Saturday, August 11, 2007

Even in China, English—not Mandarin—is king!

While we Filipinos are still waivering as to the importance of English, the Chinese and Koreans are moving heaven and earth to learn the global language. In South Korea, even the unborn are learning English. Says recent Newsweek report:

[T]he nation seems to be suffering a profound case of English fever. South Korea now boasts at least 10 "English villages"—mock Western communities complete with post offices, pharmacies and the like where kids can practice their language skills. An entire English-only town is due to open on Cheju Island in 2010. And one Internet-based company here even offers English courses for fetuses in the womb.
And for the Chinese, English is king, not Mandarin, contrary to popular opinion. Says Newsweek:

“Next door, mighty China itself seems to have caught the English bug. Beijing guesses that more than 40 million non-native speakers now study Mandarin worldwide. But that pales next to the number of those learning English. In China alone, some 175 million people are now studying English in the formal education system. And an estimated 2 billion people will be studying it by 2010, according to a British Council report last year. "The impression is that 'Mandarin fever' is rampant and spreading, but a close look shows this is an exaggeration," says Stephen Krashen, a second-language-acquisition expert at the University of Southern California. "The dominance of English as an international language is growing."
What’s the reason for this mania for English? In China as in India no mastery of English means no social mobility.

“Driving that growth is China's rising standard of living. Middle-class parents feel intense social pressure to enroll their offspring in buxiban so they can keep pace with their peers. And the long-term benefits of English acquisition are widely touted. According to New Oriental, medium proficiency in English now gives a Chinese child an almost 25 percent salary boost when he or she enters the working world; advanced English provides a more than 70 percent boost.”
You may read the full report by clicking here.

You may also read related posts below:
Master English or perish!
Mastering English the Chinese way
Philippines needs a globalized nationalism
Addressing jobs-skills mismatch in the Philippines


manuelbuencamino said...

The language of the most powerful nation is always the language of the world.

The dominance of a language is transitory, purely dependent on power relations.

There is nothing in the intrinsic nature of any language that makes it superior to another language other than it being the lingua franca of the most dominant power.

Thus Chinese learning english is a recognition of American power and at the same time a means to rush China's quest for dominance at the earliest possible time.

Dave Llorito said...

agree. but im talking about practical things here. you want jobs? its all about english. you want to learn and master the sciences? he SCI journals are in english. you want to develop your innovative capability? again, its about english. japan and south korea of course did innovate sans english, but they are now realizing they cant get to the next level without the global language. mind you, soon there would be more speakers of english outside the english language nations. that's appropriating the language of the dominant power, which by the way is not going to be a dominant power in the next twenty years, according to experts of geopolitics.

manuelbuencamino said...

agree also that english is a practical necessity.