General Question

KalWest's avatar

As China is emerging as the next big superpower - wouldn't it make sense to start teaching Chinese as a second language in schools?

Asked by KalWest (1389points) April 22nd, 2009

The China Post:
“Catching up with the United States has long been China’s aspiration, and Beijing is putting a huge amount of energy, money and manpower to do just that. China is aiming to become a superpower in every sense: In culture, economics and technology…”

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14 Answers

fireside's avatar

International business is primarily done in Mandarin and English.
So, yes, in some ways it would be good to know.

casheroo's avatar

That’s why they came out with Ni Hao, Ki-Lan ~

squirbel's avatar


But then, there are ignorant people like this:

Les's avatar

Some schools are:
When I went there, we learned French, Italian, Spanish or Russian. I took Russian. But this was also back in the early 90s when the Soviet Union was collapsing. Now, they don’t have Russian anymore, but they offer Japanese and Chinese.

@ squirbel: Wow. Just wow.

KalWest's avatar

right! what a tool!!!!

qualitycontrol's avatar

I think I’m still safe with Spanish, there has GOT to be more Spanish people still they multiply like crazy

btko's avatar

Chinese isn’t actually a language so you’d have to choose between Mandarin or Cantonese. Probably Mandarin would be my guess.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@squirbel – When I was a kid and there were Hmong refugees moving to Wisconsin in large numbers, this scenario played out over and over and over… ::shakes head::

So we’ll have to learn Mandarin. About time.

squirbel's avatar

I once dated a Hmong… :D

so cute!

We were in 7th grade. I lived in Michigan at the time.

And yes, Mandarin is the Chinese spoken in business affairs. So that’s what we should learn.

KalWest's avatar

actually – i knew that – can’t believe i wrote Chinese… so – yea – probably Mandarin would be the better bet

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

No need, really. They are teaching English to their children. Spoken Mandarin is not a difficult language to learn, but it takes years to learn enough of the written language to be able to make out a newspaper. I don’t see it catching on here.

In this hemisphere, it still makes more sense to learn Spanish.

avalmez's avatar

@qualitycontrol if multiplication is the factor, i believe there are a few hundred million more Chinese speaking peoples in this world than Spanish speaking. But you’re right that in this country, the definition of who’s a minority just might change in the near future.

@IchtheosaurusRex I agree with you, it’s more practical that the Chinese learn english than the other way around and primarily for same reason you cite – written Chinese is difficult even for the natives to learn.

more generally it’s really uncertain what the state of China will be over the next few decades. Chinese friends of mine tell me the number of rural Chinese is much greater by far than the number of urban Chinese and in rural areas the Chinese government remains oppressive as is the poverty.

It being the case that urban Chinese are the benefactors of China’s current economic boom, my friends suspect there is great trouble ahead as rural Chinese become more aware that they are getting the short end of the stick and find that unacceptable.

If/when that happens, my friends suspect China will become a dangerous place to be and represent a danger to the rest of us.

So, maybe take Russisn i guess!

wundayatta's avatar

I’m in the yes side. I suspect that more schools are offering the various languages of China and the number is increasing. Also, as more Chinese live in the country, the availability of native-language speakers available to teach Chinese languages grows.

BookReader's avatar

…no current change for me… a small country gains a larger country’s influence by bowing down as does a larger country to a smaller country… be considerate of one another- are the Chinese learning a second language?

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