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Originally posted by Exergy at 2010-2-22 11:09
The US economy is unlikely to decline, it is projected to grow over the next decade around 2% per year. Still even if it were to be flat, it is still a very large flat.
Global Trade is increasing, and the language of international trade is English. Globalization is and has been about English, thus to continue stressing and learning it is important.
Further India, and to a lessor extent the Philippines are still growing quickly and use English as their language of administration.
What China needs to do is improve second foreign language skills. Being able to speak your local language and one foreign language is so American! Students should be required to learn a third language or second foreign language.
Chinese need to be more trilingual..
On an global scale, 2% is not that much. Of course English will remain important for the foreseeable future, but other languages will rise too, making it important for the Chinese to learn English as well as other languages. Trying to make all Chinese trilingual when the majority of them fail to learn their second language makes it hard to believe many would succeed in learning their third too. Compulsory trilingualism might be a fine goal for some elite private school, but certainly not for a public school. They just wouldn't have the resources for this. Besides, if the whole world knew English (according to statistics, only about 10% of the world's population is truly functional in English!), then the Chinese wouldn't need to learn other languages beside English. Clearly if the rest of the world is failing to learn English, what makes you think China would be any different?
I think a more efficient and realistic objective would be bilingualism in a second language of the pupil's choice. That way enough pupils could learn English to do business with the English-speaking world while others could learn other languages for other countries. Besides, I remember meeting one Chinese French teacher who though fluent in French and once fluent in English, told me she'd lost her English after many years simply because in the French department she worked in, she simply never used English. So it's not only a matter of learning three languages, but then maintaining them too.