Get Acquainted with the Difference in Mandarin Chinese and English

Mandarin is the not the Chinese language, rather, it is one of the many Chinese dialects. Around seventy percent of Chinese speakers use Mandarin. It is not only the accepted written language of Chinese, but it is also considered as the business language of China.

First of all the non-native Mandarin speakers must know that to learn mandarin in shanghai is not at all very difficult. But, still many, especially for those who are used to speaking the English language it seems difficult, which is not so. But why they think so? Is Mandarin so different from English? Let us compare them.

Difference in origin

The English language is closely related to Flemish, Dutch, Low German and Frisians, which belong to the Germanic language family. On the other hand, Mandarin is evolved from Old Chinese and Middle Chinese. The major differences between the two tongues are explained by the fact that Mandarin and English originated from different language families.

Difference in Alphabet

Mandarin, on the other hand, does not have any while the English alphabet is composed of twenty-six letters. Instead, the Mandarin written language is composed of characters. Mandarin’s logographic system is composed of about 10,000 characters, of which an average Mandarin speaker needs to know only about 3,000 to communicate with the language well. While in English, you need to put the letters together to form a word, in Mandarin each character corresponds to a word, which can be combined to form more complex words or concepts.

Difference in Phonology

Mandarin is a tonal language, which means it uses pitch to convey word meanings. In English, changes in pitch help express sentiment. Mandarin has four tones, the neutral tone makes the fifth, rising, high level, dipping and falling. Different meanings are rendered to words by these tones.

In addition, English vowel sounds are more numerous as compared to Chinese. For example, words like full/fool and fit/feet are typically mispronounced by Mandarin speakers. Dipthongs, like the long vowel sounds, are usually shortened to make a single sound.

Difference in vocabulary

When you will study mandarin in shanghai, you will come to know that the combination of particles with short verbs to create phrasal verbs does not apply in Mandarin. In English, this is very common with verbs like “look up to”, “give in” and others.

Difference in Grammar

Mandarin is not an inflected language. The sentiment is communicated through adverbials (such as time or manner), word order or contextual meaning. Different verb forms and tenses do not convey the perception of time in Mandarin. This is dissimilar to English where much of the idea is expressed through the use of verb tense and auxiliaries, such as in walk/walks/walked or is/was/are/were. Basically, the verb system of English is more complex than that of Mandarin.

Modal verbs are limited in Mandarin. English, meanwhile, makes use of modals to express varying intensities or meaning. For instance, that is the reason why, when they make recommendations, requests and appeals, Mandarin speakers may seem to be dictatorial.

The word order is also different between English and Mandarin. In questions, English inverts the subject and the verb, while Mandarin expresses this by adding words to indicate a question. In Mandarin, whereas there are many rules that direct their position in English sentences, adverbials come before verbs. Indeed, between Mandarin and English there are significant differences.