Lifestyle: Mandarin is the most difficult language to master, finds survey
With language training playing such an important role in the success or failure of employees relocating to new countries for job assignments, human resources executives of global companies were surveyed about their own views on language learning.
Cartus, a provider of domestic and global relocation services, asked several hundred relocation and human resources professionals, “Which language do you think would be most difficult to learn?”
Survey respondents in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC) regions all ranked Mandarin Chinese (38%) as the most difficult language to master, followed by Japanese and Arabic (tied at 18%).
“Relocation professionals, who work with employees being transferred around the world, understand the importance of mastering languages other than their own,” said Patrice Heinzer, vice president, Intercultural and Language Solutions for Cartus. “The perception that Mandarin is a particularly difficult language to learn, particularly for Western language speakers, is due to its thousands of characters and tonal inflections that give different meanings to words.”
All Cartus language programs include an intercultural element that takes the learner beyond fluency to a mastery of the culturally appropriate use of language. Cartus’ strategic alliance with Learnship—an innovative online language training provider—makes Cartus’ high-quality, in-person training accessible online through a unique, proprietary digital platform that mirrors its personal customization and training expertise.
“It’s the ability to understand the ‘meaning behind the meaning’ that enables people living and working abroad to become truly effective not just in negotiating and influencing but even in the simplest business and everyday interactions,” said Heinzer.
Additionally, Cartus asked relocation professionals which language they most wanted to learn. Respondents from the U.S., EMEA and APAC all agreed, naming Spanish as their first choice.