To celebrate 2016 International Mother Language Day, this blog post is dedicated to the beautiful languages and dialects of China!
When I mention an interest in learning Chinese dialects, I am almost always met with the same response: What’s the point? Their reasoning is clear: Mandarin Chinese is the lingua-franca in China and the importance of dialects is decreasing, so there seems little point in struggling to learn a Chinese dialect. I, however, argue that there are huge economic, cultural and social benefits of learning a Chinese dialect both inside and outside China. The value of Mandarin as a lingua-franca is clear, however, a brief look below the surface illuminates a plethora of reasons why someone may pursue the study of a Chinese dialect.