- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 462 Hour
- Reading permission
Originally posted by seneca at 2010-2-23 15:13
I can't see how Chiense parents or students could make an educated decision as to which second or foreign language they should study. You are advocating too much freedom in this case. Even in the West - I know France pretty well! - students do not really want to study exotic languages (Swahili anyone???); it is their parents that push them. And the availability of courses and relevant trained language instructors, of course. Meanwhile the absolute majority still will take English as their first foreign tongue, with a second foreign language (say, Mandarin) following behind.
I've read a fair bit on the subject from a few countries, and they've all had varying degrees of success. Initially, France had added a long list of languages for schools to choose from, but most schools continued to choose English. Later, France made two additional languages compulsory in the hopes that the schools would choose a variety of languages. Though more successful than the second-language option, it too tended towars the vast majority of schools simply opting for German as the third language. A few years ago, I remember reading an article in which a French politician was complaining about this trend and arguing that France needed to find another strategy to promore more diversity in second-language learning. Somehow I doubt just making three foreign languages compulsory are likely to solve the problem. My guess is, most would then opt for Spanish as their fourth language.
Italy had tried a different approach. Until 1993, it gave schoos a choice between English and a number of Romance languages. Though somewhat successful, it proved not as successful as hoped for and was gradually gravitating ever more to all to English. In 1993, the Ministry of Public Instruction tried a different approach. It added Esperanto to the list, partially in the hopes of enticing students to its ease of learning. Though somewhat successful, it's shown only moderate success.
Hungary has proven most successful. Starting in 2000, any school or organization could present a course plan to the ministry of education for approval based on its pedagogical soundness. Last I cehcked, there were 20 languages already added to the list. Each school is free to teach any language from that list, consideing availability of resources of course; and each pupil can request to be tested in any of these languages either at school or at an approved testing centre, thus not restraining pupils to what is available at their schools.
The Hungarian system has proven quite successful, with many pupils learning a variety of languages. One complaint though was that many lost their language after many years of disuse. Starting in 2008, the ministry now requires a more intensive culture component to make pupils aware of th evenues in which the language can be used, so as to encourage their continued use after their compulsory education. that, of couese, has yet to prove its success, but I'm looking forward to the results.
Unlike in China though, European countries are at elast trying.
If 10 p.c. of the global population are proficient at English then that is a large number that can communicate in writing across borders. We can safely say the number of people that took English as one of their subjects is at least 3 times that percentage. It is easier for them to eventually perfect their English skills because they have a grounding in it, than it is for anyone to study a rare language that serves few native speakers.
Generally speaking, I can agree with you. However, I'd make an exception for bilingual communities. Certainly a Chinese living in Yanbian is likely to prove more successful in Korean than English just because he has the environment to use it in. He's exposed to the language outside of school. I'd also met some Chinese women who wanted to elarn Korean for the Soap Operas. Shallow reason for sure, but hey, who ware we to judge?
Even if the importance of the UK and Usania declines, English is there to stay. There are far more second-language English users than users of any other language. [
I agree to a degree. I don't believe English will loose its international status any time soon, but merely that as other nations rise, their languages will gain in prominence too.
English serves the Chinese best; knowing a second foreign tongue will never be a disadvantage.
I'll add a caveat. English serves those Chinese who can learn it well. As for the rest, they might benefit more from learning a language that is more within their reach. Not all have the resources necessary to learn their language well.