Hi, well I am half Chinese. My mom is from Hong Kong and so I never have been exposed to the Mandarin language. I only have some knowledge of Cantonese, but I cannot speak it, I only understand it and that’s it.

I want to learn Mandarin, but what is some way to learn it? Also when people say they teach Mandarin, or some software that teaches Mandarin – do they just teach Standard Mandarin spoken in Beijing? Is there much difference between Beijing Mandarin and Shanghai Mandarin? Is it true that the Standard Mandarin that is spoken in Beijing is taking over in other regions and so the other dialects of Mandarin that are spoken in places like Suzhou, Shenzhen, etc. are not being spoken that much anymore by the young people living there?

How difficult is Mandarin to learn when comparing it to Indo-European languages such as French or English? And also what do you think is the most difficult thing about learning Mandarin? Are there any complicated things about how the language is structured?
Oh and also, how similar are Cantonese and Mandarin? Seeing as I can understand Cantonese, could that mean I would be able to understand a bit of Mandarin? Would it make it easier to learn the language?

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