Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mastering English the Chinese way

A Reuters story in Yahoo online says China is requiring its pilots to speak good English. Well, Chinese authorities do realize the country’s rise as a superpower entails the mastery of the English language. So the story there is that they are teaching English in classroom and stadiums. Their newspapers are full of ads for English language teachers, and they want native English speakers to teach them. They are already good in the math and the sciences. With their mastery of English, their rise as a colossus is assured.

They are so desperate to learn English that they are even willing to undergo surgery so they could supposedly pronounce English words well. It’s bizarre but yes they are doing it. Notes this BBC story:

“More and more people in China are seeking tongue operations to improve their English.

Plastic surgeons say that with minor surgery, patients can improve their pronunciation almost overnight.

With China's growing internationalisation, people's determination to become more proficient in English has reached fever pitch.

The operation itself is simple and quick - just a snip of the muscle under the tongue using local anaesthetic - even if it does make you twinge.

Plastic surgeon Dr Chu Jian is inundated with people begging for the operation because they want their English pronunciation to be clearer, freeing them from that tongue-tied feeling.”

Here in the Philippines, a lot of people are still confused as to the importance of the English language and insists on the continued use of mongrelized Tagalog they call “Filipino” in schools.


Please read related posts

The Philippines should master English or perish!
Philippines needs a globalized nationalism
Addressing skills-jobs mismatch in the Philippines

For a really good take on the English language debate, please read Philippine Commentary. Global Voices also has a good review of the different perspective re English.

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