Learning Chinese or Learning English Language

Learning Chinese or Learning English Language – Which is a better choice

Learning a new language is a very time-consuming matter. It not only takes time but also needs a lot of costs- the cost of money, the cost of man-power and the cost of energy. However, while choosing a foreign language, one must analyze his or her needs of that language.

Learning a new language starts with needs. As a result, Needs Analysis is a must while learning a language. Very few people learn a language for pleasure. Language learning is always related to materialistic purposes. For example, people learn languages for their education or for migration or for reading the literary text of that language. In the early days, people learned a language for reading the literary text written in that particular language. For example – learning classical Greek, Latin, etc. But nowadays, people learn a language for living in the target country or for higher education.

The most common and popular foreign languages are English and Chinese. These two languages are two major languages in the world. Chinese is the most spoken language in the world while English is the most spoken second language in the world. The L1 speaker of Chinese is huge while people learn English as both foreign and second language. The following chart shows the number of speakers of English and Chinese:

LanguageL1 speakerL2 speakerTotal speakers
Mandarin Chinese850 million180 million1030 million
English340 million510 million840 million


If you want to learn a language with a large number of speakers and which is spoken by people in many countries, you may choose the following languages: English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Chinese(Mandarin), German, Japanese, Portuguese and Hindi/Urdu. This chronological order is created based on their usefulness.

From the above list, you can easily guess that the first choice is English. If you learn Chinese, most of the time, you have to use it in the Chinese context. Context is a great matter while choosing a language for learning. On the other hand, the English language introduces you to a world where you can use the language everywhere. If you come to a South Asian country like multilingual India, you would find English as a second language. Or if you want to visit any European country, you will find English very useful. In Australia or America, English is the main language. But if you learn Chinese and pay a visit to these Asian, European or Australian countries, you hardly get any benefit. Learning Chinese will be beneficial in China, Taiwan and Singapore as the Chinese language is used as an official language in these countries. Apart from these languages, learning a language is highly related to education. It is the English language where most of the books are written; journals are published and which is the medium of instruction in top universities.

However, while choosing a language- you must need to focus on your needs. If you ask the question: learn Chinese or learn English – which one is the better choice of learning, there is no one absolute answer. If you want to live in Singapore and want to work there, you may need Chinese more than English as it is the official language of the country. But if you want to read in a top university, you must learn English, and you even need to take some English language tests like IELTS or TOEFL. So, learning a language is not an issue of bad vs. good choice, but rather, it is the needs of the readers.


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