The two main dialects of Chinese are Mandarin and Cantonese.  Mandarin is used more prominently – in fact, 22.6% of overall internet use is in Mandarin. With over 900 million native speakers, it is by far the most widely spoken mother tongue in the world.

In total, over 1.1 billion people speak Chinese, which is an official language in China, Taiwan, Singapore and Myanmar. It is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations.

Leaving Certificate Chinese

Since 2020 Chinese is being offered as a curricular Leaving Certificate subject. Visit our FAQs for more information about learning Chinese as a Leaving Cert subject.

If you are interested in studying Chinese for the Leaving Cert but it’s not available in your school, check out our Saturday Classes.

Shanghai skyline with historical Waibaidu bridge China

Key language for economy

One of fastest growing economies in world, China has become a driver of world economic growth and has become a vital market for every major global company.

China was the second largest economy in the world in 2017 according to the IMF and many economists expect it to eclipse that of the United States within a decade.

Trade between Ireland and China totalled around 8 billion euros in 2011, according to Enterprise Ireland. China is set to become Ireland’s fourth largest trading partner by 2030, according to a HSBC Bank report.

Cultural richness

China was one of the richest and most advanced societies in the world for most of its history and has one of the world’s richest architectural, artistic and literary heritages.It has the second highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites after Italy.

China is known for some of the most sophisticated cuisines in the world, offering visitors an explosion of tastes from Cantonese Bao buns to spicy Sichuan stir fries and roasted Peking duck.

View of Jade Spring Park, Lijiang, Yunnan province, China

Check out our “Why Learn Chinese?” video playlist

Learn some classroom vocab with our Chinese language mat

Chinese music playlist

From pop to rap and more, there is a wealth of Chinese music to discover and enjoy.

Listening to music can be a really useful tool to help with vocabulary and to improve pronunciation, so why not add some Chinese songs to your playlists.

Visit our Spotify for some recommended playlists in Chinese and more