There is no language in the world as widely spoken or as ancient as Mandarin. With a written history dating back more than 3,000 years, Mandarin is the oldest written language still commonly spoken today, with around 917 million native speakers throughout the world.
But despite its commonality, the potential for heinous mispronunciation and a complicated writing system has made Mandarin a notoriously difficult language to learn. This reputation is undeserved, however, as many people will find that the grammar is a breeze.
Learning the basics of Mandarin could be well worth your time — around a seventh of the world population speaks Mandarin, so grasping the basics of language will introduce you to a world of possibilities. Whether you’re looking to make human connections during your travels, want to be able to find your way in China’s hectic cities, or simply want to know how to order hot pot, this guide will help get to grips with Mandarin.