top of page
  • Manhattan Mandarin's Amazing Intern 朋友s

Why Learning Mandarin is Easier than French

Learning a new language can be an exciting and challenging journey. While every language has its unique complexities and nuances, some languages are easier to learn than others. Mandarin Chinese and French are two popular languages that attract learners worldwide. However, many learners find Mandarin Chinese to be easier to learn than French.

Firstly, Mandarin Chinese has a simpler grammatical structure than French. Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, meaning that different tones can alter the meaning of a word. However, the grammar itself is relatively straightforward, with no verb conjugations, no gender agreement, and no articles. This simplicity makes Mandarin Chinese easier to learn for beginners, as there are fewer rules to memorize and more focus on acquiring vocabulary.

In contrast, French has a more complex grammatical structure. French has a wide range of verb conjugations that change depending on the tense, mood, and subject. Additionally, French has gender agreement, meaning that nouns and adjectives must match in gender with the noun they are modifying. French also has articles that must agree with the gender and number of the noun they modify. These grammar rules can be challenging for beginners, and it can take a while to memorize them all.

Secondly, Mandarin Chinese has a logo-syllabic writing system, while French has an orthographic writing system. Mandarin Chinese uses characters that represent sounds, and each character has a specific meaning. While there are thousands of characters to learn, each character has a unique pronunciation, making it easier to understand unfamiliar words that contain characters you are already familiar with. For instance, once you learn 学生 (xue sheng - student), you will have an easier time further learning related words that also contain the character 学 (xue): 学校 (xue xiao - school), 学习 (xue xi - to study), and 同学 (tongxue - classmate). Additionally, many characters have a visual component, or radicals, that can help learners remember their meanings.

In contrast, French has a complex orthographic writing system, where many letters are not pronounced or pronounced differently than their English counterparts. For example, the letters "eau" in French are pronounced "o," and "ou" can be pronounced "oo" or "u." There are also many silent letters, such as the final "s" in "plaisirs" (pleasures), which can be confusing for learners.

Thirdly, Mandarin Chinese has a simpler vocabulary than French. While Mandarin Chinese has thousands of characters, many of them are compounds of simpler characters, making it easier to learn and remember new words. Additionally, Chinese has fewer synonyms than French, which can simplify the process of vocabulary acquisition. Chinese also has fewer irregularities in its vocabulary, making it easier to apply rules and patterns.

French also has a more extensive vocabulary with many synonyms and homophones, which can make it difficult to choose the right word in context. Additionally, French has many irregular verbs, making it challenging to apply patterns and rules. French also has many idiomatic expressions that can be confusing for learners.

Mandarin Chinese has a more logical structure than French. Mandarin Chinese is a language that values simplicity and directness, with few exceptions to its grammar and vocabulary rules. Chinese grammar rules are based on logic, making it easier for learners to understand and apply them.

French has many exceptions to its rules, making it difficult for learners to predict how words and sentences will be structured. Additionally, French has many idiomatic expressions that are not always easy to understand logically.

Mandarin Chinese is generally considered to be easier to learn than French due to its simpler grammar, phonetic writing system, simpler vocabulary, and more logical structure. Of course, every learner is different, and some may find French easier to learn than Mandarin Chinese. Still, the evidence suggests that Mandarin Chinese has some significant advantages over French when it comes to language acquisition. Regardless of which language you choose to learn, the key to success is perseverance, practice, and a willingness to learn from your mistakes.

If you're interested in learning Mandarin with us, book a free private trial lesson at


bottom of page