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Is learning Mandarin a FAD??!?! Is the next century really going to be Chinese? watch

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    (Original post by g_star_raw_1989)
    Whats wrong with their geographical location ?
    The 1 child policy has been seriosuly relaxed.
    It's authoriatarian not a dictatorship but still how will this prevent it ? Soviet Union was a superpower..
    What other factors ?
    India is in a far better geographical location.

    There's a severe shortage of women in China, things aren't looking all fine and dandy.

    Call it what you want, when the government has no opposition it's more or less a dictatorship, I'm sure the same people are pulling the strings regardless of who's actually in power. The people will eventually revolt.

    The Soviet Union didn't have as many obstacles as China has and also, World War 2 brought the nation closer together.

    1.1 billion out of the 1.3 have a standard living on the order of Nigeria.

    The Chinese economy is a hostage of the foreign international system, but primarily of the American economy. China is incapable of domestic consumption on the order of production. So, when the United States catches cold, China gets pneumonia and that really is an important thing to understand – that China does not have an economy as we understand it in the sense of substantial domestic consumption. The Chinese economy is overwhelmingly export-oriented and therefore China is a hostage to its consumers.

    I'm not denying the fact that China will be a world player, that's obvious, what I am denying is that China will be what the US is today, a superpower.
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    I'm doing it as part of my degree so I ruddy hope not...
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    (Original post by Neville 'Facking' Bartos)
    Please tell what's wrong with their location? Bar having Russia to the North, India/Middle East to the west, Japan and other SE. Asian economies neighbouring, Australia nearby and the USA across the Pacific.
    It's geographical location isn't that great when you compare it to that of the US or even India.
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    (Original post by Stalin)
    It's geographical location isn't that great when you compare it to that of the US or even India.
    US, yes, but India definitely not.
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    you were learning Mandarin to fit in with the Chinese
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    (Original post by Stalin)
    It's geographical location isn't that great when you compare it to that of the US or even India.
    India is in a crap geographical position.

    China to the east, and Pakistan to the west.
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    (Original post by Apagg)
    I don't see the majority of the world's population gaining the same fluency as they have in English, especially given the cultural immersion many nations have in the English language - I've watched MTV in a small village in Tanzania.
    I definitely agree with this - China has got a hell of a long way to go with respect to culture. When was the last time you watched or heard or read something Chinese? Weeks, months, years? In contrast America has dominated the world with regards to music, television for decades. I mean, you could go almost anywhere in the world and see American stuff on TV. People around the world are familiar with American culture and thus want to learn English, especially to get a better life there. Since when do people want to learn Mandarin to get a better life in China?

    I mean, people seem to be ignoring places like Japan. Japan, OK, for a couple of decades has been the 2nd largest economy in the world, only behind America! Where are the masses of people learning Japanese? Hardly anyone learns it - in fact I think almost no one did until people started discovering it through stuff like Pokemon.

    Again, why has there not been a vast rush towards learning German? Which was until recently the 3rd biggest economy in the world. Sure some people have learnt it, it was kinda popular in the 70s, but not that much now.

    Sure, China may be a rising superpower, but so what? Why does that mean everyone will suddenly learn Mandarin? Why would it be a new lingua franca? Japanese wasn't, German wasn't. People weren't falling over themselves to learn them even though they were the biggest economic powers on Earth - the only language people have been doing that for is English.

    I don't see why people think Mandarin will be any different. Perhaps the number of people in China? There are a similar amount of people in India, people aren't going on about learning Hindi, schools aren't making Hindi study compulsory.

    TLDR; Yes, I agree. I think it's a big fad. Probably no one will bother learning it because of the daunting characters and tones, and it will be the same as Japanese or Arabic or Russian, niche.

    ETA: I think Mandarin would be a great language to learn for your own interest, to learn about the culture and because you want to learn it. Learning it only because you think it might be useful in the future is just stupid IMO. You're not going to learn it at all well if you don't have the motivation. And if it turns out not to be useful at all in later life, what was the point? If you're not actually interested in China or Chinese culture it would have been a big waste of time.
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    (Original post by Neville 'Facking' Bartos)
    US, yes, but India definitely not.
    I'd rather be in India's geographical location than China's for a few reasons.

    1) Clear access to the Indian ocean, which enables easy commerce with the likes of Singapore, Australia etc.

    2) Clear access to the East coast of Africa, but more importantly the Straight of Hormuz and the rest of the Middle East.

    3) The Mediterranean is also a possibility.

    Not to mention the fact that India will become a superpower in 50-70 odd years. And in my opinion, far more economically stable than China.
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    (Original post by Stalin)
    India is in a far better geographical location.

    There's a severe shortage of women in China, things aren't looking all fine and dandy.

    Call it what you want, when the government has no opposition it's more or less a dictatorship, I'm sure the same people are pulling the strings regardless of who's actually in power. The people will eventually revolt.

    The Soviet Union didn't have as many obstacles as China has and also, World War 2 brought the nation closer together.

    1.1 billion out of the 1.3 have a standard living on the order of Nigeria.

    The Chinese economy is a hostage of the foreign international system, but primarily of the American economy. China is incapable of domestic consumption on the order of production. So, when the United States catches cold, China gets pneumonia and that really is an important thing to understand – that China does not have an economy as we understand it in the sense of substantial domestic consumption. The Chinese economy is overwhelmingly export-oriented and therefore China is a hostage to its consumers.

    I'm not denying the fact that China will be a world player, that's obvious, what I am denying is that China will be what the US is today, a superpower.
    Your argument on geographical locations is irrelevent and to argue India is in a"better" locations is misguided.
    No - when a government has no opposition its a one party state and China has no dictator. Mugabe is a dictator but there is a power sharing government, thats a dictatorshi as opposed toa one party state.
    As for, "So, when the United States catches cold, China gets pneumonia ".. the facts show the opposite.In the year to the fourth quarter of 2009, its real GDP is estimated to have grown by more than 10%. When America caughtt a cold China repsonded with perhaps the most successful intentional monetary and fiscal stimulus in history. There is no substantial consumption problem in China, for instnace car sales rose by 53% in 2009.
    .......
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    It's a lot like people saying, "Is learning how to use the Internet just a FAD?!?!?!?" ten years ago.
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    Can't people just learn it for fun?
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    My dodgy DVD dealers native language is Mandarin. I asked him this and he said not to bother as they're all learning English.
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    (Original post by dannyparrott)
    I have recently spent 3 months in Beijing, studying the language and the culture, and reading about the history and likely future of the place..I would like to discuss this notion that Mandarin is "worth learning!"

    I believe that:

    1. First off, Mandarin is unlikely to be the language of the future because:

    A. billions of chinamen have been learning english as their first foreign language from an early age....the zeal to learn english is increasing year-on-year, so if we need to discuss things with the chinese they will speak our language anyway!

    B. China might not even rise up, there are a hell of alot of factors that ought to prevent it becoming a real world power, e.g demographic timebomb (too many dependents, not enough workers...), china has nearly saturated the world market's with its products (thus will be less likely to achieve double digit economic growth in the future!), china's currency is vastly undervalued and america&co are getting increasingly pissed off---as a result the chinese govt. have vowed (sort of) to start bringing their currency levels up slowly (once chinese currency is at a correct value then their exports will be more costly, and their les educated workers will cost more...etc!!!!there are many more reasons....)

    It is not worht learning for most of us:
    2.Mandarin is exceptionally difficult to learn it properly, if you want to use it in the labour market you may need more than a bachelor degree. A bachelor degree in chinese requires years of intensive study at university when you could be doing more useful things. There is an "opportunity cost", i.e spanish is equally likely to be important and is much easier.


    3.even if you learn it fluently, if you are caucasian like myself, you will always be a deemed foreignerl!they will be welcoming and lovely etc, but you will remain a foreigner!

    I dunno, I have many reasons against learning it. I decided to learn it for fairly mercenary reasons...chiefly i seek wealth, so i want to be a banker. Its worth learning if your passionate about it, but i think the current notion that it is the language of the future is wrong.really wrong.

    debate would be nice, im confused on this topic...:eek3:
    I major in Chinese at university in England, so I've thought about most of these points at one time or another.

    1. I agree. English will remain the most important international language for a very long time. This is for historical reasons, though, rather than the comparative difficulties of the languages.

    A. You're right, lots and lots and lots of Chinese are learning English; however, it's wrong to take this as a reason not to learn Chinese. Firstly, their education system lays emphasis on written English, meaning that many of them are literate, yet unable to hold a decent conversation. I would say this is applicable to the vast majority of Chinese learners of English; that's not to say that none are good at English, though - just that it should be put in perspective. Secondly, there's a massive difference between a native speaker of Chinese who's learned English, and a native speaker of English who's learned Chinese. Both are significantly better at working into their own language. If something needs translating/summing up/whatever from Chinese into English, a native English speaker is preferred.

    B. I agree again. I think it's unlikely that all the hype is justified, but that doesn't mean China isn't still internationally important.

    2. Right again! It's mind-bogglingly difficult to learn Mandarin to a high level. That said, it's not impossible. Even after 2 or 3 years of study at university level your Chinese will be good enough for many practical purposes. Also, many Chinese degrees aren't simply "learning modern Chinese"; that would be a waste of time at university in England, when you could go to China and learn it twice as fast at half the cost.

    3. True, you will always be considered a foreigner in China, but I don't think that most people learn Chinese in order to "become Chinese"!

    Basically, in answer to your question, I think it would be fair to say that learning Chinese has become a fad, but that doesn't automatically take all merit or worth from it. I know that I (and many other people on my course) are studying Chinese simply out of interest.
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    I remember in the early 90's when everybody was trying to learn Japanese because common wisdom dictated that it was an absolute must for anybody wanting to enter the business world.

    Fat lot of good that did them. I suspect that learning Chinese will prove to be just as useless.
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    (Original post by g_star_raw_1989)
    No - when a government has no opposition its a one party state and China has no dictator. Mugabe is a dictator but there is a power sharing government, thats a dictatorshi as opposed toa one party state.
    The two are linked, regardless of whether China is a one party state or a dictatorship, there will never be changed unless the system changes. One party states/dictatorships eventually fall. As I've said before, the people will revolt.

    As for, "So, when the United States catches cold, China gets pneumonia ".. the facts show the opposite.In the year to the fourth quarter of 2009, its real GDP is estimated to have grown by more than 10%. When America caughtt a cold China repsonded with perhaps the most successful intentional monetary and fiscal stimulus in history. There is no substantial consumption problem in China, for instnace car sales rose by 53% in 2009.
    .......
    Human Rights Issues. The Chinese government always suppresses anyone who chooses to disagree with the government. They imprison, torture, and kill anyone who chooses to express different views than what the government wants the masses of China to follow. Squelching freedom of expression saps all creativity from the country. Nobody wants to invent or create anything different because of the threat of being killed for just expressing ideas. Therefore, the government keeps the masses of China in a mediocre, stagnant state with no clues on how to become greater.

    Economic Issues. Gold right now is over one thousand dollars an ounce. Whenever there is an economic crisis, the prices of precious metals skyrocket. What does China do? They invest a majority of their money in USA's T-bills. If the USA collapses in the future, then China would economically collapse as well. China's economic future is directly intertwined with how the USA does. Dependence on another country will never put China into superpower status.
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    It's still good to learn, just simply because it's the most widely spoken native language on the planet, and the second-most widely spoken second language. (This is according to the University of Birmingham, before people accuse me of pulling statistics out of my arse.) It would therefore give you a linguistic advantage when travelling abroad, much like French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and indeed English would. (Just to pick on the six UN languages. :p:)

    As for the language of the future, I believe linguists have already decided it will be an evolved form of English, that amalgamates features of various languages, whilst retaining elements of the English we know today. Pidgins have already developed in certain parts of the world based on English, in fact.
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    (Original post by MarinaM)
    It's still good to learn, just simply because it's the most widely spoken native language on the planet, and the second-most widely spoken second language. (This is according to the University of Birmingham, before people accuse me of pulling statistics out of my arse.) It would therefore give you a linguistic advantage when travelling abroad, much like French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and indeed English would. (Just to pick on the six UN languages. :p:)

    As for the language of the future, I believe linguists have already decided it will be an evolved form of English, that amalgamates features of various languages, whilst retaining elements of the English we know today. Pidgins have already developed in certain parts of the world based on English, in fact.
    Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the world because China has the highest population in the world.

    No one in North or South America speaks Mandarin, no one in Africa speaks Mandarin, no one in the Middle East speaks Mandarin, no one in Europe speaks Mandarin and no one in Oceania speaks Mandarin. However a large number of people on those continents speak English.

    English is tomorrow's language, not Mandarin.
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    (Original post by Stalin)
    The two are linked, regardless of whether China is a one party state or a dictatorship, there will never be changed unless the system changes. One party states/dictatorships eventually fall. As I've said before, the people will revolt.



    Human Rights Issues. The Chinese government always suppresses anyone who chooses to disagree with the government. They imprison, torture, and kill anyone who chooses to express different views than what the government wants the masses of China to follow. Squelching freedom of expression saps all creativity from the country. Nobody wants to invent or create anything different because of the threat of being killed for just expressing ideas. Therefore, the government keeps the masses of China in a mediocre, stagnant state with no clues on how to become greater.

    Economic Issues. Gold right now is over one thousand dollars an ounce. Whenever there is an economic crisis, the prices of precious metals skyrocket. What does China do? They invest a majority of their money in USA's T-bills. If the USA collapses in the future, then China would economically collapse as well. China's economic future is directly intertwined with how the USA does. Dependence on another country will never put China into superpower status.
    There's a distinction between one party state and a dictatorship. Admit it, don't dodge the issue and sauing they're just the same. Even if the people revolt and the party makes political concesscions or even becomes a democracy. Arguably, under your own arguemnt this should assist it becoming a superpower not offset it. According to your own argument Chinas "dictatorship" makes ita fad.
    I'm not sure why youve turned your attention to human rights issues and how's this linked to china being a superpower. Soviet Union under Stalin (hahaahahaha irony) was oppressive and even in post-stalin remained so. Still a superpower...
    Like I argued in my previous post, China has overcome this depression, the worst since the great depression well. So how can you argue that its linked to the US so closely that whislt the US suffers possibly its worst depression, China registers double digit growth. As for dependence, the West will increasingly have a dependence on China. China has a monoploy on rare earth metals (look it up) which ias the future in green technology and consumer electronics.
    Stop spewing the same reguargitated arguement at me. Do some research first..
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    In my opinion a language only becomes worth learning when a country is in a dominant position, as once a country is in a clearly dominant position, they will demand YOU speak THEIR language.

    However, to be honest I don't see China attaining this status. At best, China will be a super-power on par with the USA, and as English is already the language of the US and the de facto international language, I see no reason why Mandarin would push it off.

    The only way Mandarin will become the world language is if the USA completely collapsed and China grew at a crazy speed and over-took them. But that's not gonna happen.
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    (Original post by Stalin)
    The two are linked, regardless of whether China is a one party state or a dictatorship, there will never be changed unless the system changes. One party states/dictatorships eventually fall. As I've said before, the people will revolt.


    To be honest, Far Easterns tend to have vastly different views on leadership that Westerners, albeit most regions of the world. While Western culture dictates individualism and freedom of choice without the influence of other individuals, Far Easterns tend to be far more group orientated, and basically feel an element of dictatorship is a positive thing. They simply do not believe in democracy in the same way we do.

    Of course, that doesn't mean they never would revolt, but I certainly don't think a massive revolt is partiuclarly likely any time soon in modern china. **** would have to drastically hit the fan for the Chinese to revolt at this present moment in time.

    To be perfectly honest, the Chinese mindset and culture doesn't really care that much about a Western style democracy. Providing they feel they are getting a good deal, and that their "dictator" is acting in their interests, they simply aren't bothered about choice.
 
 
 
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