Speak For Love | Communicate For Confidence | Inspire For Growth

I am currently attending a course in comprehensive Business Mandarin Course (intermediate) at the Singapore Chinese Instituter Of Commerce and Business. It is not a regular language class where you will study grammar, intonation and rules of speech. Not like that at all. In fact, everyone in my class comes from different language and academic background. Some of us have never studied Mandarin in school. Others who have probably have never used Mandarin for a very long time since leaving school. I am one of those who have studied the language since 2 years old and yet have not used the language actively since leaving school. Other than the daily conversations I have with people I meet , rarely do I engage in conversations using Mandarin at home. So studying Business Mandarin now poses quite a challenge.

Personal Evaluation

It took me more than a day to write this short report. If it were to be submitted in English, I would have taken only 10 minutes. Yes! The difference in the proficiency between the two languages is incredibly big. I have always known it to be hard but I can’t explain how hard it is. After 3 lessons, here are my thoughts about it.

1. Writing Mandarin and writing Business Mandarin are two different matters. How different? Well, there are a few technical issues involved. Like vocabulary. One needs to know and comprehend the words used in the business world in order to use them effectively.

2. Business writing has to be formal. It is this formality that offers the challenge to students. For instance, instead of 我们的公司, we use 本公司. Both mean the same thing, our company. In English, there is no need to change anything once the rule for pronoun or noun is understood and set. Grammar, for that matter, is more constant in English.

3. Your level of proficiency in Mandarin is not equivalent to your proficiency level in Business Mandarin. Indeed, many of the students who attend Business Mandarin classes are ethnic Chinese adults who are proficient in Mandarin. It is one of those hard truth in language learning; you will only discover how good you are when you are put to the test.

3. It is not necessary to read Mandarin in order to start doing business using Mandarin language. Indeed, many trade and businesses are not initiated through formal writing.

4. You must at least know how to speak Mandarin in order to conduct business in Mandarin. How else can you handle a phone call or answer questions at the counter?

5. Oral business Mandarin has nothing to do with general Mandarin conversation. In business, there is a certain formal style of speaking.

So, am I ready for the challenge? Yes, I am. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If I can teach, read, write and speak Mandarin, I can do this too. Business Mandarin, here I come.