Many Germans who regularly travel to China always have to live with one shortcoming: They don’t speak the language. According to Verena Menzel, offers at universities and adult education centers can only teach learners the basics. “Chinese is a very context-oriented language and it is a different culture,” explains the literary scholar. Practice and practical applications are thus very important, she adds. “What really helps is direct communication with Chinese people,” says the 37-year-old. Menzel practiced with a Chinese language partner during her studies in Mainz.
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