As China econ­omy grows, so does Man­darin study

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By GRACE HU in Van­cou­ver For China Daily

Man­darin Chi­nese has grown in pop­u­lar­ity along with China’s econ­omy and global busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties.

As of June 2015, Man­darin was the most widely spo­ken lan­guage in the world, with 955 mil­lion speak­ers.

Re­la­tions with China can be de­scribed as a vast and dy­namic web of co­op­er­a­tive links that have been es­tab­lished early in Cana­dian history.

Be­cause China is a ma­jor trad­ing part­ner, it makes sense for Cana­di­ans to study the cul­ture and lan­guage.

The Canada-China Joint State­ment serves as a guide for build­ing strong re­la­tions in four pri­or­ity ar­eas: gov­er­nance, trade and in­vest­ment, en­ergy and en­vi­ron­ment, and health. Re­cently, ed­u­ca­tion has been in­cluded in the state­ment.

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau pledged to strengthen co­op­er­a­tion with China, say­ing he wanted to “work to­gether on eco­nomic po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural ties”.

The flour­ish­ing of the Chi­nese im­mi­grant pop­u­la­tion in­creases the de­mand of Man­darin speak­ers in ev­ery­day set­tings. Many spa­ces in down­town Van­cou­ver now dis­play signs in both English and Man­darin, sim­i­lar to pub­lic spa­ces in Rich­mond, Canada.

In BC, it is un­com­mon to see French, but Man­darin Chi­nese is preva­lent. More than 1.3 mil­lion Cana­dian cit­i­zens are of Chi­nese ori­gin, cre­at­ing a huge de­mand for strong peo­ple-to-peo­ple ties. Busi­nesses read­ily em­ploy in­di­vid­u­als with Man­darin flu­ency as the de­mand for such in­di­vid­u­als soars.

Chi­nese im­mer­sion schools have be­come pop­u­lar as many par­ents are plac­ing their chil­dren in such pro­grams as op­posed to French ones. Schools in Co­quit­lam and Burn­aby ini­ti­ated the first im­mer­sion schools.

A well-es­tab­lished in­sti­tute that of­fers an in­ter­na­tional ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram is the Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute (CI) at the Bri­tish Columbia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy in Van­cou­ver. It was au­tho­rized by Han­ban in July 2004. It is af­fil­i­ated with China’s Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.

CI sup­ports the teach­ing of Man­darin at uni­ver­si­ties, col­leges and sec­ondary schools. There are al­most 500 CI in­sti­tutes on six con­ti­nents. CI of­fers schol­ar­ships and holds the HSK Chi­nese Pro­fi­ciency Test.

Han­ban launched the HSK to bet­ter serve Chi­ne­se­lan­guage learn­ers. It is an in­ter­na­tional stan­dard­ized exam that as­sesses non­na­tive Chi­nese speak­ers’ abil­i­ties in daily, aca­demic and pro­fes­sional set­tings.

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, there are 330 of­fi­cial in­sti­tu­tions teach­ing Chi­nese as a for­eign lan­guage around the world as well as more than 40, 000 for­eign stu­dents en­rolled.

Chris Mad­sen (left) re­ceives the first-place award in the in­di­vid­ual cat­e­gory from Ed­u­ca­tion Con­sul Yu Changxue (right) at the fi­nal of the 2015 BC Chi­nese Bridge Man­darin singing con­test on Nov 7.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.