Motivation is key.

I'm starting to believe that motivation is one the most important elements of language learning that is too often overlooked. There is so much discussion around the mechanics of what works rather than talking about how to both find & maintain interest/motivation. 

With that in mind, I'm curious what interested you most about learning Chinese when you first started? What was it?

Was it history or culture?  Or was it for career?  Or just the challenge? Others? And do you find your original interest is still motivating today or has it changed?

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I've been interested into China and it's culture since I was very young. I read all books I could get about China. One of the most interesting book I found was a German translation of 红楼梦。Since that on, I've always wished to be able to read it in Chinese. I' started learning Chinese two and a half years ago. I still have the same motivation and hope, one day I will reach this aim.

I originally began learning for a trip to China, but I stuck with the language because I liked the fact that it lacked many of the complexities of Latin languages like verb conjugation and noun gender. 

I originally began learning because I needed it when I lived in China. But once I moved back, I was still not  fluent, so am still trying to achieve that goal. Also for business. The ability to speak Chinese opens up a world of possibilities.

Josh you are completely right about job prospects. It's pretty common these days to get notifications on linkedin about international positions in china (if you set your country to that) and the first thing i do is search for 'mandarin' or 'chinese' because it always shows up in the 'requirements' section. 

in terms of chinese learning, how far away would you say you are from a job interview entirely in chinese?

I would say that I am quite close to being able to do a job interview, but I would have to actually experience a job interview in only Chinese to say for sure.

My story is quite odd. In China Town there was a 2x1 to learn chinese, and my sister signed us up (during our summer vacations)... We both took interest in the culture but due to schedules reasons my sister quited and I carried on. When I reached level 3, the text book was so boring I didn´t want to go on but then I went to China and Taiwan and came back reloaded and next month I´m starting level 7. 

Hi Martha - that's pretty interesting. I think we can all relate to the 'boring chinese textbook' at one time or another. it has never ceased to amaze me how old fashioned some of them can be, in terms of language content & style. one of the best i've found so far for a intermediate-ish classroom textbook series was "Contemporary Chinese".

I agree that motivation is the key. For me it was a very small thing that inspired me. Two chinese exchange students were living with my dad, and I always wanted to know what they were saying, because it was clear they were talking shit about me now and then, but I hadn't understood a word.

Now I'm on my own path, inspired to learn and prove to those two I have what it takes to learn chinese. So I am currently acquiring a BA majoring in Chinese language and I will be going to live in china after I graduate, at least that's the plan. If I had it my way, I'd be on a plane to china yesterday, but oh well.

Wow, Ethan! If I had it my way, I´d be in China rightnow too.... Lucky me, I won a scholarship to study for one semester in China (next year). Then I will see what I can do to stay there (working hopely). I hope I can meet people from this frum there. Maybe you will be there too! Good luck! 

I would say my original fascination with China were the women. It may sound a bit shallow but find Asian women to be stunningly attractive. Now that I am older and more focused on my career I realize that learning Chinese will put me light years ahead of my competition. I currently speak English and Spanish so adding Chinese to my skill set will allow me to communicate with just about everyone in the Americas and in China which is poised to eclipse the US economy in the next 10-20 years.

Hahaha well at least someone is honest. 

On career - just be sure that you have some skills *and* Chinese.  Lot of people come to China to study Chinese and find that if your skillset is just Chinese, well, there are a lot of Chinese people who can compete with you on that basis.  I have some friends who have a law degree (simultaneous with studying Chinese), then got 10 years legal experience, speak great Chinese and have done very well (especially in HK).   Chinese is one of their many skills.



I originally became interested in learning Chinese as a young child when i would see strange characters on various electronics and in their manuals. I've always been an avid reader and when I encountered something i couldn't understand or even PRONOUNCE, it piqued my interest. 


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