China Daily European Weekly : 2018-11-30

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10 November 30-December 6, 2018 INSIDE COMMENT European SMEs in China can get help • > p11 • World at a climate-action crossroads > p13 EUROPEAN WEEKLY CHINA DAILY That creates a natural disincentive to learning another language and can even breed a certain arrogant belief that the global language challenge could be solved overnight if only everybody else learned English. But, even if language learning is, for now, on the wane in the English-speaking world, there are some exceptions. Many aspiring middle class parents now send their tots to Mandarin classes, still barely available in the public system, in recognition of the growing global status of China. It might be tempting to cut through all these linguistic challenges by embracing the AI solution — why not just let the machines do the talking? But think what we might lose in the process. Ironically, it might actually further isolate global citizens rather than bringing them together. What chances would we give a cross-cultural romance that had to rely on earplugs? Perhaps the best motive for learning another’s language was expressed by Nelson Mandela, the South African freedom fighter and future president who learned Afrikaans, the language of his oppressors, from his prison guards. “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head,” Mandela said. “If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” It might be tempting to cut through all these linguistic challenges by embracing the AI solution — why not just let the machines do the talking? But think what we might lose in the process. The author is a senior media consultant for China Daily. Contact the writer at [email protected] The boundaries between science fiction and middle-class living in China are increasingly blurred, and at a faster rate than one might expect. PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTED BY PRESSREADER PressReader.com +1 604 278 4604 ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW

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