The most important dialects include the "language of the North", the high-level language Mandarin, and Cantonese. Mandarin is spoken by about 875 million speakers in China, Taiwan and Singapore. Cantonese has about 70 million speakers and is spoken in Hong Kong and Macau, among other places.
Unlike many European languages, Chinese has neither conjugations nor declensions. One difficulty in learning it is that it is a tonal language. The pitch with which a word is pronounced determines its meaning. On the other hand, Chinese has a logographic script in which each word has its own character, instead of for each sound as is usual in European languages.
Because of the differences in linguistic aspects, it is exciting to acquire a basic knowledge of Chinese, but also to gain insights into another culture. The fact that China has grown into a strong economic power is another incentive to explore the language and culture of this region.