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

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    mandarin or japanese will be the languages of the future, oriental langauges will be better to learn
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    (Original post by Stalin)
    India is in a far better geographical location.



    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.

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    i think this was once a valid point.according to the economist USA GDP this week is -2.6% and chinese remains high at 8.9%- you may doubt statistics,but clearly china is doing well while america is being crap. everyone believed in chi-merica ec bfore the downturn but clearly china can survive on the demand of other countries, further if china ever chooses to rebalance its economy and pursue domestic demand they should be in a good position!its not as export orientated as we think...anyway, despite this i believe it wont be the next big thing, its not got the intelligentce, dynamics etc because of its politics...badly explained as ive just got back from the pub.xxxx
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    well being able to speak "basic mandarin" is inmo indeed quite useless. however, if you have a native-level command of mandarin, there will be countless doors open to you that would have otherwise been closed. a foreigner who can have dinner with chinese businessmen/officials without having to rely on an interpreter is likely to succeed in China, thats for sure!

    By the way, I know a lot of British students who study Chinese in the Uk and who are now spending their year abroad here in shanghai. what makes me really sad is...2/3 of them are unable to have a very basic conversation in mandarin and they dont mingle with chinese people but prefer the foreigner bubble.
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    English is too widespread for anything to replace it, children will learn english as a foreign language as long as the US dominates culturally.

    As for next superpower, if the eu was formed into one superstate, it would have an economy larger then the US (according to IMF and CIA.) But it will never get to the point where all countries will freely dissolve into one superstate.

    By the time Chinas economy comes anywhere close to the US' things will be very different to now. China will have lots of competition from Japan, Russia, India and Brazil aswell.
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    (Original post by Stalin)
    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.
    This is true, I suppose. I still support language learning in general though - it's good for the brain.
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    (Original post by chronic_fatigue)
    Can't people just learn it for fun?
    :lolwut: your definition of fun is clearly defined there already.
    That's one tough hobby you'd get for yourself :yes:
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    (Original post by time.to.dance)
    :lolwut: your definition of fun is clearly defined there already.
    That's one tough hobby you'd get for yourself :yes:
    My sister is learning it at school and she seems to enjoy it.
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    No, the future is not going to be 'chinese' linguistically. Most of them are learning English anyway and Mandarin is so ridiculously complicated that it takes 10 years to be able to read a newspaper without a dictionary. The international language of the future is almost certainly going to remain English. By all means learn Mandarin for enjoyment, but English is the language that will get you through life.
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    (Original post by SpamBa)
    No, the future is not going to be 'chinese' linguistically. Most of them are learning English anyway and Mandarin is so ridiculously complicated that it takes 10 years to be able to read a newspaper without a dictionary. The international language of the future is almost certainly going to remain English. By all means learn Mandarin for enjoyment, but English is the language that will get you through life.
    I don't think the difficulty of learning Chinese has anything to do with whether or not it will become the international language. I noticed a few other people saying this earlier too, so I'm not just picking on you.

    Firstly, the reason that we find Chinese so difficult is because it is linguistically unrelated to English. That's why we find a language like, say, French, quite easy in comparison - because it shares lots of linguistic features with English. Now, if you look at it from the Chinese point of view, they don't find English easy at all. In fact, it's probably of roughly equal difficulty to us learning Chinese.

    Secondly, Chinese isn't that difficult. I can work with native Chinese written materials now without reaching for a dictionary every two seconds after just over 3 years of study.

    I haven't really looked into it, but I would guess that English has become so widespread historically because of the British Empire, and then more recently because of the USA's international political and cultural dominance. At any rate, it would be silly to claim that English has become so popular because it is easy to learn. If difficulty played no part in the rise of English, it would be fair to say that it is unlikely to play a part in the rise (or fall) of Chinese as an international language.

    Don't get me wrong though, I don't think Chinese will become an international language either; I just don't think it has anything to do with its difficulty :P
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    China hasn't even reached 10% of its potential, Mandarin will be an important language in the business world but that doesn't mean you have to learn it if you want to be successful.
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    Good points. But I have to say that Mandarin is "worth learning!"
    Lots of businessmen are learning this language because they run their business in china or just want to invest in this largest market in the world. This can make many people enthusastic about the language, just the same reason as people from non-english country try to learn English.
    And besides, china has long history and rich culture, which are worth to be known and studied. I mean, if you are interested in that.
    Anyway, people can find abundant reasons not to learn a language if he knows nothing about it or can't make any benefit from it. That is probably why not everyone speaks english. So, be reasonable, no blame the language or the country plz.
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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:
    btw you sound kind of frustrated and disappointed..like someone who has been enthusiastic about China and Chinese but whose fascination quickly turned into anger and frustration when you realized that Chinese language as well as making Chinese friends is very difficult for a laowai haha (especially in beijing). dont lie to yourself...being able to speak fluent mandarin and entails a lot of benefits...you just didnt make it haha :p:
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    I don't think learning any language is a 'FAD' to be honest...
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    (Original post by mogger71)
    My dodgy DVD dealers native language is Mandarin. I asked him this and he said not to bother as they're all learning English.
    :eek3:

    LOL
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    (Original post by renjie)
    btw you sound kind of frustrated and disappointed..like someone who has been enthusiastic about China and Chinese but whose fascination quickly turned into anger and frustration when you realized that Chinese language as well as making Chinese friends is very difficult for a laowai haha (especially in beijing). dont lie to yourself...being able to speak fluent mandarin and entails a lot of benefits...you just didnt make it haha :p:
    you may be right. though i really enjoyed my time in beijing, and during the 3months of my stay- i lived with a local.so it was okay meeting people. i did find the langauge difficult, which has certainly frustrated me. But, the reason i post this is i am working out whether to spend the next 6moonths of my gap year back in china, the next 4 years of my life studying chinese at SOAS, and my life tied to the fact that my degree was in chinese...

    so i guess your half right, but i want to work out whether chinese is actually worth pursuing from here on....othereise ill stick with good ol' spanish!xxxxxxxxxxxx
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    (Original post by vaanish)
    I don't think learning any language is a 'FAD' to be honest...
    'Fad' in the sense that people suddenly have begun ranting that everyone must learn chinese.

    'Fad' in the sense that this obsession may not last long, because china may not rise, chinese people learn english more than we learn mandarin, etc....

    'Fad' in the sense that this resembles the fad that existed with learning japanese in the 80s or whenever it was.

    Do you see what i mean...is it a fad?or is it sensible?thats what im hoping to figure out.xxxxxxxxxxxxx:woo:
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    First, as some posters have pointed out: the extent to which a language is deemed to be useful or "worthwhile to learn" is very dependent on the influence it has on other cultures.

    We, along with the Americans, have dominated the world with the English language for the last two centuries by the use of popular culture(e.g. Mackers, films, media, political speeches).

    Having said, the question lies on whether the Chinese language will be able to enjoy an "elevated" status in the future. It may be a possibility due to these political factors:

    One, the Chinese authority is working hard to improve its image using international affairs; providing aid to some impoverished, third-world countries, such as Haiti and some African countries, though it has been criticized by the West that the Chinese is only aiming for starting up its overseas colony.

    The improvement in China's image is hardly evident in the West, but it has certainly been evident in places that are more friendly closer with China e.g. Venezuela.

    Two, under the spotlight of whether Google will relinquish its "rule" in China, China clearly demonstrates its resistance of Western intervention in its country, and with the immediate announcement that "CCTV(a state-owned propaganda TV news company) will develop its search engine, broadband network and cell phone network" in the Chinese market, China wants to create a self-sufficient "intranet" for its own needs which is free of Western intervention.

    Although it does not clearly state for plans of expanding overseas, isn't this what the Americans do after WW2?

    Similarly, CIA officers provided numerous technical advices to Hollywood producers in exchange for the good image presented by U.S. armed forces. After creating a self-sufficient film industry, Hollywood promotes these films to overseas viewers.

    China is planning to enter the same path i.e. to dominate the world with Chinese language and culture.

    But certainly it takes time before the "fact" sinks in. It's like us(people of the "mighty" British Empire a century ago) who are skeptic of U.S.'s development in the 19th and early 20th century.
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    If it is then not for some time, I see no reason to stop English being the international language, unless China goes ego-crazy.
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    Is it a fad? No. Is it nessessary? No.

    The ordinary joe has absolutely no reason to learn Mandarin. It is useful for business people.
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    90% of the basis of modern science and arts is in ENGLISH. by that i mean different kinds of books, theories, experiments, laws, journals etc
    for Chinese to be dominant those basis have to be fully interpreted in Chinese. and few Chinese are doing that, they are all thinking about making money and English is their necessary tool.

    Chinese is not going to even START becoming a lingua franca until it's GDP per capita reaches 30000 dollars (intellectual progress is always little bit behind materialistic prosperity). and that is gonna take at least 50 years under the assumption that nothing big is there to hinder the process(which is virtually impossible. eg war with Taiwan)

    BTW, im foreign, what is FAD?
 
 
 
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