Chinese—

  • Most widely spoken first language used by about one fifth of the world’s population
  • Official language of mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and the UN
  • Widely spoken in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world
  • An increasingly important medium of global interaction
  • A tonal language, which is fun to learn and use
  • Not as difficult to learn as many imagine:
    • Most sounds in Chinese similar to those in English
    • Most characters made up of a semantic component and a phonetic one
    • Sounds represented by Pinyin, which uses 25 of the 26 letters of the Roman alphabet
    • Characters formed from eight basic strokes
    • Character writing facilitated by simple rules for stroke sequence
    • No requirement of learning both simplified and traditional characters

China—

  • The worlds’ most rapidly growing economy
  • Poised to be a global superpower
  • One of the four largest countries in the world
  • The biggest population in the world
  • Traditionally the center of Asian cultures
  • One of the four ancient civilizations with immense contributions
  • A unique and complex history of more than 5000 years
  • Different and extremely important ways of thinking
  • Geographic, ethnic and linguistic diversity