Mandarin is the most widely spoken
language in the world. More than one billion of the world's
population are Chinese speakers and 21% of people in the world read
Chinese while 8.3% read English.
The Chinese population is already one fifth of the population of the
world and is rapidly expanding its presence everywhere.
Modern Standard Chinese is an official language of the United
Putonghua means common
speech or Mandarin. The term putonghua is mostly used in Mainland
China, while overseas it is generally known as Guoyu. Both describe
essentially the same dialect, which is based on the Beijing dialect,
but is standardized to be accepted as the common language of Chinese
speakers everywhere. (Source:
Even the Nationalists in Taiwan and the Communists in People's
Republic of China agree on that matter: the national language of
Chinese is the Mandarin dialect. It is also known as Beijing dialect
or "putonghua", literally common language. It becomes
the national language "gúoyu" in Taiwan and the Chinese
language in Singapore and Malaysia. In Singapore it is one of the
four official languages and also use by the diasporas in Indonesia,
Russia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Brunei, South Africa, Thailand, Laos,
Cambodia, Hong Kong and Mauritius as in many western countries like
the USA, UK and Canada where it is already the third spoken language
after English and French. A huge Diaspora makes it hard to find a
town where there is no Chinese peoples to talk to.
Learning Mandarin is more than learning a language, it enables you to
explore one of the most ancient culture of the world. It can easily
become a life involvement. Knowing the Chinese language will enable
you to communicate better with Chinese speaking people and provide
you with a better understanding of Chinese culture.
Mandarin is also an open door to a huge job market in all of the
countries where Mandarin is the language of commerce like Mainland
China, Taiwan and Singapore. Learning Chinese today can help make a
better future for you. Abundant opportunities for government and
business careers as well as scientific and cultural exchanges await
the student of Chinese.
People's Republic of China market is blossoming after decades of
People's Daily August 8th 2002 -
"A total of 2,027 universities from 85 countries around the
world offer Chinese language courses nowadays, according to sources
from the on-going international forum on Chinese language teaching
held in Shanghai.
Chinese was considered an increasingly important international
language because of China's successful Olympic bidding and last
year's entry to the World Trade Organization (WT0), experts
About 25 million people all over the world are learning Chinese,
statistics from the forum show. Some 60,000 of them have come to
China to learn the language better."
" Accept no substitute. Be
sure you know what you're doing if you set out to learn any
Chinese dialect other than mandarin! It was almost impossible to
find a Chinese in a Chinese restaurant in America who spoke
Mandarin forty years ago. They all spoke a sub dialect of
Cantonese, being descendant of the Chinese labourers who came to
build America's transcontinental railroad in the 1800s. Today it
is almost impossible to find a Chinese restaurant in America
where the waiters don't speak Mandarin. … In Hong Kong even the
Cantonese themselves are now trying to learn Mandarin! "
p. 59 How to learn any language
by Barry Farber, 1991.
People's Daily November 13th 2000
- "Statistics show that at present, 350 Chinese
universities have foreign students, the majority of them come to
learn Chinese language and culture. More than 250,000 foreigners came
to China to learn Chinese in 1999, 4.5 times the figure for the
1980s. A report by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post said
that Britain plans to allocate one million pounds (US$1.4 million) in
the next five years to promote the learning of Chinese among its
citizens, since the Chinese language is expected to become a new
global language in the new millennium.
France, a country which is proud of its own language, has 27
universities which opened Chinese courses in 1998, compared with only
11 universities in 1991. In addition, Chinese courses have also been
opened in many of France's primary and middle schools.
HSK, an examination to test foreigners on their learning of Chinese
language, has won increasing popularity in recent years.
The examination has been carried out in 19 countries, and in China,
21 cities have 36 such examination centers. By the end of last year,
more than 140,000 people had taken the test.
Professor Zhai Shiyu said, in the past, foreigners learn Chinese
because they are interested in Chinese language and culture. Today
however, one can speak and use Chinese means he has more chances of
getting a higher paying job.
A correspondent from the Republic of Korea (ROK), who is in Chongqing
Municipality, southwest China, recently said that at present, 150 out
of the ROK's over 200 universities have Chinese specialties. The
correspondent majored in Chinese at a university in the ROK.
Experts pointed out that the increasing impact of the Chinese
language worldwide has become hard to stop."
Putonghua pushed as medium of instruction
South China Morning Post
Saturday, March 19, 2005
The government has been accused of neglecting the importance of
Chinese language learning as debate over the definition of the
mother tongue in education has not been included in the consultation
on medium of instruction. Yao Te-hwai, chairman of the Chinese
Language Society of Hong Kong, said the Education Commission's
consultation paper did not give Putonghua its rightful place as a
possible teaching language.
"We are finding the wrong use of jargon by the authority
regrettable," he said. "Apart from Cantonese, there are also mother
tongues from other >areas of our country.
"In Hong Kong the definition of mother tongue is Cantonese but, if
we use the world definition, it should be Putonghua."
While the definition of mother tongue remained unclear in the
consultation report, a recent study by the Primary Chinese Language
Education Research Association had confirmed that Putonghua was the
most effective medium for Chinese language learning.
In the five-year study, two classes of primary pupils learnt Chinese
in Putonghua and Cantonese respectively from the same teacher. It
was found that the Putonghua group outperformed the Cantonese group
in vocabulary, comprehension, writing, listening and speaking.
Nelson Lau Chi-keung, head of the Subsidised Primary Schools
Council, said the issue of Putonghua as an option for medium of
instruction should have been discussed in the consultation paper.
The government had also failed to provide enough resources for
Putonghua teaching in schools, he added.
"Though the government advocated biliteracy and trilingualism, it is
spending very little on Chinese language learning," he said.
"We have extra resources to employ native English speakers. But the
same thing never happens to Chinese."
His school, the Tai Po Old Market Public School, starts teaching
Chinese in Putonghua to Primary One students this September.
However, with no extra funding or professional support, it has only
limited funds for designing the curriculum and teaching materials,