What's the bigger world language - Mandarin Chinese or English? by Teddy Nee

In today's blog article, I'm proud to share a personal account from the other side of the world. Teddy Nee is from Indonesia, studies in Taiwan and has high ambitions to be speaking 6 languages: Fujianese, Indonesian, English, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and Esperanto. Teddy says on his website that learning languages mostly requires discipline and commitment, and in his article today he'll talk more about how English and Mandarin compare.

English and Mandarin from Personal Experience

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “English”? You may recognize it as an international language.

What will you think about “Mandarin”? Is it the second international language?

International Languages

Mandarin has the world’s most speakers, followed by English. Nevertheless, most of the resources
on the Internet utilize English as the content language. W3Techs conducted a survey and showed that more than 55% of websites use English. Moreover, about half of research journal publications in the world use English.

English has also been the most utilized foreign language for international events – conferences, business meetings, etc. The number of English as foreign language speakers has surpassed 700 million people.

English and Mandarin rank top two of the list of international languages – most spoken and most utilized. The importance of English and the recent popularity of Mandarin have made both of them the most highly demanded second languages.

The Benefit of English and Mandarin

I came to Taiwan to pursue my study in Applied Computing at the International College of Ming Chuan University in 2008. After my graduation in 2012, I received a scholarship to pursue IMBA studies in the international program at National Taipei University of Technology, Taiwan.

Having the opportunity to study in these international programs, I noticed that students from around the world use English as the common language. However, Chinese students and students of Chinese ancestry (also known as “overseas Chinese”) will tend to use Mandarin in communicating among one another although Mandarin may be their second language. They mainly come from Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Macau. Thus, knowing both English and Mandarin would give you the highest chance to socialize with people of different language backgrounds. Understanding the culture is also important because it complements the socializing manner.

Furthermore, numerous companies have made English and/or Mandarin ability one of their employment requirements. Therefore, knowing them absolutely makes the job seekers, including me, more competitive in the job market.

Personal Learning Experience

I have learned English for more than 10 years at school, just like most of the students around the world. I love reading very much and it is one of my language learning methods. One of my favorite English magazines while I was in school was Reader’s Digest.

Reader’s Digest covers a wide variety of topics, including jokes and games.

Mandarin shares similarity with the Minnan language that I speak as one of my native languages. Thus, speaking Mandarin has been easier than writing or reading. Mandarin has been the compulsory subject of foreign language in the school that I attended while I was in the third year of junior high school.

I also took a summer Mandarin course at National Taiwan Normal University in 2011. You can find numerous resources on the Internet about Simplified Chinese (Mainland China) and Traditional Chinese (Taiwan). Apart from using the learning materials that I found on the Internet, I also practice by reading Chinese articles on websites.


The speaker of English and Mandarin definitely get an abundance of advantages. The difficulty and ease of learning them depend on the learners’ language background. Discipline with the language-learning schedule and commitment to learning the language form two most important principles in my language learning.

Note from Kerstin

Hope you enjoyed today's guest post from Teddy - you should absolutely go over to his blog and check out the wealth of free resources he shares over there: neeslanguageblog.com.

I love how Teddy cites reading as one of his favourite things to do in a foreign language, and hadn't even thought of Reader's Digest as a resource for it. Is there a version in the language that you are learning?