Learn Mandarin and learn a culture. At the heart of the Chinese civilization is its rich heritage of novels, poetry, drama, reflecting thousands of years of insights and values. One fifth of the planet speaks Chinese. Mandarin Chinese is the mother tongue of over 873 million people, making it the most widely spoken first language in the world. In addition to China, Mandarin Chinese is also spoken in the important and influential Chinese communities of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, and Mongolia.