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Foreign Languages Fade in Class — Except Chinese

 
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Geckoman



Joined: 07 Jun 2007

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:04 pm    Post subject: Foreign Languages Fade in Class — Except Chinese Reply with quote

The New York Times:

Foreign Languages Fade in Class — Except Chinese
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/21/education/21chinese.html

No suprise that the study of Mandarin is rising in the United States, given that 1 out of every 5 human beings on the planet lives in China.

China is such a super super huge country.

It's when I read articles like this that I wonder if I came to the wrong country. Wink

Cool
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djsmnc



Joined: 20 Jan 2003
Location: Dave's ESL Cafe

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Foreign languages are a novelty to most Americans.
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mithridates



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Location: President's office, Korean Space Agency

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bad idea. Mandarin is useful if you need it but as a national strategy it's not a good idea to focus on a language mostly unrelated to other languages, difficult to learn and mostly based in a country where nobody knows what the government is going to do from one day to the next. Riots in Xinjiang - no internet for the whole province for months. Avatar's too popular - government removes Avatar in 2D from the movie theatres. European languages are still the way to go.
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Kuros



Joined: 27 Apr 2004

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't understand how schools can in anyway justify cutting foreign language programs.

Quote:

Among America’s approximately 27,500 middle and high schools offering at least one foreign language, the proportion offering Chinese rose to 4 percent, from 1 percent, from 1997 to 2008


Holy crap, 4%??? That's like 5 times a figure that's statistically insignificant!!! Its a trend!!!

Rolling Eyes

Man, as an American, this article is depressing.
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visitorq



Joined: 11 Jan 2008

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mandarin will never be a lingua franca. It's just too hard, and even Chinese children have to studycharacters all the way through school just to be literate. Not like the alphabet at all.

Not to mention not all Chinese (ie. 1/5 the world's population or whatever) speak Putonghua. Around half the country speaks dialects that are not even mutually intelligible.

Anyway, I'd be interested in learning Chinese for other reasons, but not because I think it's ever going to overtake English in global importance.


Last edited by visitorq on Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ytuque



Joined: 29 Jan 2008
Location: I drink therefore I am!

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kuros wrote:
I don't understand how schools can in anyway justify cutting foreign language programs.


They cut art & music long ago.
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ytuque wrote:
Kuros wrote:
I don't understand how schools can in anyway justify cutting foreign language programs.


They cut art & music long ago.


Art and music aren't really comparable to languages. The latter has some actual utility, and most decent colleges will require you to have some foreign language classes under your belt.
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ytuque



Joined: 29 Jan 2008
Location: I drink therefore I am!

PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fox wrote:
ytuque wrote:
Kuros wrote:
I don't understand how schools can in anyway justify cutting foreign language programs.


They cut art & music long ago.


Art and music aren't really comparable to languages. The latter has some actual utility, and most decent colleges will require you to have some foreign language classes under your belt.


I agree for the most part, but there was a time in America when art & music education was considered necessary.

Many lower middle-class and poor students only access to art & music education are through the public school system. This is another area where the gap between "haves" and "have nots" is widening.
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