BITS and Pieces

Get global. Get ahead.


Our language-pick for the month is Mandarin Chinese, roughly spoken by 70% of the world’s population (that’s one-fifth of the planet!). Coming from one of the richest and oldest living civilizations of red dragons, Kung Fu, paper lanterns, silk, dim sums and teas, Mandarin serves as the official language in China and Taiwan, and a second dialect in Singapore

Mandarin – What’s that?

Did you know ‘Chinese’ is not actually a language? A common mistake made by many; Mandarin is the matter of choice and the most widely spoken of all Chinese dialects across mainland China. It is one of the 6 official languages at the UN and also used as a lingua franca by huge diasporas across Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mongolia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, USA, and Viet Nam, with a staggering 935 million speakers.

How’s it Trending

Due to its number of speakers and political importance, Mandarin definitely qualifies as a dominant global language. With its “hànzi” characters that resemble pictoral symbols and its interesting vertical script, it is often considered a challenge to learn. Add to it the complexity of Simplified and Traditional Chinese characters and you have enough reasons to not want to learn it. But, as the borders between countries melt, the benefits of learning Mandarin perhaps far outweigh those of learning any other language. It made even a Mark Zuckerberg want to wow his audience with his grasp of Mandarin during a lecture at one of China’s most prestigious universities.

Factor in Globalisation

Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language then that goes to his heart.” And sure enough, with the growing economic prominence of China, learning Mandarin seems like a logical choice for business students everywhere. Business leaders and employers are also looking for people who can speak Mandarin and develop key business links with China. Mandarin has indeed become a sought after skill, that gives you an edge when competing in a globalised world where an MBA degree does not suffice, but fluency in a foreign language definitely adds that clout to your resume.

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Alifya Thingna - Associate Director | Key Accounts Having grown up around the Middle East and India, Alifya is a shy, yet friendly and colourful personality with a keen interest in human psychology, ethnology and contemporary dance forms. An aesthete by nature, she is extremely passionate about getting to know new people, immersing herself in new cultures, writing and doing the 'little things' that make this world a better place to live in. She also has a Masters degree in French literature, enjoys biking and is the modern definition of a logophile and an equalist.