I'm about to register for a beginning Chinese conversation class, and I'm trying to decide between Mandarin and Cantonese. Here are the factors affecting my decision:
A. Mandarin, obviously, is more useful globally. Might prove more useful personally and professionally in the long term, although I'm mostly in this for fun.
B. Cantonese is more useful locally (San Francisco, CA), and that makes it a little more immediately interesting to me. There are many more Cantonese speakers in this town (many of whom have no Mandarin at all) than Mandarin speakers. So Cantonese will better enable me to talk to shopkeepers and eavesdrop on the bus.
C. The Cantonese class is slightly, but not much, more convenient--it's being taught in a location fairly close to where I live, while Mandarin is waay across town.
D. I'm not afraid of all those Cantonese tones. I speak a couple of tonal languages already, and my ear is decent.
E. I'll probably take the other in the next few years.
So what do you think? What would you do?
There's also a small chance that I'll take both simultaneously--anyone ever tried that? Is it a terrible idea?
Thanks for your opinions!
EDITED : I think I'm going with Cantonese! Perhaps Mandarin will follow next year or the year after. I'll try to keep the tones straight. Xie xie/m goi (?!) for the tips!