Learn Spanish or Chinese

Are you a lover of language challenges?

Would you like to master one of the most spoken languages in the world?

Let’s see if it’s better to learn Spanish or Chinese!

About Spanish

During my language journey, I have learned a thing or two about Spanish. This language is a derivation of several languages that were changing to what´s known today.

It all started back in the Iberian Peninsula between the 3rd and 5th centuries. Other peoples, who brought their culture and languages and imposed them, in a way, invaded the region.

The Spaniards were tired of speaking foreign languages and decided to create their own language of Castile. That is why it´s known as Castilian.

Although there are other native languages in Spain, it was agreed that this would be the official language throughout the country. Later, because of the expeditions and the conquest of America, Spanish became the official language of these other countries. Today, more than 21 countries have Spanish as their official language.

Spanish has Latin roots, but it´s also influenced by Greek, Arabic, and other languages that have enriched it. We could say that it isn´t a pure language but a hybrid language. What an amazing mixture it´s!

Easiest to learn languages

Spanish is one of the easiest languages to learn. You can see it in some language rankings where Spanish is in 4th place. Yes, it occupies 4th place among the easiest languages, of course, for English speakers.

  • Frisian
  • Dutch
  • Norwegian
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • Italian
  • French
  • Swedish
  • Romanian
  • Danish


Chinese is the official and traditional language of China. However, this language has two aspects, Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese Chinese. If learning Chinese is already considered a bit difficult, imagine learning both Mandarin and Cantonese.

That´s why most people choose Mandarin. Cantonese is older and more traditional, therefore more complex than Mandarin.

This language has particular characteristics that we will discover right now. So you will understand which one is your best choice.

  • Tonal language
  • Thousands of characters
  • Complex writing system
  • Not phonetic
  • You must memorize the words and their spelling

Mandarin vs Cantonese

Let’s make a small comparison between Mandarin vs Cantonese. Remember that millions of people, mostly native speakers, speak Chinese.


  • A standardized form of Chinese.
  • Spread throughout most of China.
  • It uses the same characters as Cantonese.
  • Pronunciation is different from Cantonese.
  • Cantonese native speakers do not understand it.
  • It has 4 tones per sound.
  • Easier than Cantonese.
  • Uses simplified characters.
  • Changes sentence structure, depending on the emotional meaning.
  • Used in business and government activities.
  • The official language in China and Taiwan.
  • Taught in public schools.


  • Commonly spoken in Hong Kong.
  • Uses the same characters as Mandarin.
  • Different pronunciation from Mandarin.
  • Mandarin native speakers do not understand it.
  • Has 6-9 tones per sound.
  • More difficult than Mandarin.
  • Uses traditional characters.
  • Follows logical set patterns of grammatical structures.

Most difficult languages to learn

As opposed to Spanish, which is among the easiest languages to learn. Chinese is one of the most difficult languages to learn.

The entities that regulate the learning and use of languages agree on this. So do learners and even native speakers. This doesn’t mean that you can’t choose it.

  • Mandarin
  • Arabic
  • Telugu
  • Japanese
  • Polish
  • Turkish
  • Russian
  • Vietnamese
  • Finnish
  • Korean

Spanish or Chinese

There´s no doubt that there´s a big difference in terms of facilities, advantages, and usefulness between the two languages. However, not stop with this morsel of information. Let’s see why you should learn Spanish or Chinese.

Remember that as an English speaker, you will naturally find it easier to learn Spanish. They may not be identical, but the mere fact of sharing the same alphabet and characters already represents great progress.


The complexity of Chinese versus Spanish is enormous when you are an English-speaking learner. Even for native speakers, it´s a challenge to master their language. This is due to the sheer number of symbols, tones, vocabulary, and characters of the language.

Spanish, on the other hand, has a simple alphabet, almost identical to the English alphabet. The main difference is the existence of the letter ñ in Spanish, which does not exist in English.

Of course, the pronunciation is mostly different. However, you won´t need to memorize thousands of new characters and tones to express yourself fluently.


The complexity of Chinese compared to Spanish means that you will need more time to master it. We can make an analogy, Spanish is to English as boxing is to wrestling. While Chinese is to English as ballet is to wrestling, completely different.

The differences are important. If you intend to learn fast, you will have to put four times more effort into Chinese than into Spanish.

Globally connected

The most globally connected people tend to speak popular languages. And it’s not that Chinese isn’t popular, because millions of people speak it, but mostly at a native level. However, the rest of the world tends to learn other languages that are also popular and easy to master from a non-immersive environment.

Immersion facilities

Spanish offers many more language immersion facilities than Chinese does. It´s no secret that Chinese culture is secretive and hermetic, so there isn´t much to see.

While there are opportunities for remote immersion, it´s not as easy as Spanish. Especially, having regions within the United States that are Spanish-speaking. Not to mention the neighboring country with a better command of neutral Spanish, such as Mexico.

‍Follow your dreams

With the information I have given you, I don’t want to tell you to give up on your goals. Of course, I will always encourage you to follow your dreams.

Think about whether you want to learn Spanish or Chinese and why. What makes them so special to you? How much time do you have to embark on your language learning process?

The answers are up to you. If you want something professional and fast, choose Spanish. If you want something just to immerse yourself in a new culture, both are good. If you plan to go to China or become a teacher, choose Chinese.

Whatever you choose, follow your dreams no matter how hard or far it is to get there. Now tell me, which one do you choose, Spanish or Chinese?

Xiaoma: The truth about learning Chinese vs Spanish

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