1. Mandarin does not give a damn about tenses.
There are none!
2. The alphabet is totally phonetic.
It’s called Pinyin and it makes the ABCs look pretty lame.
3. It doesn’t have that many combinations of sounds.
As opposed to thousands in English.
4. Mandarin ain’t got no time for too many syllables.
The majority of words only have one or two syllables.
5. You can usually understand people even if you can’t make out the tones.
Tones = inflections. You can still figure out what people are saying through context.
6. You could even just learn spoken Chinese with Pinyin and be illiterate.
If you want a quicker route. (Note: NOT promoting illiteracy here, just sayin…)
7. Don’t like articles? GREAT! Mandarin doesn’t either.
There are none.
8. Nouns don’t have plurals.
Nouns do have “units” that you have to remember, but kiss those -es’s goodbye.
9. OR genders.
There are gendered pronouns (like he/she), but that’s about it. China thinks that pineapple should have a choice whether it’s male or female.
10. All sentence patterns are fixed.
Subject + time + location + verb + object all day every day.
12. Mandarin and Cantonese characters are written the same.
Killing two birds with one stone AMIRITE?
13. Numbers are used wayyyy more effectively and efficiently.
Months, for example, are just number + word for month. So January is 1 month, February is 2 month, etc.
14. You don’t necessarily have to worry about dealing with different dialects.
Though people will talk smack behind your back if you don’t speak Cantonese in Hong Kong or Hakka in a Hakka neighborhood, almost everyone understands Mandarin.
15. Some words actually look like the thing they describe.
It’s kind of like reading a picture book. Ish. Which is always cool.
Convinced? Check out some free online Mandarin tutorials here.
- And President Obama actually made his daughters laugh at the annual White House turkey pardon. ›