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Snowguy716

Is Chinese the new French?

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http://www.startribune.com/1592/story/472930.html

This story covers some new developments in schools. Many schools around Minnesota and around the country are dropping traditional language offerings and are putting newer options like Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese in its place. Even Latin is making a comeback.

My school district dropped French starting 2003/04 and expanded the German, Spanish, and Sign Language programs. They had decided to cut French because enrollment in French had been falling since the early 1990s despite an increase in high school students. Most of the students who would take French switched to German and now the German program has more students than it has since the 1970s.

I have to wonder if the cutting of French programs around the state has to do with our nations prejudice against the French? Or is it just not seen as the world language of culture anymore?

Or maybe Deutsch ist einfach besser als Franz

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Actually there isn't a language called Chinese. There are a number of languages spoken in China, but as the article indicates Mandarin is the one used by most Chinese for business. (beyond english) Some people disagree with this and instead refer to the various Chinese toungues as dialects but the the languages are as different as English and German for example.

The French tried to make French the "world language" during the post WWII period. This movement reached its peak during the late 60s and at the time most schools in the US picked up French as a language to be taught. Of course this momement has disappeared, and French is becoming a rather minor language having long been passed by English, Spanish, and Portugese.

I don't think Mandarin will become a world language as the world has already adopted English for it.

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Actually there isn't a language called Chinese. There are a number of languages spoken in China, but as the article indicates Mandarin is the one used by most Chinese for business. (beyond english) Some people disagree with this and instead refer to the various Chinese toungues as dialects but the the languages are as different as English and German for example.

I don't think Mandarin will become a world language as the world has already adopted English for it.

I believe Beijing-Mandirin was made the "official" language of China...

That said, few people outside East Asia speak the language. I actually know a person who knows Madirin, among a slew of languages. If you don't mind spending time overseas, Mandirin is an obvious choice as a good second language to pick up...

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Mandarin is a very good language to learn, IMHO.

I minored in it in college. Though at that particular university, there was, and still is, no major for Chinese.

My step-mom teaches it in suburban northern Houston at a community college. Just a couple of years ago, she was teaching it to mostly Chinese-American children as an extra-curricular course at a private school. Ten years ago, it would have been ridiculous to expect a course like that there, but the dynamics of that particular region have changed so much that something like that a Chinese course like that is in demand.

Even now, progressive high schools (usually those with more money) that aren't in regions with large Asian-American populations are offering Mandarin along with Spanish, French and other traditional academic languages. It'll be interesting to see how that particular element of secondary education progresses over the next ten or twenty years.

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English is the world language now but it doesn't mean it will always be. Besides I think it's not such a bad thing to have Americans learn a little more in the foreign language department. Mandarin Chinese would probably be a good choice for people. Aside from Cantonese I don't think many of the other 'Chinese dialects/languages' are still used much. The Chinese government did a good job of cutting those down in the past. I think Hong Kong's status as a British colony until recent times is the only thing that kept Cantonese from sharing a similar fate. Honestly I think another language Americans should consider more as well should be Arabic. People aren't always happy when I suggest that. But I think the Middle East is going to continue to play an important role in world affairs whether people like it or not. As far as European languages go the only one I honestly see remaining important outside English is Spanish. Unless Europe realizes where it's heading and decides to start changing.

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When 1 billion get on the internet in any meaningful way, and global transactions (already primarly done online) are forced into Madarin or Cantonese, the real influence of China's languages will be felt by the world. :)

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Aside from Cantonese I don't think many of the other 'Chinese dialects/languages' are still used much. The Chinese government did a good job of cutting those down in the past. I think Hong Kong's status as a British colony until recent times is the only thing that kept Cantonese from sharing a similar fate.

Cantonese is the standard street language in Guang Dong province, as well as in the Hong Kong region. The other local and regional dialects are definitely well-spoken as well though, but not often used in business because of the way people have to travel around. Even in the cosmopolitan city of Shanghai, you'll normally only hear Shanghaiese on the streets, even though anyone who went to school can speak Mandarin. In Singapore, a spin on the Fujian dialect is the most commonly spoken dialect of Chinese, and many don't even speak Mandarin. The same goes for the Chinese community in Malaysia and Indonesia.

I think it's especially interesting how, 20 years ago, Japanese was the hot language that seemed virtually essential for the future of business. Now, with Japan's waning global influence and small population, it's become a less viable language. I'd even estimate that the Japanese will actually have to start learning Chinese at some point, especially with all of the business that goes back and forth over the East China Sea.

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The number one spoken language in the world is Mandarin chinese followed by Spanish, English, French, and then German.

But I think we're going down the wrong path here. You don't only learn a language for business purposes. Chances are, any business transaction will be done in English. You learn another language for the culture.

I certainly didn't choose German because I want to work for BMW some day or something. I chose it because I think it's an amazing language. It certainly is the language of poetry. (read some German poems and you'll see what I mean).. French might sound nicer, but it doesn't have the same flow.

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^^Interesting Snowguy, but I will have to admit that many without the love you have for linguistics just learn language for business purposes. As Lou Manhiem said in "Wall Street":

"The thing about Money, bud, is it will make you do things you don't want to do".

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The number one spoken language in the world is Mandarin chinese followed by Spanish, English, French, and then German.

I don't know what your sources are on this, but Hindi is #2-4 (which includes Urdu, which is the same language when spoken) in most lists I've seen over the years, and Arabic and Bengali are usually in the top 10, but both definitely above German. Asian languages get ignored a lot though.

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0775272.html

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