I started studying Chinese in 2006. Over the years I’ve had a passing familiarity with a few different languages: Spanish, German, Hungarian, Japanese. So why start Chinese? My memory is fuzzy, but I seem to recall at first was the sheer challenge of it. The speaking was tonal, the writing was not phonetic. Websites were walls of flashing text and tiny characters. It was just daring me to learn it! In addition, I’ve always had an interest in linguistics. Languages are living structures, but it is fascinating to work with it as a somewhat mathematical entity. There are also challenges particular to Chinese; for example, because of the lack of spacing between words, accurately dividing a text into individual words is a continuing problem. Even with a good dictionary to start with, the limitless Chinese names and the transliterated foreign words will always be difficult for computers to identify.