A chamber of commerce has started a class for adults who are interested in learning Mandarin for business, and the opportunity is sparking interest among business-minded people who are interested in Chinese trade or tourism.
The class being offered by the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce in Michigan. It is being taught on a weekly basis by Erika McNamara, who lived in China for several years, and Lisa Zhong, a native of China.
“Hopefully, it’s something they’ll be able to use and be useful for them,” McNamara said. “Hopefully, they’ll be able to be a lot more comfortable when they arrive, because when I went there it was difficult because I didn’t know any Chinese.
“(Mandarin) is difficult, but I also think it’s good for people to learn difficult things and step outside of the box and understand other people from around the world,” she added.
Mandarin is the oldest writing system on the planet, and is spoken in China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. The character, calledd Pingyin, can be written left to right, right to left, or top to bottom. There are over 100,000 Mandarin characters, and students will start by learning some of them.
“We’re excited to help the business community learn the main language of China because so many people are now doing business in China,” said chamber president and CEO Pam McConeghy. “We are here to equip them so they are successful when doing business in China.”