has direct control of all regulations; however, because the culture is so relational, how regulations are implemented can vary greatly from place to place. Your China business plans need to take this into account.

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Learn Mandarin Chinese – Zh, Ch, Sh and R

Learning Mandarin Chinese is Easy

Today we’ll cover four more consonants Zh, Ch, Sh and R.

Making the Sounds

Zh sounds like “J” and “r” in jar, but without the a. Open your mouth in an oval, but keep your teeth together while saying “Jr” with a flat note. It is similar to dr in drive.

Ch is a “Ch” sound.  With Ch, you open your mouth in the same position and keep your teeth together while saying Ch. You then end with a mild r sound. Listen to the recording below to get a better idea.

Sh is a “Sh” sound.  With Sh you use the same mouth pattern of opening up your lips as wide as you can, while at the same time bending your tongue up almost touching the tip to the roof of your mouth. Once again end with an r sound.

R is an R sound.  It is also made with your lips opened up, teeth together and tongue pointed towards the roof of the front of our mouth.

Practice Here

zhī chī shī rī

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All of the Sounds with zhī chī shī rī

zhī: zhā zhē zhāi zhēi zhāo zhōu zhān zhēn zhāng zhēng zhī zhū zhuā zhuō zhuāi zhuī zhuān zhūn zhuāng zhōng
chī: chā chē chāi chāo chōu chān chēn chāng chēng chī chū chuā chuō chuāi chuī chuān chūn chuāng chōng
shī: shā shē shāi shēi shāo shōu shān shēn shāng shēng shī shū shuā shuō shuāi shuī shuān shūn shuāng
rī: rē rāo rōu rān rēn rāng rēng rī rū ruō ruī ruān rūn rōng

[grandmp3 id=555 autoplay=false]

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