So, it's time to look at the mother of all Mothertongues - Mandarin. Almost a billion people speak it as their first language!

In this episode we meet Saoirse who is seven. She has an older brother, Seosamh. Her mum, Penny comes from Taiwan and her dad is Irish. Together, they all speak Mandarin.

As you heard on the podcast Mandarin is one of the most difficult languages to learn. Typically, you must learn 3,000 characters in order to be considered fluent enough to read the morning newspaper. However, the language consists of tens of thousands of characters. 

RTÉ Brainstorm - How hard is it to learn Chinese?

Check out these phrases below in English/Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese (Hanyu Pinyin)

Hello 你好/你好 (nĭ hăo)
Thank You 謝謝/谢谢 (xièxie)
Goodbye 再見/再见 (zàijiàn)


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This is only the beginning for Mother Tongues and the crew are really keen to learn about more cultures and languages.If you would like to get involved and share your Mother Tongue contact us here:

Thanks so much to all the families who have taken part so far and to everyone at for helping connect the dots. They do amazing work and this is only a small addition to the help they give multilingual families across the country.